With the FM’s comments this week, and public opinion being firmly against it,will IndyRef2 still take place? If you believe it will, care to predict a date? - @Alasdhair_McB

THE First Minister made a mistake by stating that she would take independence off the table if a soft-Brexit was achieved.

Most nationalists want Scottish independence whether Brexit is soft, hard or semi-erect. By putting IndyRef2 into the hard Brexit framework, we have limited our options.

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Moreover, public support for a second referendum is not there. The SNP might’ve grown, but support for independence has remained stagnant. The party spent a pretty penny on Sturgeon billboards during the parliamentary elections, but when it came to their 2016 “summer of independence”, no effort was put in.

Instead of cultivating new support for IndyRef2, the SNP focused on building their party, and are now gambling on changing circumstances to do the pro-indy work for them. Worse yet, they’ve seen the Brexit vote as the catalyst for Scottish independence, when current polls show that the average Joe thinks no such thing.

The SNP putting all their independence eggs in the Brexit basket is risky for several reasons. Firstly, nobody will know what Brexit means until it happens. Many are predicting that Brexit will be a catastrophe, but we do not know that for sure. Implausible as it seems, the combination of Trump and May could lead to a prosperous Britain outside the EU. This might lead to the EU being the union in trouble, not the UK. It’s unlikely, but should it happen, Scotland might not look like the brainbox it presently does for voting Remain.

Brexit is either going to be the sword that Theresa May falls on, or it will become one she can wield against the SNP. It would be a tactical error to announce a second referendum based solely on our assumptions about Brexit, rather than facts. Accordingly, I would pen in 2020 for IndyRef2. By that point, we should know exactly what Brexit means, and this will dictate how the second independence referendum will be fought. By then independence campaigners can speak proudly of their “20/20 vision”. Ho ho!


Are there more than two genders? - Sam, Glasgow

The simple answer is: yes. Biological sex is not the same as gender identification. Your sex has more in common with say your height or hair colour; effectively it is a biological attribute that you are born with. Yes, these things can be altered, but they must be altered on a biological level. Gender, on the other hand, has much more to do with how you identify yourself beyond your physical form. Somebody might be white, 5’7 and biologically male, but that doesn’t necessarily define who they are. Gender is one of perhaps infinite ways that a human being could define themselves, and accordingly, the number of genders is perhaps infinitus as well. Moreover, gender can be fluid, like any other component in a person’s humanity. You might feel like a different person at 35 than you did at 25, and your perception of your gender may alter in the same way any aspect of your personality would.

Acknowledging the complexity of our own humanity should not be considered a “threat”, as it seems to be by many who remain adamant that there are only two genders.

It is always best to ask people how they identify, and to respect their wishes. It’s common sense.


Can the public do anything to help make the Scottish national football team better? — @vespaneil

It’s no secret that the Scottish national side are underperforming. In fact, we’ve been off the boil for some time. As a nation of football-daft maniacs, we have failed to replicate our recreational enthusiasm for the beautiful game on the hallowed Hampden turf. This is despite being the nation that gave Jimmy Johnstone, left, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Chic Charnley to the world. While my personal Scotland Dream Team XI might not be a match for the England squad of 1966, they’d certainly out-drink them.

In recent years, it has been noted that Scottish footballers are slowly transitioning away from the staple diet of lager and pakora. We, as fans, should not be so keen to blame a collective rapacity for tasty foods for our footballing woes. Rather, it is my belief that our longstanding footballing anguishes are caused not chiefly by diet, but by something much more sinister. I’m talking, of course, about politics. As things stand, we are supporting a Scottish national side who are still burdened by Westminster political rule. How can our national side hope to have a shot at glory when we’re still not a free nation? Our players, past and present, have never been hampered by a lack of talent. No, sir. They’ve been shackled by the trappings of an unfair political system that prevents them from delivering the sexy football they’ve been threatening to unleash for decades.

So, what’s the solution? Well, as fans, we owe it to ourselves to support Scottish independence, knowing all too well that it will instantly restore national pride, boost collective morale and – most importantly – take us back to the glory days of Scottish football, when our failures were glorious instead of embarrassing. We may never win the World Cup, but surely we stand a better chance without the shadow and stench of Westminster clouding our vision?