Scotland will have a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, but the SNP has fallen short of an overall majority. What does this mean for the party, its leader Nicola Sturgeon, and the campaign for a second independence referendum? Katy Balls speaks to James Forsyth and Stephen Daisley.
James Forsyth: ‘In a way, this is why this (election) is a bad proxy for the question of independence opinion in Scotland, because there are obviously three sizeable, pro-Union parties in Scotland: Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats. And on the pro-independence side, there’s the SNP, there are the Greens, who are interestingly, a poll during the campaign suggested that most Green voters weren’t actually in favour of independence. And Alba, Alex Salmond’s party, which looked like it’s failed to gain a single seat.
‘So the Scottish parliament will not have an SNP majority, but it will have a pro-independence majority. But if you think that everyone is voting on the constitution, which I’m not sure is entirely correct, but if you think that is what everyone is doing, it is worth noting that the pro-independence parties are not getting over 50 percent of the vote.’
Stephen Daisley: ‘I think there was a very telling moment during the final TV debate in this election on the BBC. The BBC’s Glenn Campbell put it to Nicola Sturgeon: what if there are people who want to vote for you because they like your government, who like the SNP or they like their local school or something like that, but they don’t support independence? And she said, well, they should vote SNP.
‘But her message throughout the campaign has been that voting SNP will create a mandate for a second referendum. And in fact, that was exactly what Nicola Sturgeon said in 2016. She said that you could vote for the SNP to express your support for a second referendum. But also, if you didn’t support one, you could also vote SNP. So the talk of mandate is very difficult, quite apart from the fact that the powers are reserved to Westminster.’