ven if Nicola Sturgeon had been beaten into sixth place behind the unionist parties, George Galloway and Alba, she would have claimed the result of the Scottish parliament election as a mandate for another independence referendum. As it is, she now claims that mandate on the grounds that a majority of members of the new parliament are pro-independence.
Of course, a majority of the previous parliament was pro-independence too, which is why she was first minister, with the support of the Scottish Greens. Her claim of a mandate comes from Scottish National Party and Green MSPs being elected on a manifesto promise to push for another referendum – which wasn’t the case in 2016, when the elections were held before the EU referendum.
However, her mandate is not as strong as it seemed it would be a few months ago, when the SNP was riding high and the opinion polls consistently showed majority support for independence. As it turned out, she has scraped back in with the support of the Greens again, and the polls on independence are 50-50.