In the face of polls showing increasing desires in Scotland for an indyref 2 Westminster is busy trying to sound as stern and pompous as they can in saying 'never, never, never'. But Boris Johnson must know that so long as the firm majority of people in Scotland want a further referendum this will, ultimately, be impossible to resist.
Why do I say that? Well, it's not because the SNP, having increased their majority in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, may decide to hold their own unilateral vote. I hope they decide not to do this simply because the unionists will boycott the vote rendering it meaningless, and no, I can't see the Scottish Government seriously attempting to declare unilateral independence, though they might joke about it. That's because in practice it would end up being a joke.
No, the problem for Westminster is that after the Scottish Parliamentary elections, if Scottish sentiment continues to increase in favour of a vote, then. to cut a long story short, English voters will start piling on the pressure for Johnson to agree to an independence referendum. First we shall see demonstrations in Scotland, maybe then civil disobedience campaigns (more and more likely as things drag on), and of course the Scots will descend on Westminster in large numbers. The only barrier to all of this I suppose, is the extent to which social distancing criteria will still apply. But then it didn't deter the BLM protesters in the USA last summer. Oh yes, and suggestions that anyone in England who has some connection with Scotland will also get a vote in the referendum will be simply blown away by Nicola Sturgeon. In the end the Johnson Government will have to deliver a referendum on terms which are mutually agreeable.
Now as to whether another referendum will actually produce a Yes vote, now that's another question, and I'm not going to make a prediction on that. We have to remember way back in 1995 when the Quebecois had a second independence referendum. The Yes vote was leading by a large majority in the polls but ended up losing by one per cent in the actual vote. But maybe it is actually in nationalists' interests for the whole argument about Westminster granting a second referendum to drag on for a while since the sense of indignation at Westminster's stubbornness may encourage more Yes voters to turn out and deter the unionists.
Westminster can forget any argument that it is too soon after the last one to hold another vote - after all everyone knows that since then Brexit has happened which fundamentally changes relationships. On the other hand of course it is simplistic to argue about how soon an independent Scotland would be able to (re)join the EU. This is simply because Scotland, in practice would, for a time at least, join the European Single Market, like Norway, rather than be a full member. That is because Scotland would not, as a full EU member, be able to negotiate its own trade agreement with England that was different with the now current UK-EU agreement.
But of course, for political scientists not to mention everyone else, we're in for an interesting time ahead!