What is not said

Other than the absence of references to the Section 30 process in her statements and speeches, the indications are that the SNP's 'official' position continues to be that the party is seeking a mandate to first of all petition Boris Johnson for the permission he has repeatedly and unequivocally said he will not grant under any circumstances. The purpose of this being, apparently, to prove to the international community that Boris is not lying when he says this and that the Scottish Government acknowledges Scotland's subordinate status in the Union.

Convenient conclusions

People are not innately rational actors. We have a conceit of ourselves that because we come equipped with these immensely powerful brains, everything we do is carefully calculated. All the pros and cons have been weighed. All the facts have been gathered and considered. This is very much the exception which proves there is no rule that says we must use the brainpower at our disposal. Mostly, we don't.

DO BETTER!

It is not good enough to say that we need independence to effectively address the aftermath of the pandemic while also saying that we can't even begin the process of restoring Scotland's independence until the aftermath is upon us. It is not good enough because it doesn't even make any sense. The different bits of your not-quite promise don't join up.

Painted on

Of course, the SNP's manifesto hasn't been published. It may not even have been written yet. But there are abundant clues as to its probable content in various statements from Nicola Sturgeon, Mike Russell and others. We also now have the draft Referendum Bill, which provides conclusive evidence of the SNP leadership's thinking on the constitutional issue.

That was not the question!

I'd be perfectly content to get behind Nicola Sturgeon if I had reason to believe she was leading us where I want to go. I have great uncertainty about where she is leading the country. I have grave misgivings about where she has led the party. And I have strong objections to being told my questions have been answered when none has even been acknowledged.

Necessary! But not sufficient!

Yes activists - including SNP members - didn't remove Nicola Sturgeon from her role as the de facto leader of the independence movement. She never showed any sign of wanting that role other than for the purposes of helping win elections. She never gave the slightest indication of wanting to pursue Scotland's cause. She allowed that cause to languish for nearly seven years giving rise to the frustration among Yes activists which is now becoming anger.

Old story or new

The only reason the polls aren't higher is Nicola Sturgeon's failure to take advantage of these circumstances. It is a failure of strategic political thinking stupefying in its self-serving stupidity. A series of appalling misjudgements - such as committing to the Section 30 process and choosing to fight Brexit rather than the Union - has left the independence movement in disarray and Scotland's cause in a precarious state.