This article appeared in the print edition of the Evening Telegraph: 03/06/2019 [Online], Available: https://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/fp/ewan-gurr-momentum-for-scottish-independence-is-growing/ [Accessed: 2019, Jun 04]
“The vision of starting afresh was embedded in the most deprived and often forgotten communities where the golden embers of hope required a fresh wind.”
In 2014, a political enthusiast and close friend living in London called me as she observed the increasing intensity of support for independence and asked what was going on in Scotland. I responded with two points: Firstly, I did not think we would win the referendum but, secondly, I did believe Scottish independence was a political inevitability. I still believe that second part but it is contingent upon how the SNP play their political cards to ensure they do not come up one card shy of a full house.
A majority for independence was secured in only four out of 32 local authorities in 2014 with Dundee securing the highest margin of support at 57%. At the time, former SNP Deputy Leader, Jim Sillars, said: “Dundee has always gone its own way.” The result, revealed on Saturday, of the recent Evening Telegraph poll comprised, at the time of writing, over 6,200 respondents. And it clearly showed that Scotland’s ‘Yes City’ would still support independence but with an even higher margin of over 75%.
However, the path to independence is paved with potholes. For instance, there will be no Prime Minister to issue a Section 30 order for some time even in the unlikely event they are willing to do so. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Willie Rennie, raised concerns last Thursday about timing as he believes overturning Brexit should be the priority. Then, the SNP has to explain to the electorate how exactly it expects an independent nation to be admitted to the EU. Plus, the potential PR fallout around the ongoing court case against Alex Salmond is still an internal concern.
Aside from all that, what struck me about the result in 2014 was that Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire also returned majorities. In other words, the vision of hitting the political reset button and starting afresh was embedded in the most deprived and often forgotten communities where the golden embers of hope required a fresh wind. And given the current trajectory, the political, economic and social imperatives for independence have greater merit now than ever before.
The disintegration of the once well-oiled and slick presentation of the Conservative Party has called into question their ability to govern over the future interests of Scotland. They called a referendum and lost their leader. They called an election and lost their majority. They called for a vote on a deal and lost their grip on reality by re-running the vote three times. And now we are on the precipice of a new premier.
The traditional minimum number for a polling organisation is 1,000. The question we must ask ourselves is, if the 6,000+ respondents in the Evening Telegraph truly are an indication of an almost 20% growth in support for independence in Dundee, is that a reference point for a growth in support for independence across Scotland? The answer just may be Yes.