Danny McGregor of the Scottish Green Party provides some personal insight into the timing of a second Scottish Independence Referendum...
'There is a view held by some commentators that it is “only a matter of time” before Scotland obtains independence and so we should wait it out for more favourable conditions to manifest.
'Implicit in this argument is that the devolution process started a one-way train towards independence and there is nothing that can be done to stop it, regardless of political developments in the meantime.
'Resting on the idea of a permanent SNP juggernaut or, more broadly, a pro-independence majority being present at Holyrood, may be comforting for some. However, this is based on the erroneous assumption that the status quo will continue to prevail. Political developments often surprise even the most astute political commentators.
'The only reason people can argue indyref2 is only a matter of time is because the SNP dominance is assumed to be in a fixed position come what may. If we remove this assumption, holding to the “only a matter of time” argument becomes considerably more difficult.
'In just over the last year or so, the list of political events that were near impossible to accurately predict include: the Corbyn victory, the Sanders surge, the SNP landslide at the last UK elections, and the victory for Leave in the EU referendum.
'On the specific question of the SNP, the last Scottish election showed how much voting patterns are consolidating around the constitutional question. Although we shouldn’t read too much into a by-election with a meagre 20 per cent turnout, Tory transfers in the recent North Ayrshire Council by-election helped Labour scrape over the line. Whatever the exact cause, the impact of increased Tory representation reflects a rejuvenated right and, unfortunately, it is not a guarantee that their vote share won’t grow. It wasn’t so long ago that the Tories were thought “dead” in Scotland.
'The debate around tactical voting seems likely to sharpen at the next Scottish election and not in a way that benefits advocates of independence. Aside from anything else, the last result helped to make the Tories seem like a legitimate alternative to a struggling Labour Party - Ruth Davidson’s party is no longer isolated after years in the wilderness.
'Furthermore, the political landscape in the UK could change sufficiently in such a way that could make blocking a second independence referendum more likely. For example, if the Corbyn/PLP dynamic ends badly, the prospect of an increased Tory majority is not so farfetched. In this political climate, it is entirely possible that attitudes in England towards granting a second independence referendum could harden.' (Bella Caledonia article & Scottish Independence podcast).