Monday 5 September 2016 4:01 am

Is Nicola Sturgeon deluded over her chances of getting Scottish independence?

and Chris Curtis

Alex Deane, managing director at FTI Consulting and City of London common councilman, says Yes.

The SNP thrives on the perpetual prominence of the independence question. But their raison d’etre would disappear with another vote – either because they won, when they would become irrelevant, or because they lost, when their cause would wither for a generation or two.

In any case, for a second referendum to be held, Westminster’s active consent is required, which won’t be forthcoming. If it were, it wouldn’t be to the SNP’s advantage: polling shows no appetite among Scots for a poll pre-Brexit, and defeat is likely, given defunct SNP economic plans based on an oil price from another era, doubts about being able to join the EU and the unattractive prospect of adopting the euro if they did.

Whatever their bluster, the SNP is happy to sit on a mountain of Westminster seats and a Holyrood majority. Sturgeon doesn’t really want independence – she wants, and has won, high political office based on the false promise of it.

Chris Curtis, a political researcher at YouGov, says No.

The latest YouGov/Times polling shows that, if there were a second referendum tomorrow, the result would be roughly the same as it was two years ago, with just 46 per cent of Scots saying they would vote Yes. Last time around, YouGov was within 1 per cent of the final result.

But polls are only a snapshot of where public opinion is at any given moment. At the start of 2014 some polls showed the No camp up to 20 points ahead, but there were big pro-independence shifts in the final few weeks. A similar swing in opinion this time around could easily lead to a Yes victory.

And we are also yet to see the full impact of Brexit. If it has the negative economic impact that many have predicted, Scottish voters (who overwhelmingly voted to Remain) may start questioning whether the union is still benefiting them. So Nicola Sturgeon, with 120,000 members behind her, is far from deluded. An independent Scotland is certainly still a possibility.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.