by Rab Bruce’s Spider

So, the big question for 2018 must be when IndyRef2 is going to be called. There are lots of opinions on this, and each one has a fairly sound basis depending on how you view Brexit.

For what it’s worth, I think the SNP are going to wait until the last possible moment before calling the IndyRef. As things stand, some people still harbour fond hopes that Brexit will be called off. There is, though, no real justification for this since Theresa May is determined to make it go ahead. She has no real choice because the people who are keeping her in power – the Brexit champions in the Cabinet and her tax-dodging press owners – will force her to push on regardless.

Will things change if Theresa May resigns or is forced out? It would be nice to think so, but remember that it is the Tory Party, not the electorate, which will choose the next leader of the Party. Unless the entire Government collapses and yet another General Election is called, we face the prospect of seeing Boris Johnson in Number 10. That’s a scary thought in itself, and it may just be enough to convince enough Scots that we need to escape the madhouse that is the UK. But having Johnson as PM won’t stop Brexit.

However, there remains a possibility that the Irish Border question may yet scupper Brexit. It’s been put on the back burner for the time being, but it will reappear before things reach a head. When that happens, the Tories are going to have to face up to either having a hard border or effectively remaining inside the Single Market and Customs Union. Either way, they are going to annoy a significant section of their support.

As for Scotland, the simple fact is that we can only wait and see. If Nicola Sturgeon calls IndyRef2 before we know what the final Brexit position is, we face the prospect of losing yet again. We need the certainty to have something to point to as the alternative. If we can show the waverers the absolute horror of Brexit from which there is only one escape, we stand an excellent chance of persuading enough people to vote Yes this time. If we go ahead on the basis of what might happen, the usual media and political lies from the UK Establishment will create enough doubt to convince the waverers to stick with what they know even if that might turn out to be a disaster.

Having said all that, one option may well be for Nicola Sturgeon to announce that a new IndyRef will be held if the final Brexit outcome is leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. That would act as a sword of Damocles over the British Nationalists in Westminster because the consequence of their insistence on Brexit would be very clear.

That is always assuming that we are given permission to have another IndyRef. That issue, and how the Scottish Government reacts to it, is another huge question.

One thing is for certain, 2018 is going to be another tough year.