Many of us have long-since ceased to notice when ministers in the Scottish government use the word 'independence'. It has become little more than a rhetorical flourish, often added as an afterthought.
So it was shocking to hear it being deployed in the chamber this afternoon, following Shona Robison's budget statement, by someone who appears to consider it as rather more than a useful means of keeping restless natives placated. In fact, Ash Regan seems to believe that independence is important enough to warrant consideration in the government's fiscal planning. Whether or not this is, technically, allowed under the terms of the Scotland Act etc is beyond our ken.
But that will, no doubt, be clarified in due course. In the meantime, Ash Regan appears to mean business and we applaud her.
We have only a poor quality clip, lifted from Twitter, showing her question.
(4) ash regan - Search / X (twitter.com)
This is what she said:
'I note, in the 38 minute speech of the Deputy First Minister, no mention of funding to advance the cause of Scottish independence. If spending reflects priorities, this government is not serious about independence, is it?'
We have yet to see the full recording of budget business today but find it hard to imagine that anything will manage to overshadow that.