The SNP have had a sensational result in Scotland winning an overall majority in a parliament designed to prevent anyone winning an overall majority. Labour's rout has been incredible and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have gone backwards from an already weak position.
The polls suggest independence is very much a minority position within Scotland-, especially after the financial crisis hurt small European nations like Iceland & Ireland- so the SNP might like to avoid the issue for now. However with an overall majority Alex Salmond will have to hold some kind of referendum or admit that they are abandoning the idea.
However while independence isn't popular yet, a campaign will be headed by Salmond who has demonstrated that he is by far the best campaigner in Scottish politics. It will also be opposed by relatively unpopular Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties and a Labour party led by the hapless Ed Miliband. There is a real opportunity for the Nats to win independence.
Even if independence is a bridge too far for Scotland right now, the SNP would surely win any referendum on anything short of independence such as more powers for Holyrood- a situation which would put more pressure on the Union in the long term.
The reason for the SNP's success is surely at least in part because it is the one party whose focus is purely on Scotland- Labour's best politicians (a relative term) go to Westminster hence their campaign was largely directed against the irrelevant Conservative Party, the Scottish Tories have flat lined in the polls for the best part of two decades and the Scottish Lib Dems have no real reason to exist as a 3rd party already does very well.
Meanwhile the SNP march on.
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