LAST week, the Scottish Government announced its plans to stage a new independence referendum next year.
Such a promise was included in the SNP manifesto for the Elections to Holyrood last year, which the party won so convincingly.
Now they have published a set of papers outlining its intentions to stage another referendum, sometime in October 2023.
The first referendum was held back in 2014 when the NO side was victorious by 55% to 45%.
Although the SNP have an independence referendum mandate by virtue of that election win last year, and indeed several previous election wins since 2014, there are several roadblocks ahead.
In the first place, there is the small matter of gaining a section 30 agreement from Westminster to hold the referendum, as was agreed for the 2014 vote.
Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, has already stated he will refuse such a request, even though it’s not clear whether Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has actually made an official request yet.
If such an impasse does emerge, it looks as if the whole issue would have need to be thrashed out by the Supreme Court, which would involve months and months of wrangling.
And although there’s no doubt that Scotland deserves independence as it is a nation, the specific prospect that is currently being promised to the Scottish people also looks fraught with problems.
In the first place, Nicola Sturgeon is promising economic growth for Scotland as a result for Independence, but she shares power with the Green Party who are opposed to economic growth in principle because of climate change.
If the leadership are so divided on such a key issue, it could hobble any hopes of presenting a united front to the Scottish people.
Then there is the question of the risk involved with holding a referendum for the SNP itself, which is at present such a dominant force in Scottish politics.
An SNP insider was recently quoted as saying the party wanted “power in perpetuity, without the hassles that independence would bring”.
Some are suggesting that Nicola Sturgeon knows full well that both Boris Johnson and the courts will rule against a second referendum, but that it will suit both her and her party’s interests to be refused in such a manner.
Then there is the puzzling fact that the SNP keep on winning elections, without that translating into a clear majority in favour of independence in opinion polls.
Indeed, the polls in favour/against independence have barely shifted from the 2014 result over the 8 year period up to 2022.
Proponents of Independence however would point to the Brexit vote of 2016 where Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU, but were forced to leave with the rest of the UK, as a clear reason for a new Independence vote.
As well as the calamitous state of Westminster politics at present where Boris Johnson and the Tories are so unpopular on a range of issues.
A spokesman for Gwlad said the party obviously wanted to see independence for Scotland, as that would have ramifications for Wales as well in due course.
“The obvious question for the people of Wales if Scotland become independent, is do we really want to stay in the resulting entity, which will be so England-dominated and so unbalanced (60 million as compared to 3 million).”
But, he added that there was no guarantee of success with the referendum, especially as the whole weight of the British state will be marshalled against Scottish independence like never before.
“To be honest, given the choice right now, I think we would much prefer to be appearing on the world stage in Qatar, than to be holding a referendum which is going to be such a divisive and polarising affair at this particular time” he said.
“Wales will have the luxury of the goodwill and positivity of a whole nation behind the soccer team in Qatar – and that will be a huge boost to our confidence and our sense of nationhood in the future.”
“Whatever happens in the finals, I think it’s fair to assume that Wales will be united like never before in the wake of all the positive publicity which we will gain from this historic appearance as a nation on the world stage.”
Looking forward to next year, the people of Wales will obviously be following all the action in Scotland closely, watching and learning from afar.
But, to mix sporting metaphors, probably thankful that the ball is not in our court. Just yet.