As you may have seen, the senior SNP MP Angus MacNeil and the former depute leadership candidate Chris McEleny have tabled a resolution that would require the SNP to use the next Westminster or Holyrood election to seek an outright mandate for independence in the event that the UK government refuse a Section 30 order for an independence referendum next year. I was startled to see an independence supporter on Twitter brand the plan as "childish" and "idiotic" - a rather bizarre outburst against the whole principle of parliamentary democracy, which recognises that a party has a mandate to implement a policy if it fought and won an election on a relevant manifesto pledge. A number of us asked the irate indy supporter what his alternative was. Was he just going to hold his hands up and say "well, it's been a good, clean fight, but London have said no, and that's the end of that"? All he came up with was that we needed to have majority support for indy before we could do anything - a very slippery answer that completely evades the issue. An unambiguous majority for Yes in the opinion polls would just give the increasingly unhinged imperialists in the Tory leadership an even greater incentive to refuse a Section 30 order, so what do you do then?
But actually, though, we shouldn't even let the point that "we need a Yes majority" pass without questioning the premise that there isn't a Yes majority already. There have been four proper independence polls this year, all of which have put Yes support in the high 40s, and on each and every occasion I've made the observation that it was an unusually high level of support from a polling firm (either Panelbase or YouGov) that have in recent years tended to show relatively No-friendly results compared to other firms. I'm not sure the full implications of that have quite sunk in.
For example, in the first half of 2018, when Ipsos-Mori put Yes support at 48%, YouGov were saying it was only somewhere between 43% and 45%. Now that Yes are on 49% with YouGov, doesn't it seem entirely plausible that a new Ipsos-Mori poll would put the figure at 51% or above?
In October 2018, when Survation had Yes on 47%, Panelbase had Yes on only 44%. Now that Yes are on 49% with Panelbase, would it really be that surprising if a new Survation poll put Yes on 51% or 52%?
It doesn't necessarily work that way, of course. At the end of the 2014 indyref campaign, when the hitherto No-friendly pollsters like YouGov suddenly showed a massive swing towards Yes, the other firms didn't follow suit. Instead, there was a sudden convergence between the findings of different pollsters - and something very similar happened in the EU referendum. So it's not certain that Ipsos-Mori or Survation would be reporting an outright Yes lead if they were polling right now - but for my money there's a reasonable chance that they would.
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