For months and months I've been declaring that the death of the United Kingdom is a matter of when, not if - and in many ways, I maintain that is still true. That said, part of that belief rested on one thing - that the Scottish National Party would get a huge majority at the next Scottish elections, scheduled for May 6. And then L'Affaire Salmond kept happening, and now we're here.
So, I'm going to be completely honest with my audience - I'm still not really clear on what actually here? My basic understanding of this story is that Alex Salmond was a creep, Nicola Sturgeon knew about it, lied about what she knew and when she knew it to the Scottish Parliament, and then there's some arguments about some reports which maybe or maybe don't exonerate her. From what I've seen - and, again, I'm admitting the limits of my knowledge here upfront because in terms of how this plays politically, I kind of think my knowledge level is representative of the average Scot - she's guilty as fuck about having lied to the Scottish Parliament. Whether or not it matters politically is the bigger question.
My forecast, seen above, is ever so slightly volatile - it's a simple swing model for the Constituencies, and then the regional list D'Hondt bullshit done according to those Constituency results. The forecast isn't super fragile to changes in individual constituencies most of the time, but there is one huge problem area. In Moray, say, Douglas Ross will presumably be running as the Constituency MSP, but whether he wins or not is irrelevant. If he wins the seat, the SNP wins an additional List seat. If he loses, the Scottish Tories get an extra list seat. It's a straight swap. The problem area is the region called Lothian, otherwise known as Edinburgh. If the SNP wins Ruth Davidson's soon to be open seat of Edinburgh Central, they get 63 seats, if they don't, 62, because they don't have a list seat to lose if they gain the Constituency. For now, I have the seat blue still, but that's a gut call.
The SNP are in trouble, because they're probably needing to make gains in Edinburgh, where there are three non-SNP constituencies they can win without costing themselves a list seat if they want to win a majority - or make enough gains in the South of Scotland constituencies the Tories won last time without losing all of those gains back on the List.
Can they pull it back together? Yes, I think so. Two of the three most recent polls have the pro-indy Scottish Greens on 10% of the vote, which could be disgruntled Nationalists mad at the incompetence of the SNP parking their votes there in time. Scottish Labour is doing better in the first days of their new leader, and while I don't think there is much of a honeymoon right now, it's possible they're artificially high right now. But the real reason I suspect the SNP will be fine is because of two 2019 elections - the Canadian election and the UK one.
In Canada, Justin Trudeau was dogged by similar allegations of political pressure on civil servants, breaking the impartiality of the prosecution service, and generally lying about all those things. He survived, and would have won a majority if not for the Bloc surge in September and October. Oh, and he even got caught having worn Blackface three times, I think, and nobody cared. The election came down to a simpler question than anything else - Justin Trudeau or the other guy. Trudeau won.
Does anyone in the UK actually like Boris Johnson? Probably not, because even voters who voted for him know he's a bit of an ass, an Etonian toff who thinks he's so brilliant because he can remember that "thank me no thankings" is Shakespeare and "but me no buts" was Centlivre, popularized by Walter Scott. And yet, Sedgefield and West Bromwich and Stoke all voted for the guy anyways, because the election was a referendum on a referendum question - Brexit or not. The SNP have the advantage that Boris had then of being the major player on the constitutional question that needs an answer.
I think the SNP will get their majority in the end, I do. This opinion is not partisan or biased, because while I am a Scottish nationalist, I am not a Scottish Nationalist. I want an independent Scotland, and would vote Green if I resided in the land of my cultural heritage to achieve that fact. The SNP has cracked the door marked Hung Parliament open, and if the election was today, they'd be in Minority. I just don't expect that to hold through May.