So, Alex Salmond outlined his plans for a referendum on Independence this week and so the unionist parties have started to sweat and the media which supports them have sharpened their pencils and are preparing to report whatever their masters tell them, The Sunday Times are already well ahead of the game.
I see this in many ways as a win win situation for the Scottish Government and Alex Salmond. If the Unionist parties oppose a referendum (which at the moment they seem more inclined to do) then Salmond plays the democracy card. If they accept the referendum then independence question will be put to the public vote and if the SNP are sensible this will include a suggestion of greater fiscal autonomy and power for the Scottish Parliament. I, for one, would be willing to accept incremental baby steps on the road to independence. I sense, however, that there is a growing confidence and belief in this country, which is not necessarily reflected in opinion polls and newspaper editorials, that Scotland is on the road to independence. More and more young people, sense and support that inevitability. There can be no harm in Scotland being polled on this issue. Even if the independence movement fails it will awaken Scotland up to the actuality of the situation and it will force a debate on some of the bigger issues here and in England. The SNP will be in the enviable position of being the ‘aye we can’ party - and in this Obama age of positive thinking and building of self-esteem people will be encouraged to agree with them. The unionists on the other hand will be forced to tell the Scottish people that ‘no you can’t’ in all its subtle forms. We will be told that we are not financially stable enough, we are not big enough, that we rely on the kindness of the union blah blah blah.
I think it was interesting that in the YouGov poll commissioned by the SNP this week support for them over the Megrahi affair was now at equal pegging. The fact is that the Scottish people hate to be told what they cannot do and as adverse media coverage and supposed international criticism grew so did Scottish support for the decision. It is the unionists that should be confident after all the polls all suggest a majority being against Independence. But, it is like being 1- nil up in a home European cup game with the away result at 0-0. You are in control but as the other team keep pushing up the park and the minutes tick away you become more nervous knowing that if they score and it ends up a draw you will be the losers.
There is an excellent article by Gerry Hassan on the issue of why a referendum should happen and the consequences of it for the UK.