SO, said the presenter out of the blue, what’s your plan for independence? Irritatingly good question, to which a jumbled response invoking first ministers who had no consistent pathway was quite inadequate.

Yet it gave me pause for considerable thought. Those of us on the independence side have long inveighed against what we see as our country trapped in a ­constitutional straitjacket.

How Westminster always calls the shots, how few independent fiscal levers we can deploy, how an alleged union of voluntary partners became one where the junior partner is treated with disdain and contempt.

Yet there is a case for saying that at least some of these wounds are self-inflicted, given our role as serial referendum supplicants. Given that we are apparently content to have the Supreme Court be the final ­arbiter of what tools Scotland can and ­cannot ­deploy in its own interests.

However, I also reflected on the fact that while support for independence still rides high in the polling regardless of the trials and tribulations of the governing party, it constantly struggles to represent much more than half of the voting population.

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Which led me to the perhaps ­dispiriting conclusion that it is not acceptable for one half of Scotland’s electorate to ­impose its will on the other. People who ­continue to promote our making a unilateral ­declaration of independence have ­enthusiasm and ­impatience on their side, but perhaps not democracy.

We – all of us – need to make a ­sufficiently ­convincing case to bring the ­doubters aboard, not even to mention the ­disinterested.

The latter don’t merely comprise the apolitical, but those families who have too much difficulty dealing with day-to-day ­financial crises to have head space left over for anything much else.

This is emphatically not to echo the Scots Tories’ endless jibe about “getting on with the day job”. The day job of a party ­founded to gain independence is to bend every ­sinew towards that end.

The fact that what used to be the “­people’s party” has become little more than an echo chamber for Unionist naysayers should in no way be allowed to interfere with a cause to which so very many people devoted their lives, many of whom died without that ­commitment being realised.

Rest assured, that so long as Keir Starmer sets his party’s face against an attempt to test the indy waters with the Scottish ­electorate, then Anas Sarwar will second that opinion.

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So a change of government in ­Westminster might well appeal to those shocked by the sheer incompetence of the current administration there – but it will do precisely nothing for the ­independence cause.

In truth, a Labour government would ­almost certainly try to clasp Scotland even closer to a Unionist bosom, ­suggesting, as it will, that devolution will become more widespread in the English regions – as if Greater Manchester was somehow ­analogous to the Scottish nation. We were a nation and a country hundreds of years before the Labour Party saw the light of day.

But there is a second group of Scots for whom independence is not a concept they automatically reject, but who require to be convinced that they would not be ­economically worse off under a fully-fledged Scottish government.

And another group that makes assumptions about the colour and nature of a ­future government without taking on board the logic of the fact that voters in an independent Scotland can put their cross against any party or candidate of their choice.

If independence means anything, it also means shrugging off all manner of ­shackles – the party variety as well as the Westminster one.

These are the conundrums we have to address if we are to push the percentage of Yes voters to a point where we can claim that most of the country, most of the time, has signed up to the invigorating thought that we can rise and be a nation-state again.

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What we mustn’t do is blithely ­accept the arithmetic of those people who are roundly opposed to the concept of a free Scotland. We can’t file their figures under objective!

The other day, someone on social media posted the withering putdown to tiny Malta from when it had the temerity to demand independence.

The burden of the argument was that it was far too wee and far too poor to have a prayer of survival. Sound ­familiar? ­Having served as a strategic base for the Allied forces in the Second World War, Malta was heavily bombed and given the George Cross for bravery. I imagine that helped the rebuild not at all.

However, it did lay the groundwork of an independence movement which was successful in 1964, and later joined the European Union almost 20 years ago. It has a 10th of the population of Scotland

People who are sanguine about Scotland serving as a de facto base for some of the US/UK nuclear hardware might care to reflect that whether or not and where to redeploy Trident is not a decision requiring to be made by an independent Scotland, just as its initial deployment wasn’t subject to consultation!

In short, those who are cynical about the apparent pledge to start a formal ­independence campaign might reflect that we all have to be a part of any such exercise to have any real chance of moving the dial significantly.

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It’s all too easy to snipe from the sidelines or to suppose that your cherished indy plan is inherently superior to anyone else’s. It’s true that divided parties don’t win elections, but it’s also the case that fractured movements rarely contribute to a successful cause.

Much more difficult is to come ­together in a common endeavour, and to give ­support to the many people who are working hard to come up with ­credible ­responses to those fearful that an ­independent Scotland might not be in their family’s fiscal interests.

The lessons from other small nations are clear in two ways. Firstly, it must be ­conceded and understood that ­independence of itself will not usher in a land of milk and honey.

But neither is it a Brexity-style mirage to believe in the hugely beneficial ­resources Scotland already has. We actually CAN create sunlit uplands if we harness what’s already on offer without the dead hand of a London government and its obsessive feathering of the South East of England’s nest.

It is a foolish Scot who believes ­independence is a magic wand to solve all our current inequities. Yet it is surely a wholly unimaginative one who cannot lift their eyes to see the possibilities on offer.

It’s up to us, to all of us, to make the case for how it can be done and to sell it to those of our fellow citizens who – ­sometimes for very forgivable reasons – ­remain fearful.

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It’s not an easy gig. Anything

­worthwhile gaining often isn’t. ­Particularly faced with the drip, drip of constant negativity in so much of the media, and the arrogant dismissal of so many of our ambitions by the forces of political darkness.

What is currently happening is that the Scotland Act – originally conceived as a bulwark against unwarranted ­interference in devolved matters – is now being used as a tool to dismantle Holyrood’s existing meagre powers.

Despite my own reservations about the gender recognition reform in its ­current form, the thought of a Secretary of State “for” Scotland using an obscure, ­unutilised clause to overturn Holyrood decision-making is not to be borne.

What is currently happening is that the Internal Market Act – supposedly passed to ensure a level playing field across the UK – is nothing more than a power-grab to further emasculate Holyrood and all its works.

What do we need? A sense of urgency! When do we need it? Now!