At long last, we’re there – a CREDIBLE guarantee that there will either be a referendum next year, or a plebiscitary election the year after

As most readers will know, I’m a member of the Alba Party’s NEC, but I’m not going to be churlish about this – Nicola Sturgeon’s statement today at last contained the clarity that we’ve been crying out for ever since the Brexit referendum six long years ago.  She’ll try to hold a legal referendum on 19th October 2023, and if the Supreme Court strikes that down, she’ll use the 2024 Westminster election as a de facto referendum by seeking an outright mandate for independence and NOT seeking yet another pointless mandate for a referendum.  Substantively, that’s what I’ve been calling for her to do for a few years, and what I used the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase polls to establish that there was, indeed, public support for.

I might quibble about some of the details – I’m not sure about the wisdom of the Scottish Government effectively challenging its own referendum in court, even if that’s just a procedural device to expedite an inevitable legal process, and I would have preferred a snap Holyrood election to be used as a plebiscitary election, because a Westminster campaign could easily be overwhelmed by UK-wide issues.  But none of us were going to get every single detail of what we wanted.  What’s important is that we at last have a credible guarantee of a vote on independence in either 2023 or 2024 at the absolute latest.  

So I’m more than happy to say it: well done, Nicola.  You delayed for far, far longer than you should have done – this should have happened before Brexit, not after, but you’ve done the right thing in the end.