I know it’s a crudely constructed piece of history more designed for Hollywood than Holyrood but I love Braveheart. My favourite part is when the Scots are assembled at Stirling Bridge itching to get into battle and William ‘Mel’ Wallace instructs them to ‘hold…hold….hold…’ before unleashing the weaponry that would lead to victory. Our approach to a second referendum has to be a bit like that and we must be patient and like ‘Mel’ strike at the optimum time for success.


There is only one consideration that concerns and interests me when it comes to the timing of another independence and that is – is now the right time, and if we hold it are we certain of victory? It would be unthinkable to lose another indyref and almost reckless to proceed without good evidence it could be won.

Three and a half years on from the last referendum support for independence remains defiantly at 45% for with 55% against. Some polls show a greater support for independence, some show it lower, but Inevitably the numbers coalesce around these now almost iconic figures. This is both reassuring and disappointing. Reassuring that the vote for independence remains pretty solid three years on but disappointing that even with the prospect of Brexit there is no evidence of a pick up of support. Intriguingly, support for a second independence referendum also consistently ranks lower than support for independence itself and we should try to understand what this tell us about optimal timing. We also have to acknowledge that we lost 21 MPs last year where opposition to an early referendum was ‘at least’ a feature.

How do we then get over the line and win? Well, I don’t believe that it is in simply offering the same perspective that lost us the last referendum. We need a new independence offering that reflects the Scotland we now live in and takes into account the new political environment that we inhabit. Most importantly it needs to be sufficiently persuasive to win over that section of our population that have hitherto been unconvinced.

There are those who suggest that there would be a pick up of support by simply calling a further referendum pointing to the experience of the last referendum when Yes was behind only to make up much of the ground in the campaign. I’m afraid that this is not a view I necessarily share. Scottish independence is now one of the most discussed issues in our nation. Before the last referendum independence was pretty much an abstract idea that most people hadn’t properly considered, now, most of our fellow Scots have pretty strong views on the subject. Offering the same prospectus, with the same arguments, is likely to produce the same result.

Then there is Brexit. Scotland didn’t vote for this disaster but it is coming our way and is a potential game changer in the prospects for independence. As Brexit hits incomes and living standards I have no doubt that the Scottish people will start to look with renewed interest at those constitutional lifeboats strapped aboard the doomed HMS Brexit UK. As Brexit hits we will want to get off this doomed liner and sail for the shores of sanity as quickly as possible. But people don’t feel that yet and Brexit is still something that is to be fully experienced. Even when we leave next March there is likely to be a transition period delaying the full impact of Brexit trauma.


Then there is the question of the mandate. In this Parliament we do have a mandate to hold another referendum and if we begin to see evidence that the time is right it should be deployed . But we only ‘should’ hold a referendum when we are certain of winning and not hold one just because we ‘can’. If the optimum conditions are assessed to be found on the other side of a Scottish election then we should properly prepare and ensure that a mandate is once again forcefully renewed, undisputed and incontrovertible. I actually believe that it would be impossible to win a referendum if we can’t secure a mandate to hold one.

Then there are events. It is not beyond possibility that the UK Brexit project will totally implode in chaos and the ‘optimum’ time comes into play sooner rather than later. We should obviously grab that opportunity and quickly put in place a referendum. But with this scenario we’re literally talking about months and is therefore something we can not properly plan for and would be largely out of our control.

Scotland will secure its independence and we are so tantalisingly close, but we have work to do in convincing our fellow Scots who voted No last time to join us as well as uniting all Scots from both sides of the EU referendum. Setting a roadmap and plan is essential in getting us there as is striking at the optimum time for success.


  1. TSD

    The people on the ground and in the indy hubs around Scotland disagree with you. IndyRef2 has to be before 31st March next year and preferably this year. Our percentage of the vote at the last indy ref doubled and all we need this time is another 10%. The older generation who voted No could very well have died now and we have more of the younger Yes generation now, not to forget the Europeans who voted No and will now hopefully vote Yes.

    We could wait forever for the right time and then it will be too late. We need to ask the British nationalists what are the benefits of staying in the union; use that question in the way Beter Together used Project Fear.

    The SNP need to stand up to the media and call out their lies. They need to stop being so ‘nice’ and start fighting back. Us voters of the SNP need to see you all standing up foryourselves and us.

  2. Ealasaid

    In the Conservative owned mainstream media we get lie after lie. Any good news for Scotland is omitted or twisted and spun out of all recognition. So why is it that we believe the Conservative owned polls?

    The UK deficit is in the trillions. They cannot afford to lose the Scottish cash cow and will do ANYTHING to keep us.

    Has any canvassing been done recently?

  3. anyvoices

    Lots of good points as always pete . Will be interesting to see when yous will call this vote and I know the grassroots are itching to get started again . Will post this on anyvoice as always . Keep up the great work pete

  4. Kangaroo

    It must be obvious by now that Wastemonster is moving to create an alternative Scottish executive and plan to slowly crush Holyrood once a full english brexit has been achieved. The transition deal can be seen to be part of their plan, delay the worst effects of brexit until another Holyrood election and stop the indy by winning a unionist majority. This is incredibly easy under the d’hondt system and should be seen as the norm for this style of election. The other possibility is that they move to make it illegal to hold indy without Wastemonster approval. Then we are in the Catalan situation.

    In other words an indy has to be held before the next Holyrood election otherwise it will never happen.
    It’s all very well waiting for the polls to change but given the massive MSM onslaught and no indy voices at present it is no wonder that the polls haven’t changed, indeed it is surprising that they have held up so well. Perhaps Pete, as you are in London most of the time, you are to close to the London bubble to get the sense of feeling in Scotland. Then again I am sure there are plenty of locals that can advise on that aspect.

    Someone once said ‘events dear boy, events’ change everything. Well brexit IS the event and if we can’t win with disaster looming then we never will. The only other event on the horizon is the possibility of a ‘border poll’ and if this happens then indy should be held on the same date.

    In conclusion ‘unleash the dogs of war’ and get indy started before the next holyrood election

    1. Kangaroo

      Oh, I forgot to mention some uncertainties.
      A) we don’t know whether A50 can be withdrawn , or
      B) will there be another brexit referendum on the Terms, or
      C) will Wastemonster have another vote on the matter, which may include a remain option, or
      D) the Transition period may be cancelled unexpectedly by either the EU or the UK and
      E) the tories could come up with something unexpected, before 29Mar19, less likely but possible, or
      F) some other unseen event could occur (rerun but worse of GFC). I have a big bet on this.

      Obvioulsy some of these preclude calling an indyref before they are known.

      I therefore want to adjust your Title to ‘Timing is Critical’

    2. Kangaroo

      Holyrood Election
      To thwart the unionists for next Holyrood perhaps we set up a new party that only contests list seats. ‘Scottish List for Independence Party’ I am sure there are plenty of people who can come up with a suitable monicker. The SNP should then not contest the list. This will flush out the last vestiges of unionism and show up the pseudo Scottish parties for what they are ‘establishment parties for the wealthy to retain their position’.

      We need to get the ball rolling, no date required but we have to push the grassroots campaigners to get out there, keep their faces in front of the doorsteps and obtain detailed information on what is happening on the ground. Obtain info such as who the voters are what their concerns are. Ask questions such as ‘What would make you more prone to, or a stronger independence supporter?’ etc. I am sure the SNP’s consultation illicited some of the answers, but there is nothing like addressing a particular persons doubts face to face with a solution.

      Acts of Union
      We need to address the issues raised by this document

      Click to access Annex_A.pdf

      Simply stated, if the courts were to find that Scottish sovereignty did not rest with the people then having an indy may not be the only way to obtain independence. So we need to challenge this position.

  5. 6 Oak Tree Close, Knaphill

    I’m pushing for an Ulster Scotland bridge to be a living reminder of what we had, and how the EU was a friend to the regions. Something else back from Europe as well as clean water.

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