by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Summer is traditionally a quiet time in politics, but the media need to keep churning out stories, and they’ve certainly been maintaining their usual standards recently.

One of the recent reports attempted to portray an image of Scotland’s First Minister as indecisive because she admitted that her decision on how to proceed with another IndyRef would depend on the outcome of the final Brexit talks in October. This, of course, has always been her position, although some have questioned whether the outcome of the Brexit talks really makes all that much difference. However, there is no doubt that the increasingly likely scenario of a No Deal Brexit will make the choice facing Scots even more stark.

There will still be significant hurdles to be overcome. First will be how the Scottish Government responds should Westminster stick to the “Now is not the time" mantra and refuse to grant a Section 30 order. There have been plenty of views put forward on how this could be circumvented, but we need to rely on Nicola Sturgeon to make the right call here because there is no doubt the Tories and the media will do their utmost to portray any referendum as illegal and unconstitutional if they are given the slightest opportunity.

If that obstacle is hurdled, we then face the massive problem of overcoming the media itself. That will be down to grass roots Yessers as much as the SNP and Greens, but there is no doubt that the potentially disastrous consequences of a NO Deal Brexit will make our arguments that much easier.

There is, however, another very sobering thought which we need to be prepared for. Nobody has ever claimed that becoming a normal country will not present difficulties. The whole point of independence is that we will be able to elect a Government to tackle those problems and, if it does not do as the voters wish, we can elect another one rather than have one imposed upon us.

But a No Deal Brexit poses a significant threat to a newly independent Scotland because of the logistical nightmares it is likely to bring about. We may retain our EU membership, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, but the bulk of our imported food, medicines and anything else you care to mention, comes in through the Channel ports. This means that, even if we become independent and remain in the EU, we will still be significantly impacted by all the threatened shortages. It will also, of course, impact our exporters whose goods mainly leave the UK via England.

So, in addition to planning how to obtain a second IndyRef and, most importantly of all, how to win it, the Scottish Government really should be making contingency plans for how to circumvent the logistical impact of Brexit.

The good news is that the rest of the EU will be on our side and will no doubt go out of their way to help us, but the reality is that our ports and infrastructure simply are not geared up to coping with huge volumes of imports and exports going anywhere but via England. This needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. Ireland has already purchased larger ferries so that they can help reduce the Brexit effect, but Scotland has been unable to do anything.

As with any problem, there are opportunities here, and not the post-imperial daydream sort so beloved by the Brexiteers. Prestwick airport could see a rebirth as a major hub for both passenger and freight flights, while ports on both the east and west coasts could be developed to service new trade routes. But such things take time, and we cannot ignore the fact that a No Deal Brexit is going to hurt.

This is, though, another reason to vote Yes in a second IndyRef. Because it gives us the chance to work our way out of the damage and become a stronger, more resilient nation. The alternative will be decades of stagnation under an isolated, xenophobic Government ruled by a wealthy elite formed by the extreme Right Wing. There is only one escape route left for us. What we need to do is convince enough of our fellow Scots to see this.

On that point, I was heartened to hear the news of a former Tory Councillor openly declaring that she had changed her mind, left the Tory Party and declared support for independence. Anyone who has the courage to do that should be welcomed with open arms, because we need as many people as possible to convert from No to Yes. The more of them who have the courage to openly admit to changing their minds, the easier our task will become. Then we can all work towards creating a normal country.