WILL there be a commitment to a second independence referendum in the SNP’s manifesto for May?

Well, we’ll find out over the next few months, but certainly it would seem very strange if a party founded on the cause for independence for Scotland did not include a commitment to further that aim in an election campaign.

Nicola Sturgeon last week told MSPs and – indeed the wider population – that independence is a core and “enduring” principle for her party, and one she believes would serve Scotland’s interests best.

She also intriguingly said she was “confident” she would win a majority support for the cause “over the next few years”.

Was that an indication the referendum commitment would be in the manifesto or was it the opposite, a statement to reassure passionate indy supporters that she was still hot on the issue ahead of a manifesto that may disappoint?

Was it a coded suggestion that it would not be in the 2016 manifesto, but would be in the one for the 2021 election?

The SNP certainly has something of a balancing act to carry out as it weighs up what is at stake.

What are the dangers for the SNP if the commitment is not in the manifesto?

Well, it could leave the party open to accusations that it has “gone cold” on independence – especially when the radical left alliance Rise is confident its 2016 manifesto will contain the second referendum pledge.

Secondly, it could put Scotland on a back foot: by failing to have a clear election mandate, the country would have to ask David Cameron for permission to hold one.

On the other hand, what are the dangers for the SNP if the commitment on a second referendum is in?

Well, of course it might have to call a referendum it would not be sure it could win – and a loss to the Yes campaign a second time around would be truly devastating, setting back the ultimate goal of Scottish independence even further.

Nicola Sturgeon refuses to reveal timescale for second indyref in wake of manifesto claim