STILL JUST A GAL WHO CAN'T SAY NO!

Watching the serried ranks of the Nationalist faithful IN Aberdeen, you wonder how many of the newbies were dispirited this morning by their dear leader's insistence that IndyRef mark two would probably not figure in the five year plan.  You can see where Ms Sturgeon is coming from.  Run another poll only a few years after the 2014 event and lose it, and, as they say in the Dear Green Place, the game is well and truly a bogey.

The trouble is that for the freshly  energised, with shiny new party cards and still warm memories of the political highs of last summer, some serious and necessary examination of bread and butter policies will not have the pulses racing. Plus, whilst the First Minister chooses prudently to take the  temperature of the electorate at large before committing to another vote, the three quarters of her party's membership whose formal allegiance is barely a year old are more likely to be swayed by the hothouse atmosphere of their first conference.

The polls for next Spring give them an astonishing lead over Labour, the approval rating for the First Minister remains rock steady, and if there are doors to be chapped and naysayers to be wooed then let them at it! Seductively simple if the only sounds you can hear are the voices of folk thinking exactly the same.

It is of course rather more complex.  Sure there is a risk of failing to seize the moment of maximum popularity, a moment, moreover, when your principal rival is still preoccupied nursing self inflicted wounds. Sure it is a failsafe law of politics that all governments  - most especially those who win several terms back to back - will ultimately be blamed for everything but the weather.  The polls may never be so favourable again.

But of course the polling which has to inform a second bid to leave the union will not be around party politics, but about the national psyche, the national economy, the relationship with Westminster, and anything else which can be loosely filed under national self confidence.

Which brings us back to those bread and butter bits.  There has already been considerable criticism of the current SNP administration around its performance on education, health , increasing inequalities  and policing - all touchstone issues with the voters.  It seems that Nicola Sturgeon is intent on spending  the five year term she is likely to win, defusing as much of that as is possible.

In some ways this is nothing more than a continuum of a longer term strategy.  A minority SNP government had to win credibility to win an outright majority.  A majority government had to deliver on the promised Referendum. And a second majority government has to persuade people on every point of the political spectrum that an independent Scotland would be safe in their hands.

There will be the inevitable imponderables along the way - not least how the economy performs should the oil industry further contract. There will be internecine warfare among their own troops - tracking being the most obvious example. There will be many and varied traps laid by Westminster ministers and their representatives on earth in the Scotland Office attempting to bounce Holyrood into utilising new tax powers. 

And then there is the standing army at Westminster.  Once the glow wears off and they realise just how impotent back bench opposition can be, many of the more talented troops might wonder why they thought traipsing back and forth to the Commons seemed a sexy option. Many of them, in my view, would have been more effective and useful in the Scottish parliament.

It would also be very bad for business if Scottish Labour and the Scottish Tories don't manage to muster an effective opposition with a decent class of successful candidates.  Good governments only stay that way with proper scrutiny and intelligent challenges.

It has been instructive to watch the Fourth Estate in this regard.  Some commentators who spent the Referendum constructing a drama out of every non crisis are hardly likely to fall for any  new Sturgeon charm offensive. But there are some who became enthused by the Yes campaign who have now taken to excoriating the SNP government at every turn.  They will be fashioning a scornful response to Ms Sturgeon's weekend address even before she writes it.  That is the nature of some of the beasts.

But there are more thoughtful others who will examine the progress of the new administration with critical detachment, dispensing brickbats and bouquets according to performance and results. These are the voices it would be foolhardy to dismiss.

Those of us who plighted their troth to yes on a non party basis are also watching this conference with close attention. Some will hanker after Salmond's gambler instinct - galloping into a new fray crying follow me for Scotland and St Andrew.  But some of us, still grieving for what might have been last September,  have gloomily concluded that his successor has probably got it right.

Seizing the day is fine - identifying the day in question is the canny part.