THE SCOTTISH TIDE WHICH MUST BE TAKEN AT THE FLOOD.

Columnists I respect are urging caution. Wait and see. Don't do anything precipitate which will backfire. Many commentators raise the fallout from the last time the First Minister fired the starting gun before having to sound retreat in the wake of the Brexit trigger. 

Adjacent to this, many Nationalists point to the general election result of 2017 when the SNP contingent was "reduced" to 35 from its historic high of 56 in the UK poll before the Brexit referendum.

In a normal political world such hesitancy would perhaps be understandable. Normality has long since departed these shores.

In a normal world a Prime Minister whose flagship policy was blown out of the water by a historic margin would not still be around to tell porkies in parliament about her new style being inclusive just a couple of days before cancelling meetings with the devolved administrations, citing diary clashes. Aye right. (And have you looked at the would be pretenders to her throne!!)

In a normal world the governing party at Westminister would not be involved in open internecine warfare, cabinet ministers would not be resigning or threatening to do so on a daily basis, and Tory troops would not be lining up before the nation's microphones to explain why their own colleagues are talking mince.

In a normal world the leader of the official opposition would be a a decisive man of substance, articulate and clear of purpose rather than a lifelong eurosceptic daily reneging on his promise to deliver what his party members want. A man who may or may not be the honest broker his admirers insist he is, but a man whom the most ardent supporter must see is ill fitted to the job of running a country. My god, the blessed Theresa with years of cabinet reponsibilities under her belt is very clearly promoted way beyond her level of competence. What price the serial rebel as diplomat in chief?

The manifesto published by the Scottish Government could hardly be clearer. If Scotland faced materially different circumstances, such as being taken out of Europe against her will, there would be grounds for a second independence referendum.  These are not "materially different circumstances" so much as a totally different planet.  Planet Brexit changes everything. 

It utterly fails to acknowledge the democratic wishes of almost two thirds of the 2016 Scottish voters; it underlines again and again how little weight is given to the opinions of the devolved administrations despite their many and varied efforts to provide some advice and much needed clarity. As ever, our negotiators find themselves sidelined by those players who are manifestly inferior of intellect and leadership qualities. 

But this is not a moment to sit handwringing on the sidelines whining "Poor me. Ignored again." This is a tide in the affairs of Scotland which must be taken at the flood if it is to lead on to referendum fortune.  If we try and fail to succeed we can say that every effort has been expended to save Scotland from the disaster of Brexit.  If we don't try - if we wait till we are overwhelmed by the fallout from all of this - if we wait till the lifeboat has sailed away, then we too must shoulder the blame of what befalls our future and that of our children and grandchildren.

Let me try and address the usual, fearful pleas for yet more delay. It is said the polls haven't moved sufficiently. True. And they won't until a full throated campaign gets underway. The last time they moved from 28% to 45% - admittedly after the kind of lengthy campaign unlikely to be on offer this time. But this time there is a hugely well motivated Yes army just waiting for the call. This time the scales have fallen from the eyes of many No voters.  This time offers the clearest possible contrast to the shambles elsewhere.

It is argued that the gift of another referendum is in Mrs May's hands. And, given her current circumstances, she will not welcome or sanction any more trouble on the northern front.  That may be so, though there is another argument which says she is too weak to lay down much in the  way of the law at the moment.

But let's suppose there is another NO from Westminster. Should our reponse be to creep back into our box, or to give her the choice of sanctioning an official referendum or facing an advisory one?  You remember what advisory referenda are: the most recent example was Brexit in June 2016.  The one where the will of the people had to be respected no matter what they thought they were voting for. There is already a great deal of backstairs activity in Europe to try and secure Scotland's future in the EU. I can't imagine a grassroots Referendum campaign echoing their efforts will hamper them.

People point nervously to the loss of seats to the Tories in 2017. Again, 2017 was a different planet. And those Tory troops lauded as giant slayers have either risen without trace, or contracted serial foot in mouth disease. Even that 13 strong not so merry band is split over Brexit. The voters who put them in are not, you suspect, euphoric now. The Secretary of State "for Scotland" is beyond parody and pity.

And what of the other Scottish parties?  Scottish Labour, a shadow of its former buccaneering self, has yet another leader, a man who would do well to read the devolution settlement rather more thoroughly before urging the Scottish Government constantly to intervene in reserved matters. The small posse of Lib Dems have morphed into an anti independence party despite its historic attachment to federalism. The Greens are urging the government to get its finger out, but are also short of numbers.

So folks, I'm strictly in the Franklin D. Roosevelt camp: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Did somebody say what about fear of uncertainty? Especially among older voters?  I am that older voter. Looking around; I can't see much in the way of certainty within the current chaos. My Yesmobile has passed its MOT. (Even if I haven't!)

Carpe diem while we can.