The National:

FIRST they said there would never be a Scottish Parliament. Then there was. Then they said there would never be an SNP government or an SNP majority in a Scottish Parliament elected by proportional representation. Then there were both. Then they said there would never be an independence referendum. Then there was, and Yes came closer to winning than most pundits predicted. Now six years later there is a sustained and growing majority in favour of Scottish independence.

Boris Johnson is hugely uncomfortable discussing his unpopularity in Scotland, or explaining the UK Government’s appalling ratings or how any democrat can block a democratic vote on the future of the country.

According to the Scottish Social Attitude Survey, which was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic, 61% of Scots trust the Scottish Government compared to 15% who trust the UK Government. In polling conducted by YouGov Nicola Sturgeon was on plus 50 points compared to minus 50 points for the Tory PM, a remarkable 100-point difference between the two leaders.

Not only has there been a continuous and expanding majority lead for independence, but more than 60% believe it will happen regardless of their personal preferences. Johnson was asked about these things in an interview this morning; his answers were the usual bluster people have come to expect.

With even new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross attacking Westminster for not caring about Scotland, Johnson is exposed as the emperor with no clothes. It is not a pretty sight. When asked by Andrew Marr: “If the SNP win a big majority in the Holyrood elections next year on a mandate for a new referendum on independence do you simply turn your back on the Scottish people and say: ‘No, you can’t have it?’”

Boris Johnson replied: “This country now has a big job of building back better from coronavirus and I don’t think, quite frankly, this is the time for us to have another referendum. We had a referendum in 2014. We were told it was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ event by the leader of the Scottish nationalist [sic] party”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson: I'm not to blame for surge in support for Scottish independence

Prime Minister Johnson and the dogs on the streets of Whitehall know that standing in the way of democracy for Scotland is not a sustainable strategy. The longer they keep it up, the more they risk convincing even more people in Scotland that independence is necessary and justified. It becomes an even more powerful issue about democratic rights than ‘just’ independence.

There are two potential spanners in the works that Johnson and Co are praying for: 1. that the SNP doesn’t win a majority in the next Scottish Parliamentary elections, and: 2. that the Yes movement becomes strained, split and loses momentum as in Quebec. Let’s disappoint Boris and his Westminster Tory, Labour and LibDem allies.

With polls showing more than 50% support for the SNP and independence, let’s work hard to deliver that majority result in the Holyrood elections which will be closely watched and reported around the world. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. In the next days a large-scale poll commissioned by Progress Scotland will help us understand more about the views of undecided and open-minded voters about independence.

Undecided and open-minded people will help make the case for independence and indyref2 unanswerable. In everything we do and say we should think about giving confidence, assurance and a warm welcome to everyone who is considering supporting independence for the first time.

Together we will build the momentum that will deliver not just indyref2 but the majority that will be internationally recognised and respected as the legitimate decision of people in Scotland for independence.