Unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances. We absolutely must proceed on the basis that restoring Scotland's independence is a matter of the utmost urgency; and that the coming election is our last chance to do it. We cannot afford to get it wrong. We cannot afford to settle for second best.
When a referendum is done - if it has been properly designed and managed - there will be absolutely do doubt about what the next step is. There will be no need of any discussion about what the vote means - with various factions all claiming it as a vote for their conflicting agendas.
Both Plan a and Plan B allow that the British political elite somehow has not only the rightful authority to prohibit the full and proper exercise of our sovereignty but the 'right' to be involved in and largely control the process by which the people of Scotland choose the form of government which best serves our needs, priorities and aspirations.
But the Section 30 process won't work. It cannot provide for a free and fair exercise of our right of self-determination. We know that with such a high degree of certainty that we'd be fools not to treat it as established fact. The British don't want to allow a referendum at all. So what makes anybody imagine that they'd be willing to go along with a free and fair referendum? It makes no sense!
If in doubt, give both your votes to the SNP is NEVER bad advice.
It is not for the pro-independence side of the constitutional divide to establish the competence of the Scottish Parliament. It is for the other side to make the case against our right of self-determination.
We will only gain the respect of the international community if we demonstrate a willingness to assert for ourselves the attributes of a normal independent nation.
One of democracy's imperfections is its fragility combined with its appearance of robustness and resilience. Those whose direct personal experience is confined to a broadly democratic society do not easily imagine anything other. The corollary being a tendency to take democracy for granted. If only they realised how tenuous is our grip on the freedoms we assume to be ours by dint of nature, they would fear for those freedoms.
It is futile to try to explain to British Nationalists such as Douglas Ross and Willie Rennie that the choice of whether and when we exercise our right of self-determination is a matter entirely and exclusively for the people of Scotland.
Mike Russell may be correct to say that the people of Scotland can vote for a referendum in the Holyrood election. He declines to add, however, that for them to do so the SNP must go into the election on a very explicit and quite unambiguous manifesto commitment to a process which will deliver a free and fair referendum at the earliest possible date. He might further have noted that, as things stand, the party of which he is President has given no such commitment.