Why #IndyRef2 needs “a so-called ‘material change’ in circumstances…”

Despite it being talked up by Jim Murphy, panicking Tories, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, here is Paul Cairney on why the breakup of the UK is to be put on hold for some time to come in Scotland..

…the SNP leadership does not want a referendum right now. It will take a lot more than an excellent showing in one election to convince it to try again. Instead, it will seek evidence that there has been a so-called ‘material change’ in circumstances. In the short term, the only change would be caused by events: if the Conservatives form a government, hold an EU referendum, and the UK votes to leave the EU while Scotland votes to stay in, prompting a constitutional crisis. Even then, a new referendum is not inevitable. In the longer term, a material change involves either remarkably high opinion poll support (say, over 60%), or clear majority support for a long time (say, over a year) or some combination of the two. No one in the more sensible side of the SNP would want to hold a new referendum on a whim. The people who want to use the result to declare independence without a vote, or hold a new referendum immediately, do not control the party.

Not that the ambition is gone you understand (something Mark Durkan was seen to underline in last night #NILeaders debate last night), but the IndyRef only revealed what work has to be done before another such poll can be realistically won.

There’s a potent lesson here for more than one party in Northern Ireland..

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty