THE ROAD AND THE MILES TO INDYREF2

Two schools of thought seem to prevail and maybe they're not quite as contradictory as they look. In  Caution Corner are those fearful that having a second independence referendum too soon and without the safety net of an advance majority in favour, then the game may really be up for a generation this time.  In contrast, in the land of  Nothing Ventured Everything Lost, people point to the fact that electoral dominance is cyclical - Scottish Labour anyone? - and that if the thistle isn't grasped at the SNP's high water mark there may never be such favouable conditions again.

For convinced Yes voters - guilty as charged - the perspective is also subject to highly personal considerations. For my generation a successful campaign 20 years down the line would have to be viewed from beneath the daisies. Never quite as much fun!  Even so, and more objectively, I've come round to the conclusion that too long a waiting game might be fatal.  And lingering for a 60 % threshold in favour before even putting a trigger finger on the starting gun seems to take pragmatism to quite dispiriting and counter productive lengths.  

The pessimists/pragmatists do have many plausible arguments in their locker.  They point to the oil industry and note that if we couldn't persuade Scots in enough numbers that we could survive and thrive on our own when oil was 100 dollars plus a barrel how much tougher would that sell be now? They flag up voter fatigue suggesting that an electorate being trotted endlessly to the ballot box, as Scotland feels as if it has been over the last few years, will be an electorate which  resolutely sets its face against yet another campaign.

But I'm now persuaded that too long a delay is the highest risk strategy - and for very similar reasons to those being advanced by those wanting to play that long game.  Firstly the economy.  Arguably the oil industry card was also one easily played against us. Oil is a volatile element in the Scottish budget insisted the naysayers in 2014 (and let's be honest they weren't wrong!)  

So packaging  it as a useful but not dominant part of an economic strategy is no bad thing.  We have many other indigeous strengths from bio-tehnology,  and renewables, to gaming, whisky and tourism which are growing, less controversial than carbon rich industries, and building on the current and future  strengths of our smartest academic and vocational institutions.  Even, whisper it, financial services.

All of which has to be knitted into a more credible position on the currency issue and there are people out there working on that as we speak.  They need more cross party shoulders to that particular wheel. Voter fatigue is too a risk factor.  But so surely is dissipating the enormous reservoir of pro Indy energy and enthusiasm.  Those people who migrated to Yes - particularly those of a non Nationalist persuasion - did so because indpendence had become their number one issue. We can't afford to lose their passion through apparent apathy.

But the over-riding factor which makes me think - Brexit or no Brexit - that we have to be making very deliberate and detailed plans for the Mark Two poll is that we shouldn't lose sight of the momentum generated by an actual campaign.  It was that virtual doubling of Yes support as the poll neared which so frightened the Westminster horses and had them stampede north of the border to hug a voter.

And this time we're not starting from that low point.  This time we have had yet more years of appalling Tory policies from the full frontal assault on the poor, the disabled and the disadvantaged to the shameful washing of hands over  unaccompanied child war refugees.  We've had diktats over immigration which, inter alia, is losing us bright post graduates and deterring the foreign undergraduate variety.  We've gained some frustratingly hard won powers,  but have yet to get our hands fully on the all the economic levers . But those limited powers have protected us from ruinous fights picked with the NHS,  backward housing policies, and the dismantling of a national education service.

Admittedly we could have done more with what we have got. I'm firmly with those who think the Scottish government should have been much bolder on land reform, and more radical on taxing the highest earners.  It's not the total sum the latter would have brought in that matters - it's the important perception of whom you choose to support and protect. (If I had a hundred quid for every tycoon who threatened to up sticks if the tax regime changed, I could be a high net worth individual myself!)

So when Thursday's vote is done and dusted, let's get down to some serious planning for Scotland's independent future.  It's not a distraction from national priorities: it's the only way to realise them.