We will get our independence when the majority of the people who live and work in Scotland want it. I know it sounds indolently straight forward but somehow we have contrived to make this simple fact as complicated as possible. 

Scottish independence will be secured when a majority of people in Scotland demand it because attempting to keep Scotland in the union against its will could and would not work in the UK. The range of decisions that a UK Government would have to be prepared to take to keep Scotland in the union when a majority want to leave would be singularly unpalatable to the UK. I seriously don’t think that the UK public would be at ease with itself if it had to resort to Catalan style political prisoners, particularly when we now know the UK public is at best indifferent about the maintenance of the union.

Just now all we hear is how the UK would ‘forbid’ a referendum and how they would never ‘allow’ independence. The Conservatives particularly pursue an energetic and vigorous campaign to oppose and ‘forbid’ a further referendum because they believe it is in their political interests to do so. Their view is it is they who represent majority opinion on independence and therefore they play hard to that constituency in order to maintain and increase their political support. Only two years ago the Scottish Conservatives significantly increased their share of the vote and gained 12 Parliamentary constituencies on a single issue platform of opposing a second independence referendum. The minute they stop securing such political support for opposing a democratic route to independence, or when that support significantly declines, will be the minute the case of ‘forbidding’ a referendum quickly disassembles. As we have seen recently that moment may be coming very soon. 

The one thing we therefore need to do is to get support for independence as the majority view by persuading those who are as yet unconvinced. When we secure sustained majority support for independence everything changes. We saw just a hint of that when one recent single poll showed that independence was the favoured option amongst the Scottish electorate. That one poll alone created fissures in the Tories and almost broke the Scottish Labour Party who were left in the absurd and ridiculous situation of having to argue that democracy would be forbidden in Scotland. The various contradictions of promoting that position is the fate that awaits all supposed ‘democratic’ political parties. The Scottish Labour Party recently polled below 10% and are now destined to lose all their Westminster Parliamentary seats. Another recent opinion poll predicted that a seatless future also awaits the Scottish Conservatives.

We get to that majority support by persuading those who opposed independence in the last referendum by responding to their concerns and outlining how independence is the solution to issues that they care about. With the chaotic premiership of Boris Johnson and his suspension of democracy many more people are now seriously considering joining us. Scots who voted No in the last referendum but voted to remain in the EU have been impressed by our commitment to keep the UK in the EU. They are now beginning to recognise that this option is quickly closing down and the only way to secure the EU membership they desire is for Scotland to become an independent nation.


We must  therefore do everything to accommodate these political journeys. These switchers have serious and legitimate concerns about the Johnson government behaving unconstitutionally and undemocratically so we therefore must ensure that we look absolutely nothing like them. Talk of UDIs and illegal referendums only makes that conversion to our cause all the harder, as does talk of securing independence without the expressed consent of a majority of our fellow Scots.

It may indeed be the case that we will have to consider a range of options if the UK continues to oppose a constitutional route to a referendum but we first have to pursue our ambition to secure a legal, agreed and internationally recognised route to deliver the result we require.

And this approach is winning. Support for independence and the SNP is rising faster than it has for years. Our opponents are in total disarray, dreaming up new barriers and thresholds and are desperately grasping at anything that thwarts the rise in support for independence. They are practically itching for us to do something that puts all of this at risk and we must ensure that we do not give them that gift. That is why, as the First Minister says, we must act in a ‘calm, considered and consensual’ way right now.

After dominating political debate for the last decade views on independence are doggedly fixed and hard to shift and people are not encouraged to come over to us if they feel anxious or concerned about how we intend to get to independence. The only strategy that will ever matter is to secure the support of the majority of people who live and work in Scotland. This is now very much on its way and will soon reach a tipping point and our movement and cause will become unstoppable. 

The UK will be able to assert anything it wants until we get that consistent majority support but all that changes when we demonstrably lead public opinion. They can of course continue to resist a majority but that comes with great risks for them. With majority support for independence the UK can either resolve the situation constitutionally and sensibly or dig in for a futile and damaging campaign that they can only lose. Whatever they choose. We win.


  1. Ian C

    I’m not clear as to how this approach s winning, Pete, because although support for independence is increasing, the SNP don’t seem interested in doing anything about it. I fail to see how calling for Johnson to resign and the removal of a no-deal Brexit will assist in the quest for an independent Scotland. Why is the SNP seeking to exert its influence in another country’s politics? Isn’t that what we don’t want for Scotland?

    1. Juteman

      Totally agree, Ian.
      England and Wales voted for Brexit. We have no right to try and overturn their vote.
      The SNP need to concentrate on Scotland.

  2. Jim

    Peter, given the ‘material change in circumstances’ that has occurred, what would make an independence referendum illegal? Or asking for a mandate from the people of Scotland in a Scottish or UK Parliamentary election to dissolve the treaty of union?

    It is one thing to say a certain way of proceeding with this is the preferred option, but quite another to say other options are ‘illegal’. You are accepting the position of our opponents when you do that, a position they cannot defend. As you say yourself, they claim to be democrats yet attempt to suppress democracy in Scotland. If you push them back on section 30 they are left with one argument: “the people of Scotland do not want a referendum”. Soon to be exploded. Then we are immediately on the front foot.

    If we continue with the section 30 line we hand them a gift. The chance to play for time, set ‘conditions’ and lead the Scottish government on a merry dance that could last for years, inducing the kind of apathy and disillusionment that we see in people’s reactions to the Brexit debacle. In the meantime, great damage will have been done to Scotland.

    Another factor that seems to seems to be missing from the analysis is the very real danger of the British government removing powers from the Scottish Parliament or closing it down.

    In 2014 the independence campaign foundered because the UK Government refused to agree to the sharing of the assets of the Bank of ‘England’..Basing a key element of the campaign on the assumption that they would do so and having no popularly credible alternative when they refused was an error of historic proportions.

    Insistence that obtaining the consent of the British government to have a referendum controlled by the British government is the ‘gold standard’, or worse still, the only legal route, could be another error for which Scotland will pay dearly.

  3. Craig Macfarlane

    If they refuse a section 30 just make the GE a plebiscite and have a mandate saying a majority in the GE means independence…

  4. Bibbit

    Boris & Dominic will be shaking in their boots (with laughter). This is dreadful, dreadful stuff from the SNP and I have been a member all my life. Faint heart never won fair country. The ‘auld sweetie wives’ in the SNP inner circle do not deserve its foot soldiers who deliver leaflets, knock on doors and hold stalls year in, year out just so you can retire cosily on your British State income. What a sell out. Sick to death of this ‘Oh, just wait. Just wait attitude. Wait for what? The BBC and the press will always keep the lid on the UK State. We need courage. Something the SNP has lost. .

  5. John Byrne

    1)Unite ;unify and align the clans.(all support and equally oppressed fractions by westminster).
    2) Re – install the pride through clear and concise messaging and single catchy protest mantra’s.
    3) take the fight to them ; organise more regular and consistent Westminster marches (at least 2 per year). After all they are the ones denying our liberty and God given right to choose.
    4) Highlight the negatives of every oppressive move made by Westminster against independence in positive manners to gain support.
    5) Create one mandate and enhance it as and when it grows ….involve the people to unite the people.
    6) Stop the infighting we all want the same thing.
    7) unify support within English independence fractions south of the border.
    8) Allow political support to be people guided and led….email yr MP’s regularly and constantly.
    9) Stagnate all negative unionist press with positive comment, instead of ” old argument” to rise above the opposition.
    10) align support within Europe and other devolved nations.

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