ON Scotland’s (I believe, continuing) road to independence there have been a lot of twists, turns and decisive moments. Many not obvious until we’ve passed them.

The party’s decision to adopt devolution in 1997 and participate in the first 1999 Holyrood election, and the decision in 2012 to change our position in favour of Nato membership, stand out as two recent major turning points where there were two different futures on offer and we chose a decisive course.

I think the SNP special conference this coming March will be a turning point we can see in advance, and we should consider it with great care.

We should think not just in the short term and about the election ahead, but in terms of the broad sweep of history and how best to secure tangible progress to independence in the face of the unreasonable intransigence of the current UK Government.

READ MORE: EU urged to halt spyware used against Catalonia's independence leaders

I’m well aware there is a lot of frustration across the Yes movement with the unreasonableness of the UK Government and a sense that we are not making the progress to independence we want to see. I share it.

My blood boils at the arrogant unthinking condescension I and other SNP MPs have to contend with from this hapless UK Government our country so emphatically rejected.

It is the knowledge that they would be delighted if we walked away that keeps me stuck in.

But more to the point, we should not let our frustration at the current impasse cloud our judgment or long-term perspective.

We are in a strong position. Our proposition – independence in Europe – is an appealing one that many folks across Scotland are open to in a way they were not previously, but many remain unpersuaded.

Many are – in my first election in Edinburgh West in 2001, the target was to get the vote above 10%. We did and we celebrated!

Support for the SNP and independence is on a long-term upward trajectory and maintaining that progress to an unarguable settled will is crucial.

The decision to take the issue of the legality of a referendum on independence to the UK Supreme Court was, as I have written in this column previously, an inspired risk that paid off.

It was a hard learning for many of those who believed, genuinely, that the UK is a voluntary union. It is not.

The court set out in crisp clear detail, in black and white, the reality of the UK constitution – that power devolved is power retained.

The devolution settlement endorsed in the 1997 referendum is now demonstrably unfit for the reality of Scotland’s sense of itself and ambitions for the future. We’ve outgrown it.

The democratic deficit that exists within the UK and that removed us from the EU against our will compounds the need for constitutional change that many No voters in 2014 did not see the need for, but are now considering afresh.

So it is right that in light of the Supreme Court judgment, we should consider our position and plot the best strategy to deliver tangible progress. That will be an energising debate to tap into the insight, passion and expertise that exist across the party nationwide.

In Stirling, I have started a series of discussion meetings with our membership to gather our thoughts and distil them into a strategy.

It will be a good debate and I have faith – as I always have – that the wisdom of the collective will reach the correct, principled and pragmatic answer.

And there are lessons we can take from other places, especially Catalonia. The big one being don’t claim rights that don’t exist or consequences you can’t deliver.

I support the right to self-determination for all people anywhere, on a far more expansive approach than that taken by the UK Supreme Court, the UN or the EU.

I believe people have the right to choose their government and their state, not the other way around.

But I am also to my very bones a pragmatist, and there is no point chasing mirages.

“We must do something, this is something, therefore we must do this” is a deeply dangerous logic.

I’m afraid I watched with regret as the pro-independence Catalans took this path time and again, at every stage closing off options rather than opening up new fronts in their argument, out of frustration with an uncooperative apparatus in Madrid (and an entirely different constitutional position to us).

The Catalan Yes movement, as represented by the Junts pel Si coalition, won the election on the sole platform of delivering a referendum, even though many privately admitted it would be symbolic only. They had boxed themselves into a corner that many admitted would not take them anywhere, but they felt they had to because they had few other options and they had to keep their base engaged and active.

In the process ignoring (and I hate the phrase) Middle Catalonia, the very people they needed to engage with and persuade. In the eventual referendum, the Yes side won with 90.18% voting for independence, but the more important number is the turnout of 43.03%. The exercise was ignored by most Catalans, rendering independence a minority sport.

READ MORE: Pedro Sanchez says Catalan independence push is 'over'

We know the rest.

The Junts pel Si coalition, out of frustration and because they were talking to their own base rather than the middle ground, tried to do something they knew probably wouldn’t deliver. It didn’t.

More significantly, it was rejected and ignored by their compatriots, damaging the credibility of the independence cause, a credibility gap they may never make back.

I have confidence the SNP will learn from the experience of others. We’re in a strong position, and we know we have many people in Scotland open to persuasion but not yet persuaded. We also are not in the habit of making promises we know we can’t deliver.

Our government’s hard-won reputation for integrity, honesty and pragmatism is I believe the bedrock of our success. I have faith we won’t throw it away and look forward to our debate.