According to the Herald, the SNP's NEC will on Saturday consider the following options for "fleshing out" Nicola Sturgeon's plan for a de facto independence referendum -
1) Use the next Westminster election, expected next year, as a de facto independence referendum.
2) Use the next scheduled Holyrood election as a de facto independence referendum - which would mean waiting until 2026, a full decade after Scotland learned in 2016 it was to be dragged out of the EU against its will.
3) Bring about an early Holyrood election well before 2026, and use that as a de facto independence referendum.
4) Use the next Westminster election "to campaign on the issue of Scotland's right to choose how it is governed".
You'll probably have spotted the odd one out here. Options 1-3 all genuinely flesh out the de facto referendum plan, while option 4 does a screeching U-turn on the plan, abandons it completely, and thus betrays an independence movement which had been given a cast-iron promise that a credible Plan B was in place to cover the danger that the Supreme Court would rule against the Scottish Government. To state the obvious, using an election to "campaign on Scotland's right to choose" is not a de facto independence referendum, and it's not a remotely credible Plan B because it's already been tried umpteen times and it's proved to be utterly ineffective. Let's just recap on the previous occasions it's been attempted...
* In 2016, the SNP won a Holyrood election on a manifesto stating that Scotland should have the right to hold a second independence referendum in the event of Brexit. Westminster ignored this mandate.
* In 2017, the SNP won a Westminster election on a manifesto stating that a majority of seats would complete a "triple-lock mandate" for an independence referendum. Westminster ignored this mandate.
* In 2019, the SNP won a Westminster election with dramatic seat gains on a manifesto promising to press ahead with an independence referendum. Westminster ignored this mandate.
* In 2021, the SNP won a Holyrood election on a manifesto making a dual commitment to a referendum and to Scotland's right to choose (the main slogan was "Scotland's Future is Scotland's Choice, and nobody else's"). Westminster ignored this mandate.
Literally the only difference with these previous occasions is that if we seek another mandate for a referendum or for the right to choose, we no longer have the threat up our sleeves that the rejection of a Section 30 order might just lead to a consultative referendum without the UK Government's consent. So this time the UK Government would be even more relaxed and unconcerned about ignoring the mandate.
And yet in spite of our unprecedented lack of leverage, the proponents of Option 4 expect us to believe, for some unspecified reason, that it'll be fifth time lucky. So either Einstein had a point, or these people know perfectly well that they are punting a dud option that would be a dead end for the independence cause, and moreover, that is exactly why they are so enthusiastic about it.
If the SNP NEC are foolish enough to scrap the de facto referendum plan by adopting Option 4, I suspect it would be one U-turn and one betrayal too many for a large number of SNP members and voters. The trust would be gone forever - not trust in the SNP as a party, but in the current leadership.