Before the referendum I sought an assurance in the Commons from the SNP that they would accept the result of the Referendum either way, and regard the matter as settled. I pointed out that those backing the Union would facilitate Scottish separation if they won by just one vote, so would expect the SNP to accept the Union if the Union won by one vote. I was given the necessary assurance. The talk was of having settled the matter for a generation.
It perhaps should come as no surprise to learn that the SNP did not mean those assurances given prior to the vote. Their recent conference has made it quite clear they regard the last referendum as a stepping stone on the way to another vote where they hope to win. It looks as if their candidates for the May 2015 General Election will be believers in an independent Scotland, as well as presenting themselves as the people best able to maximise the gains for Scotland out of the current round of further devolution negotiations.
Up to this point supporters of the Union could always take comfort from the fact that Scotland has never voted for a majority of independence seeking MPs at Westminster. Scottish voters up to this point have mainly wanted to influence whether Labour or the Conservatives run the Union government. We have never been faced with more than 6 SNP MPs saying they just want to leave the Union and have no interest in how the rest of the UK is governed.
It will all look very different if recent polls stay the same come May. If Scotland were to elect a majority of SNP MPs the rest of the Union cannot ignore that force. If a large group of SNP MPs were part of a Parliament with no majority party then the SNP could be in a position to decide who if anyone did govern,and to demand a constitutional price for their support.
Scotland will only be a settled member of our union again if the SNP decide to change from wanting independence to agreeing to a given amount of devolution and then using its influence to make people happy with that new settlement. Alternatively it will only be a happy member of the union again if Scottish voters reject the SNP for the Westminster Parliament. Voting SNP to maximise leverage over the rest of the UK may seem good tactics to many Scottish voters, but it would mean the referendum had settled little.