by Christian Wright
There are two requirements to deliver independence.
1. A government with the power to action a referendum on independence (a majority in Parliament)
2. A majority voting YES in that referendum.
You need BOTH of these. On their own each is necessary but not sufficient.
If there is no commitment to action a referendum on independence in the manifesto, the SNP government will have no mandate to call one. By omitting a pledge to hold a referendum in their manifesto, the SNP precludes a referendum for at least the life of the next Scottish Parliament, no matter if they form the government or not.
Unless they’re planning to have a referendum-on-holding-a-referendum on independence when the time is right (i.e. when the chances of a majority YES vote are as good as they’re ever going to get). I’m only halfway joking here. There HAS to be a clear commitment to a referendum on independence in the SNP manifesto to effect an unchallengeable mandate.
Everyone knows this. If the SNP meet or exceed their performance of 2011 and form another majority government after nine years of incumbency, it will be a remarkable achievement. The probability that the stars will align to do it a third time in 2021 after fourteen years as the government in a proportional voting system are not good.
Of course the caution demonstrated by Sturgeon is no doubt fueled by private polling showing no clear majority for independence, the latest Ipsos-Mori poll notwithstanding.
Public polling data meta analysis suggests it’s about 50/50. Polls have since the referendum (sans don’t knows) have been bobbling about, exhibiting a Brownian Motion of about two points either way.
What we can say for definite is that there has been at least a sustained 3.5% swing to YES since the referendum.
Then as we’ve noted previously (but worth reiterating here), there’s the larger demographic shift to consider – nature taking its course:
75% of those 65 and over voted NO. That original cohort is of course going to continue to shrink. Their replacements, polls indicate, are far more YES friendly.
What percentage of the population is 65 and over, and what is 85% (the turnout) of that number? That product is considerably greater than the 200,000 + votes that would change NO to YES. In fact, according to the Scottish government the cohort of those 65 and over comprises 17% of the entire population.
So simply waiting a little while we become the majority by default, anyway. But we need a manifesto commitment to indyref2 so that a majority SNP government has a mandate from the People to implement one
Timing wise, the virtue of a limited-duration official campaign is clear. We know all the arguments. All a long campaign would do would be to help enable Project Fear 3.0. The more time they have to carpet-bomb the electorate the better it will be for them.
We are never going to go into any independence campaign, certain of the outcome. There will always be risks. The greatest risk would be to bottle it, kick it into the long grass till after 2021.
We have a perfect storm right now where the SNP dominates Scottish politics completely, we have the most right wing Tory government in modern history, implementing draconian legislation designed to crush the will of the working class.
We don’t know how things will look in 2021. We must act with a clear pledge to hold a plebiscite sometime in the life on the next parliament (Holyrood).