As I listen to the First Minister announce the latest deferment of action to resolve the constitutional issue I feel like I’m travelling towards a tiny but piercingly bright pinpoint of light at the end of a long dark tunnel. It is impossible to tell how long the tunnel is or how fast I’m travelling as there are no points of reference. Sometimes, the light seems to be getting closer. But either it recedes again or this was merely an illusion. Recently, I’d swear the light was growing dimmer. But that too may be just my imagination.
The times when the light appears closer are such as when I read that a substantial majority of people now regard it as inevitable that Scotland’s independence will be restored. Most, it seems, believe we will reach the end of this tunnel eventually. Only a few think the journey will be so long that it’s not worth giving any thought to getting there.
Then I read that even the optimistic people are thinking in terms of journey times stretching from 5 to 15 years, and the light retreats again.
It occurs to me that, on those occasions when I suppose the light to be brightening, I am deceived by the fact that the claustrophobic blackness of the tunnel is becoming more ominously intense.
In my gloomy imagining, this darkness has substance. It is thick and viscous and travelling through it is like struggling through an increasingly glutinous. cloying mess. A mess that threatens to defeat and engulf me before I get to the end of the tunnel.
I know with absolute certainty that the destination is attainable. But the tunnel is an ever more hostile environment. The walls are closing in. The darkness is suffocating. The urgency of the need to escape grows even as the possibility of doing so is pushed frustratingly further from me.
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