These are bad times for the Scottish independence movement. The fall of the former chief minister Nicola Sturgeondue to the irregular financing scandal, has plunged the Scottish National Party (SNP) into the biggest crisis in the last two decadesconsummated in recent weeks with the loss of a seat in special elections to the Labor Party and the flight of an MP, Lisa Cameron, to the ranks of the Conservative Party.
The new nationalist leader and chief minister, Humza Yousaf, has barely managed to weather the storm with the party backing his new strategy at the party’s national conference just held in Aberdeen. If the SNP wins a majority in Scotland in the next general election, scheduled for 2024, then he will claim the powers for a second referendum. That will be the renewed independence struggle, which may once again end in a dead end like the one this year, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the premier Rishi Sunak in his fight with the regional government.
The polls show a technical tie between the SNP and the Labor Party, which has ostensibly recovered the ground lost in Scotland under the leadership of Keir Starmer. The Labor leader has also already anticipated his refusal to hold a new sovereignty consultation in Scotland if he becomes prime minister.
Support for independence (47% compared to 53%) has fallen as a result of the serious internal crisis of the SNP, according to the average of Statista polls. Even so, the difference is smaller than at the time of the 2014 referendum (45% to 55%) and the base of support for nationalism is larger than expected after the stunning fall of Nicola Sturgeon, who led the party with an iron fist for almost a decade.
“A majority of seats is a victory, straight and simple,” proclaimed Humza Yousaf at the SNP’s recent national conference in Aberdeen. “If we win that majority, that will be our mandate to open negotiations with the British Government.”