Scotland has essentially three types of self-identified unionist now: Greater Englanders, SNP-haters and regular folk.

Greater Englanders. The Scottish Tories own this type. They deprecate any notion of Scots choosing a non-Tory direction, understandably, and see their role as supporting a right-wing, Brexiteer, UK administration governing Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland but made up entirely of English MPs[1]. They’re comfortable with the unionist v independence divide in Scotland because this has enabled the Tories to become THE party of unionism and therefore far and away the main Scottish opposition. This type includes entities like Scotland in Union, an obvious Tory front group which has successfully suckered some Labour-minded members of the Scottish establishment into thinking they’re above party politics.

This lot are moving steadily towards 30% mark in Scottish polls and hope to chip away at the SNP’s right wing in future. The SNP themselves don’t believe they can hold power forever, and the bookies think that the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson will be Scotland’s next leader (independent or not).

SNP-haters. Scottish Labour’s leadership consists of two factions; confused-ex-Blairites and Corbynites-having-fun. They really don’t like each other and their aims are close to diametrically opposed, but they’re united in their hatred of the SNP from the olden days. In Scottish Labour’s actual leader’s case, who applied for work experience with the SNP during those olden days, this distaste for both SNP and independence admittedly looks like a (poorly-selected) position of political convenience taken by a captive of the two factions.

The Corbynites-having-fun have little interest in winning elections. They share more than they let on with the Greater Englanders. They defend anything which comes up from London and prefer a right-wing UK run by English MPs to a centre-left Scotland. They quietly like Brexit, too. Their position is dictated by a combination of their own hatred of the SNP from the olden days and their enjoyment of Corbyn’s moment in the sun.

The confused-ex-Blairites hope that if they demand independence from their own leader in London for long enough while demanding the opposite for Scotland itself then one day the tide will turn and they will be able to implement something or other which they say definitely won’t be Blairism. No-one, not even them, understands what that something or other might be. The confused ex-Blairites take their cue from former politicians and a fabulously rich Scot or two who just can’t see beyond their old ways.

For now, the leadership of both Scottish Labour factions seem to agree that if they present the broad independence cause in Scotland as being no wider than the SNP from the olden days, then Scotland will just about vote No in Indyref 2 and this will preserve enough list seats to keep most of them in a job.

Regular folk. These are folk who gave plenty of thought to both sides of the argument in 2014. A lot of them still support Labour. They don’t have much truck with the Scottish Labour leadership’s inability leave behind their hatred of the SNP from the olden days. And they’re puzzled about why the same folk would prefer a long-term UK Tory administration to a centre-left one in and independent Scotland. Some of these folk voted No last time in fear of being forced out of the EU and the related economic risk. Others like them chose independence in 2014 and plumped for Yes. This time around, all these regular folk are thinking again about what to do in these new circumstances.

It hardly needs to be said that these regular folk will decide Scotland’s future. The other two groups are pretty much best ignored.


[1] Go on, unionists, and point out that there is a single Welsh person serving as a junior minister in real UK government department; which rather proves our larger point……