AS the Irish are wont to observe: “If you want the best route to your destination, you wouldn’t start from here.”

It sometimes feels that way in what used to be cheerfully called the independence movement. Quite clearly the Yes “family” is a family currently at war.

The SNP are at war with some of their own membership. The Alba Party members are at war with anybody who isn’t backing them. The Greens seem to be having some difficulty understanding what being a junior partner in a coalition government should entail (clue: You don’t get to issue serial red lines unless you get your own way on everything).

Activists have decided that so-called “gender-critical” folk are just a bunch of transphobes while they are the only group entitled to label themselves as progressive.

Blessed are the pure in heart – and, by the way, they’ll decide what’s pure.

A bit of a clusterbourach all-round, and that’s before we consider the not-so-small matter of the governing party having yet to appoint a new chief executive or locate a new firm of auditors when there is unlikely to be a four-deep queue of applicants round the door.

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Oh to have been a fly on the wall at yesterday’s NEC meeting, though the chances of that discussion remaining private are on a par with the Pentagon keeping tabs on young US airmen. (As America’s erstwhile allies chorus WTAF?)

Meanwhile, yet another row has been ramped up over the wisdom or otherwise of demanding a judicial review of the UK Government slapping a Section 35 on Holyrood’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

This really should be a two-part question. Should we let Westminster call the shots over what laws Holyrood can or cannot pass?

And if the answer to that is “OF COURSE NOT”, then is the GRR legislation the best turf on which to fight that battle? The aforementioned activists would say “obviously. This was passed with a large all-party majority, after lengthy "consultation”.

Others, including myself, would note that this is not a single-issue complaint – Westminster has long been systematically trying to emasculate our Parliament.

It is demanding Holyrood ministers arrange foreign visits via the Foreign Office, bypassed Holyrood when doling out grants/bribes and refused to allow us to embed the UN declaration on the rights of the child into our own law.

And it IS our own law. Our separate legal system pre-dates the creation, post-devolution, of the ludicrous Scotland Office by some 11 centuries or so.

Plus, as those familiar with the Scotland Act will regularly intone, the latter includes the killer clause that Westminster remains sovereign in all matters. I’m not expecting the UK Government to revisit that particular piece of legislation any time soon.

Folks who argue that we should go on and rattle the Supreme Court’s cage anyway to formalise where we stand (or don’t) should perhaps recall that was the rationale behind going to court over the power to hold our own referendum in our own country. And we got a massive dizzie for our trouble.

So is the indy game a bogey? I don’t believe so, although the febrile atmosphere in just about every quarter certainly suggests we’re stuck on pause for a while.

I was interested this week in the latest piece from Robin McAlpine at Common Weal, who tried to deconstruct how to build a successful coalition when people who shared one overarching goal couldn’t get past their own personal obsessions.

Here’s a wee flavour: “First, if you want to create change, you really do need to accept that you will have to work with people who have differing views to your own. You don’t need to compromise your own views but you do need to find a way to work together.

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“And if you want to achieve big change, the coalition needs to be wider. That means you may end up working with people who hold views you find offensive. As best as is possible, you need to find a way to ‘quarantine’ issues which will cause conflict, if you can do it. That isn’t always easy, and there are always lines it is impossible to cross. But you should pick them carefully.”

He says, too, that the idea of no-platforming people means you end up only talking or listening to folk with whom you already agree. And he adds: “None of this is easy. It wasn’t easy before the ideological changes of the last few decades and it certainly isn’t getting easier now. What is easy is to stay in your little comfort group and shout at people who are outside it or who work with those who are outside it. It can look good, it can feel good. But it doesn’t achieve anything.”

Now, as it happens, Mr McAlpine and I don’t always agree, but I believe we know that we are both fully on board with wanting an independent Scotland, and that it is a goal worth fighting for alongside folk with whom we might disagree on other issues.

It’s not about “wheest for indy” – one of the more printable charges levelled at scribes like me – it’s about ranking things according to their importance to you. If you think independence is the best route to challenging poverty and inequity, then having a massive sulk doesn’t seem to be the smartest ever tactic.

The National:

Social media doesn’t help, of course. It allows fake news to get halfway round the world before accuracy gets its boots on. A small personal example – I constantly get berated by the Twitterati for endorsing “both votes SNP”. Except that I never have. Nor, as it happens, does that reflect my own voting pattern.

But hey. It’s a useful stick with which to beat the reviled media.

It’s perfectly clear to someone with even my slender grasp of arithmetic that voting twice for the largest party merely lets Unionists in by the back door. The Scottish Tories would be lost without those who unthinkingly recycled this mantra, and some Labour MSPs too.

SO whither now this bruised and battered indy campaign? The new First Minister, who is having the honeymoon from hell, is right to call for maximum transparency and good governance.

Though I have to say that if you believed having a party leader and a CEO married to each other was an accident waiting to happen, it’s perhaps not the best strategic move to create a job for the wife of your shiny new Cabinet secretary for independence.

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Good governance will be recognising the truth of McAlpine’s assertion that building enough indy bridges to encompass the doubters as well as the converted means working with people whose views you don’t share.

Holding fast to differing beliefs means you disagree. That’s all. It doesn’t mean one tribe are aye the guys in black hats or the other has a monopoly on wisdom.

The one thing life has taught me is that hatred is an emotion which consumes the hater just as much as the object of their hatred. It’s bad for you. And moves wider opinion not an inch.

It means being able to work towards shared goals without rancour. It means recognising that while we can obviously learn from the past – in fact, we must – the future is where new foundations must be laid.

Fortunately, social media is not the only game in town. Fortunately, there are grown-ups out there who still think civilised discussion and respectful debate have a lot going for them.

I disagree profoundly with my own MSP over indy and Trident and probably much else. I’ve never thought her a monster. She’s just come to different conclusions. It happens.