Alex Salmond has made clear that a second referendum is inevitable, and in so doing also confirms that the leadership of the SNP are cynically playing the people of Scotland for fools.
When it suits them they dial down the talk of the second referendum, as Nicola Sturgeon did during the general election campaign, enabling many who thought the constitutional issue resolved to give the SNP their support.
Now between election campaigns, Alex Salmond can play to the gallery of the Nationalists’ core support, in the full knowledge that they will be wanting to see a commitment to another round of referendum campaigning at their October conference.
If, as expected, the SNP secure an outright majority in 2016, Scotland will be destined to more years dominated by debating separation, taking the total to the best part of a decade.
Meanwhile, no doubt the critical services that the people of Scotland depend on will continue to suffer.
If, as ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond says, there’s going to be another referendum, then its parameters must be quite different from that held less than a year ago.
The UK Government, expecting to win by a large margin, handed the SNP all it wanted as regards the timing of the plebiscite, the question, and the democratic mandate to make it law.
Next time those parameters will be quite different. A simple majority of those voting for such monumental change cannot be considered to represent the democratic will because that could result in separation forced by a minority of the Scottish people.
This is too big an issue to be decided by a few hundred votes. It is not a parliamentary election. It is totally different.
A majority of the electorate must be required for independence. Either that or the majority of those voting to effect change should be set at 60 per cent.
Furthermore, all regions of Scotland must be required to vote in favour of separation before that could happen.
It would be totally wrong for the electorate of the Scottish Borders, and of Dumfries and Galloway to vote to remain part of Britain but to be forced to leave the UK by the urban voters of Glasgow and Dundee.
A precedent has already been set by Nicola Sturgeon demanding that in the EU referendum all the countries of the UK must vote to leave the EU before that can happen.
In addition, the questions of currency, EU membership and defence must be settled long before any referendum can be considered.