RESULTS from an important opinion poll from Progress Scotland are currently being published and have confirmed the public mood in Scotland has shifted significantly over the past year.

This is now a country where there is not only a significant and sustained majority in favour of independence, it’s also a country where an even larger majority expect independence to happen. It’s a country where a clear and unarguable majority believes a victory for pro-indy parties in the next Scottish elections gives Scotland the absolute right to hold another referendum.

We have come so far this year in terms of support for independence that the poll’s finding that there’s currently a 53% majority for Yes was not the most significant or interesting result. Just a year ago that’s a finding which would have made headlines not just in Scotland but across a UK whose media has as much interest in Scottish politics as it does in cabinet resignations in the government of Mongolia.

With the exception of a few desperate British nationalist straw-clutchers on social media, it’s now taken for granted that we live in a Scotland where there is a majority in favour of independence. This significantly alters the political realities.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: The only ones confused about guidelines are the Tories

It’s a lot easier for a Conservative government to continue to deny Scotland a referendum when there is no majority support. Equally, it’s far harder for the Scottish Government to continue to press for one. When we have a Scotland where there is both majority support for independence and a clear majority who believe that Scotland has the right to another referendum with a pro-indy majority in Holyrood, the political momentum is very much in favour of independence.

Crucially it gives the Scottish Government the political capital required to make a success of alternative strategies should Westminster continue to refuse. It removes the certainty Westminster has previously enjoyed that it can continue to refuse a referendum without consequences. That’s new, that’s different and it’s a game-changer.

Perhaps the most significant finding of the poll is the huge majority which believes Scotland will vote for independence when it next has the opportunity to do so. When 64% of people in Scotland who expressed an opinion believe that this country will vote Yes at the next independence referendum, it tells us more than that there’s now a widespread public expectation that independence is going to happen. It also tells us that a sizeable number of people who are currently opposed to independence believe that theirs is a lost cause. That in turn means they’re going to be less likely to bother trying to persuade others to their point of view, and less likely to turn up and vote. It tells us opposition to Scottish independence has been hollowed out from within

Vaclav Havel, the Czech writer and leader of the democracy movement in former Czechoslovakia who went on to become the president of a democratic Czech Republic, once said the only lost cause is the one you give up on before you enter the struggle.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Tories are reeling ... here’s what indy side must do now

A large number of opponents of independence have given up already. They’ve given up because they know they can no longer articulate a plausible argument for the UK as it’s currently set up. No one can realistically claim Scotland is a valued partner in a family of nations when the British government repeatedly treats the devolved administrations with contempt and when it unilaterally trashes the devolution settlement itself.

When the pandemic began, commentators opposed to independence confidently predicted that it spelled the end of Scotland’s hopes for independence. It was, they claimed, only going to prove that Scotland depends upon the UK. Instead the opposite has happened.

The pandemic has given Scotland greater confidence in its own abilities. It has shown Scotland that its own institutions are perfectly capable of dealing with the greatest global crisis since the Second World War. Far from demonstrating that Scotland needs the UK, the sclerotic and confused response of Westminster has only shown that Scotland is being held back because we lack the full powers of independence.

The Union has failed on its own terms. It’s failed even to show that it is in fact a real union and not a unitary state which operates in the exclusive interests of right-wing English nationalism. Moreover, it’s a unitary state without any effective checks and balances on the powers of the prime minister, a prime minister who is about as popular in Scotland as a randy mongrel at a gathering of pedigree dog owners.

A massive 32% of 2014’s No voters have changed their minds about independence and would either vote in favour of independence or are now undecided. On the other side of the coin, just 17% of 2014’s yes voters have changed their minds. This is a critical segment of opinion which the Yes movement needs to reach out to. Persuading a person who had already decided to vote Yes to come back to Yes is a much easier proposition that converting a diehard No voter to Yes.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Neil Oliver deserves a big thank you from all us Yessers

Another polling site, Ballot Box Scotland, reported on a ComRes poll which showed the SNP on course to win 66 seats in Holyrood at the next election – a majority is 65. Additionally the Greens appears likely to substantially increase their representation and are forecast to end up with 11 seats in the next Parliament. That would produce 77 pro-independence MSPs vs 52 who oppose independence.

This poll is significant because it shows the SNP’s vote share is not suffering significantly due to the recent bout of infighting among sections of the Yes movement on social media. The new pro-independence parties don’t even register in this new poll. For bloggers like myself it’s a salutary reminder that the influence of social media commentators in Scottish politics is nowhere near as great as some might imagine it to be.

Scotland is on the move. This is a country which is increasingly attracted to the idea of independence. We can take nothing for granted. Unity is critical. The infighting on social media doesn’t help to convert anyone to Yes. Converting people to the cause of independence was and must remain the first and most important task of the Yes movement. The good news is that we’re winning.