Scottish referendum two months on - where are we now?

Nicola Sturgeon

Two months ago, Scotland voted (55%-45%) to remain in the union. Scottish and British politics have changed forever.

For those on both sides of the referendum campaign everything has changed.

In one sense those on the losing side of the referendum are now winners. In the two months since the Yes campaign lost the referendum, SNP support as soared. On Saturday, SNP membership stood at 85,884 - although that figure is likely to soar further by the May next year.

Furthermore, Nicola Sturgeon’s party - as she has now taken over from Alex Salmond - has seen a tremendous boost in the polls. The party are on course to become the largest party in Holyrood once more in 2016, and are likely to win a majority of Scottish seats in Westminster next year. Survation’s latest poll gives the party 45.80% for the Westminster election, which could result in the SNP going from six seats to a ground-breaking 52 seats. Such an outcome would heavily dissolve Labour’s influence north of the border - and Ed Miliband’s chances at forming a government next year.

As for the Scottish Greens, the other main party in favour of Scottish independence, they have seen their membership increase from around 2000 to 7000 in the previous two months.

For the two parties on the losing side of the referendum, their fortunes have improved dramatically since the ‘no’ vote two months ago.

As for those on the winning side, Scottish Labour has seen a dramatic change. Johann Lamont stood down, causing a leadership contest, the result of which will not be revealed until December. For a party that should be basking in the glory of keeping the country united, its own internal divisions are being exposed. The party is going through an identity crisis. If Jim Murphy MP becomes leader, the party will take a more right-leaning approach, however, if Neil Findlay MSP wins the race then the party will shift to the left. Leadership elections are fundamental for democracy, but this one is emphasising the divides in Scottish Labour.

The Conservatives on the other hand do not appear to be doing any worse, nor any better. The recent Survation poll, giving the SNP almost 50% of the vote for the next general election, puts Ruth Davidson’s party on 16.70% and one MP. It will be a while before Scotland sees an increase in Tory MPs.

As for the Lib Dems, led by Willie Rennie in Holyrood, they are set to see massive loses in 2015, with the Survation poll putting them on just one MP in 2015, compared to their current eleven.

Overall, two months on, the losers of the referendum appear to be winners. The SNP will gain seats in 2015, but the question is: how many? Labour will see likely lose seats, but it will be up to the new Scottish Labour leader to minimise the damage and prepare the party for 2016.

For Scotland, the political lanscape has shifted dramatially.