The polling company Ipsos-Mori have released a new poll which includes the Scottish Independence question. The results have give the Yes to independence result it’s best position ever. It puts the yes vote at 53% with 44% against with 3% saying don’t know or would not vote. a poll during the referendum last year did give the yes campaign a small lead but nothing this big, It appears the poll suggests the SNP are closer to their goal than ever before.
In the referendum the breakdown was famously 55% to 45% in favour of No. Logically history suggests in terms of this sort of change that if a referendum was held again in the not too distant future, that the Yes vote is unlikely to go down. This would give the No campaign a mere 5% margin of error to win. The SNP and their pro independence friends are merely five in every hundred Scots away from Scottish Independence.
The question therefore is what would trigger a second referendum. Right now Nicola Sturgeon is reluctant to talk about this. Given many SNP figures stated at the time it was a once in a generation decision, this is probably wise politics. To push for a second referendum too soon would look like they were being bad losers and refusing to accept the decision of the people, That is why I would be surprised if there was a policy of a 2nd referendum in the SNP 2016 Hollyrood manifesto.
All the numbers suggest the SNP are on course to win big yet again in May 2016. In 2011 the SNP won an overall majority in Hollyrood based on a proportional representation system designed to ensure this was virtually impossible to achieve. With the suggestion though that the SNP vote could go up on 2011, especially based on what we saw in May 2014 where the SNP swept 56 of the 59 Westminster seats available in Scotland, they are on course to do it again.
If 2016 is too soon, a decade would not be. Targeting a 2nd referendum in say 2024, ten years after the first may well be reasonable. To achieve this the SNP don’t just have to win in 2016, but the Westminster election in 2020 and the Holyrood election of 2021 as well. If they do, the case for a 2nd referendum would then surely be inevitable. The SNP would at that point have two Westminster landslides and be a 4 term Scottish Government, including possibly 3 Overall Majorities against all the odd of the system and working in a multi-party system would bring.
Targeting 2014 in this way would give the SNP a decade to dominate every aspect of Scottish politics. At council leve, Scottish parliament level and in Westminster representation. A decade to further build an already formidable activist base that the referendum and it’s fallout has produced. A decade in which the SNP dominate the doorstep propaganda battle and get the independence message across. A decade to play off against a Conservative Government and frame the independence debate as ‘Kicking The English Tory Government.’ A decade to build on the 45% and even the 53% in this poll to ensure a large enough margin that is more than one poll, but an unbeatable lead.
It remains my view as it has since for some time that independence is the inevitable result. A referendum win in 2024 could mean it could happen as soon as 2025 after a short transition period. If played right, Nicola Sturgeon could be merely three more election wins away from her ultimate goal, if she can resist the temptation of trying to rush it and reject the idea of holding the 2nd referendum on the back of a victory next year and patiently wait just a little bit longer.