Unionists are gleeful that support for independence and the SNP is down. In one recent poll Labour was ahead in the vote for the regional list and the SNP lead in the constituencies suggest that many of its seats might be at risk.
The SNP’s dominant position in Scottish politics is looking at real risk for the first time since 2011.
Clearly it’s been a tough time for the SNP and unionist propagandists in the main stream press have milked the situation for all they’re worth. They’ve found magic spell which will get rid of the SNP forever.
But are they celebrating too early?
Let’s remember these important facts:
No-one has been charged with anything, and according to former SNP head of comms, Murray Foote, it’s very possible no one ever will be. If that does turn out to be the case Nicola Sturgeon won’t be sitting quietly on the backbenches of the Scottish Parliament. Some very serious questions will need to be answered and given what we know about the former First Minister’s character, getting those answers will be something which she will attend to with vigour.
There are three years til the next Scottish Parliament election. The SNP and the Greens form a significant pro independence majority in the Scottish Parliament. They’re not going anywhere until the Scottish people decide otherwise. That decision won’t be made until 2026. If anyone is counting their chickens now they need to remember that last year it was UK Prime Ministers we were counting. Politics in the UK right now is characterised by unprecedented volatility. Three years is an especially long time in the current political climate. Current snapshots are meaningless in the circumstances. If it turns out that Police Scotland has behaved with anything but propriety the Scottish public will want to know why.
Brexit isn’t going anywhere. In fact its impact is only going to get worse when goods entering the UK start being checked in the autumn. Almost everyone understands that Brexit has had a catastrophic effect on the UK economy. That’s not going to change. The fantasy of Global Britain is dead. But the systemic problems which gave rise to Brexit, namely some of the highest levels of personal and regional inequality in the developed world, are only likely to worsen. The UK is going to struggle to sell itself to Scottish voters as a safe and secure economic prospect.
Demographics favour independence. Fewer and fewer Scots subscribe to a British identity. The results of last year’s census are likely to confirm this. In 2011, in every part of the country, large majorities rejected British identity. Long-term trends are very unlikely to be reversed any time soon. So long as British identity is connected to imperialist fantasies like Brexit or the embarrassing flummery attendant on events like the coronation it’s certain most younger Scots will not embrace it. That’s very bad news for unionism.
Of course we shouldn’t be complacent. Our job is to convince our fellow Scots that independence is viable and desirable. But if unionists think the game is over they are only fooling themselves.