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.
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.
This British Nationalist propaganda unit is not there to help spin Tory policy, although it may do so incidentally. Why would the British government need to 'spin' policies it has the power to impose regardless of what the people of Scotland want?
The restoration of Scotland's independence is neither imminent nor inevitable. The complacency implied and fostered by such notions stands as one of the greatest threats to Scotland's cause.
Ian Blackford is entitled to state how important it is that the SNP stays in power; if only because the alternative would be one or more of the British parties seizing control - with all the horrors that would entail. What irks is that when it comes to being held accountable for three or four or five or six years (depending on your preference) of inaction on the constitutional issue all of a sudden,
It is absolutely impossible for a movement as massive and diverse and unstructured as the Yes movement to make common cause on matters of policy. Such common cause cannot be achieved even within political parties. How could there be any hope of unifying a movement entirely without internal cohesion or a common ideology or discipline of hierarchy?
In the context of the fight to restore Scotland's independence, it doesn't matter if the SNP win. It doesn't matter if they win by a huge margin. It's essential that the SNP wins. But only because this ensures that the British parties lose.
Suppose somebody said they voted for a candidate because they were male rather than female; or black rather than white; or tall rather than short. Would we not consider these rather poor reasons?
Why would we empower their deviousness? Why would we pander to their lack of principle? Why would we facilitate interference in our constitutional referendum by what, if we heed Joanna Charry's advice, we must regard as an unfriendly foreign power? Am I missing some impenetrably cryptic irony here?
The constitutional confrontation which pits Scotland's aspirations against British entitlement is a parallel to - perhaps a proxy for - the ages-old battle between deprivation and privilege. Between insecurity and invulnerability. Between power denied and power accrued. To be a nationalist in the context of the fight to restore Scotland's rightful status and defend the identity which is imbued with our hope and determination to address the gross imbalances of British society, is to be part of the same cause as inspired all the great social reformers of the past. Wear your Scottish civic nationalism with quiet pride! It is an honourable and a worthy thing.