The National:

The opinion poll for the Sunday Times which was published today shows that support for independence is at 54%, confirming the previous poll which also put pro-independence sentiment at that high level, and proving that we are witnessing a genuine increase in support for independence and not merely a statistical blip.

Scotland is now unequivocally a country where a majority of voters want to see a different future than the one which is on offer from the British state.

It's hard to get a sense of public opinion while the country remains in lockdown, even a partial lockdown, but nevertheless there's been a growing feeling recently that something has shifted, that there's been a sea-change in public attitudes in Scotland. People who had voted No in 2014 are now freely discussing how they'd vote differently next time round.

There has been a collective awakening in Scotland about the realities of the British state in which we find ourselves. It's remote and distant, harshly and cruelly different from the rosy promises that were made to Scotland in 2014 in order to secure us. We were lied to, cheated, and now we're being taken for granted and treated with contempt.

The UK lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another, led by political pygmies whose sole consideration is their own short term survival

For the past few years, British nationalists in Scotland have desperately sought some external factor which would kill off support for independence for good. They've done so because - even though they can't admit it - they know that they are powerless to change the nature of a British state which has no intention whatsoever of taking Scotland's interests into account.

It was Brexit which was going to finish off the independence movement. It was the Alex Salmond trial. It was the epidemic which would prove to the people of Scotland that we're all in this together and we need the UK in order to survive. And amongst it all, running as a constant refrain, is the never ending torrent of SNPbad. Yet none of these things has worked out for them. Support for independence continues to rise.

The reason is because Scotland can see that there is no place in a Conservative led Brexit Britain for Scotland's political distinctiveness. The British Government doesn't even make a pretence of trying, high handedly imposing policies without consultation or input from Scotland. That might work in a UK which was led by political giants, respected around the globe, who perform their jobs competently.

READ MORE: Support for Scottish independence skyrockets in latest Panelbase poll

It's certainly the image that the UK's political leaders have of themselves. Yet it's an image which is deluded and delusional. The UK lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another, led by political pygmies whose sole consideration is their own short term survival in a government led by a habitual liar whose most notable characteristics are his narcissism and his sloth.

The coronavirus epidemic has allowed the people of Scotland to see the difference between the competent and capable leadership of Holyrood, and the chaos and confusion of Westminster. It has given many in Scotland the confidence that even in the middle of a global crisis, the worst crisis since WW2, Scotland is perfectly capable of looking after itself.

Far from the hopes of British nationalists that the epidemic would make Scotland realise it was dependent upon the UK, it has only succeeded in making Scotland aware of the extent to which we're being held back and endangered by the Conservative clown show that rules Westminster's roost. We'd be better off without them.

Independence must be put front and foremost in the manifestos of all the pro-independence parties in the campaign for the next Scottish Parliament

The poll also confirms previous findings that we're on course for a crushing pro-independence majority in Holyrood after the next election. Pro-independence parties are set to win a majority of both seats and vote share, putting to bed the lies of the British nationalists that there is no support for another referendum.

A Scotland in which there are consistent majorities beyond the 3% margin of error which is normal in opinion polling is a very different Scotland politically. It's a Scotland that we've hitherto only seen glimpses of, yet it's a Scotland which can provide the notorious cautious SNP leadership with the confidence it needs to pursue the cause of independence with the same competent vigour that it displays in other fields.

READ MORE: Brexit: Boris Johnson's Government plotting 'biggest power grab yet' on Holyrood

Of course we cannot expect to campaign for independence while the country is still dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, but independence must be put front and foremost in the manifestos of all the pro-independence parties in the campaign for the next Scottish Parliament. There must be no leeway given for British nationalist arguments that voters in Scotland "don't really" want another referendum.

We're on the way. An important corner has been turned. We now live in a Scotland where it's the established will of the people for this country to rejoin the world as an independent nation.

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