But the election was the best part of four months ago, and the narrative has moved on since then. If the media and our imperial masters do not currently take the prospect of a referendum seriously, it's no longer because the SNP are one seat short of an absolute majority, it's now because the Scottish Government themselves don't seem to have much interest in a referendum at the moment. Until that changes, then, the impact of yesterday's deal on the prospects for independence is fairly neutral. Having a majority government may yet help the cause when and if a bit of urgency is eventually injected - although the eagerness of both sides to eccentrically portray the coalition as a non-coalition undermines any benefit, because it needlessly raises question marks over whether the government actually has majority or minority status.
There are two pieces of fiction here. The first is that this is not a coalition government, and the second is that the 'non-coalition coalition' wheeze is unprecedented in the UK. A coalition is simply when there are two or more parties in government together, as the SNP and Greens now will be. It's a rather painful insult to the reader's intelligence to be told that the agreement is between the Scottish Government and the Green group, when in fact the Scottish Government will incorporate the Green group. Treaties concluded with oneself are always the easiest sort, although it must be a concern for SNP members that, strangely, their own party is technically not even part of the agreement at all. And there is in fact a clear precedent for this sort of Schrodinger's Coalition in the UK - in 2016, the Welsh Liberal Democrats went into government with Labour, but both parties were insistent that the arrangement fell short of a coalition. (That was code for a coalition deal in which the Lib Dems had sold themselves very short.)
As for the content of the deal, it's good that there's a clearly-stated commitment to hold an independence referendum within the five-year term, and also with a preference for it to be within the first two-and-a-half years. That could be important, given that the text of coalition and confidence-and-supply agreements seem to have an informal constitutional status in the Westminster system equivalent to a majority party's manifesto (ie. as part of the Salisbury Convention). But naturally what really matters is whether there is a genuine intention to honour the pledge, or whether it is merely a nominal 'political commitment'. The word that makes me slightly sceptical is 'secure' - the government will 'secure' a referendum, implying that it has to be granted from elsewhere, which provides a useful get-out clause if nothing ever happens. I'd feel happier if they'd simply promised to 'hold' a referendum.
I wondered aloud yesterday whether a formal deal would really make any difference to the obsessive identity politics agenda, given that there's clearly a parliamentary majority for it anyway. However, the commitment to reform the GRA within one year may make a difference. If these hugely controversial plans were ever going to be scuppered, it would probably have been due to internal pressure from within the SNP to compromise and keep the party together. But now that's less likely to happen because the SNP are bound by a two-party agreement to see it through - which of course suits the leadership down to the ground.
One of the policy areas specifically excluded from the deal is regulation of the selling of sex - the topic of the most recent Scot Goes Popcast. That might seem like a slightly random exclusion, but as I've mentioned before there's a weird overlap between views on the trans debate and views on the Nordic Model criminalising the purchase (but theoretically decriminalising the selling) of sex. Gender critical feminists tend to be gung-ho in favour of the Nordic Model, and trans rights activists tend to be viscerally opposed to it. The Greens are playing their designated role, but the SNP have somehow found themselves committed on paper to both the Nordic Model and self-ID for trans people. It could all get incredibly messy, and there certainly won't be any unity on the subject within Schrodinger's Coalition.
Different perspectives on the deal are of course also available, and our dear old friend Chris Deerin is purple with rage about the entry into government of the "most left-wing party ever to hold power in the UK" and an agreement which supposedly has the sole purpose of bringing about independence. Such thrilling thoughts, Chris, if only I could believe a word of them. He fumes that the deal is "unnecessary", and has only come about because Nicola Sturgeon needs more numbers to get her parliamentary business through - which is a rather odd definition of "unnecessary". In fact it's the rationale for just about every coalition government in peacetime history.