Fortunately, however, it appears that other senior SNP people disagree with Mhairi and are giving serious thought to possible methods by which an outright mandate for independence can be secured by an election, rather than by referendum. An article in the Sunday Times suggested that the next Westminster election could be used to reinforce the current mandate for an independence referendum, and if that was ignored a subsequent Westminster election could then be used to obtain an outright mandate for independence itself. It was implied that the second mandate would require some kind of super-majority in terms of seats won, but not necessarily an absolute majority of votes cast.
I must say that sounds unnecessarily convoluted to me. We already have the mandate for a referendum, that mandate has already been ignored, so the obvious next step is to seek an outright mandate for independence at the next appropriate election - which I think logically should mean the next Holyrood election. Even if we did end up seeking yet another mandate to hold a referendum, it seems a bit odd to say that we need a majority at Westminster for that, given that the 2014 indyref was held when the SNP had only 6 out of 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons. The much more natural arena for settling these questions is the Scottish Parliament.
On the plus side, though, at least there's a chance that the next Westminster election could only be a few months away - that's largely outwith our control, but it could well happen. If that's the way it pans out, at least we wouldn't be mucking about indefinitely. And even if I'm slightly dubious about the exact details of this strategy, I'm very glad that consideration is being given to credible options for breaking the logjam.
There was a unionist chap on Twitter yesterday who described any suggestion of abandoning the referendum idea in favour of an election as "fundamentalist". If that's true, the source of the fundamentalism is a newly-radicalised British nationalist establishment that has made the holding of a referendum either difficult or impossible, and has left us with no option but to find an alternative. Taking the best available option within the constraints that others have placed on you is a form of pragmatism, not extremism. (The alternative course of action, which I fear Mhairi Hunter is agitating for, would be impotent utopianism.) One thing I've started to do is delete comments on this blog which gloat that "there isn't going to be a referendum", not on the basis that the Scottish people don't want one, but simply on the basis that Westminster will block it regardless of circumstances. If the only argument you've got is "you're living in a dictatorship, suck it up", you haven't really got an argument at all.
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