Why now? Well, the First Minister, with breathtaking casuistry, insists that Scotland should make its choice once the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is clear. But that is, of course, only one part of the package – it gives us no time to look at what comes next for the UK, the replacement deals, the evolving nature of its economy and society, the evolution of the EU, before us Scots have to make what will this time surely be a final and irrevocable decision.
She’s rushing us, because she thinks that gives her the best chance of winning: while all is chaos and uncertainty, with the UK’s reputation at a global low, when the economic predictions are at their most gloomy, and with, as she put it today, the Tories looking like they’ll be in No 10 till 2030.
The Nats have done their prep work and covered the angles. Ms Sturgeon is a much more attractive and conciliatory salesperson than was the toadish Mr Salmond. She promises a “frank” evaluation of an independent Scotland’s prospects, the lack of which did them so much damage in 2014.
She says that at a moment as definitive as Brexit, it is not for her, one politician, to decide Scotland’s future, it is for the Scottish people: a great line. And the separatists hope the “take back control” mood that drove Brexit will equally persuade Scottish voters to overlook the very real economic challenges of an independent state in favour of a vote based on culture, place and power.
That could be a powerful appeal, and, for good or ill, feels more in tune with our times.