This leak is presumably designed to alert the media and the Scottish people that Theresa May will not risk angering us by trying to prevent one.
Already FM Sturgeon has suggested late 2018 is a possibility and both the ‘unidentified minister’ and the PM seem to be accepting this is going to be the case. I haven’t checked the bookies’ odds yet. This would mean the Referendum being held just as we get the clearest picture of the Brexit deal May has done with the EU including any betrayals of the Scottish fishing industry, any compensation for the English car industry, a special no doubt very costly arrangement to allow the City of London to trade as before, an unbelievably hypocritical, mind-bending and constitution-contorting deal for the two Irelands to retain a soft border and, almost certainly, no real concessions for Scotland. Hopefully, it will leave us all mad as hell, yes?
In the same sleakit (Notice ‘sleakit’ contains ‘leak’?) journalistic vein, the FT also announced that ‘another unidentified person’ who knows what PM May is thinking said:
‘The debate is only going to be about the date.’
The FT argues that that the PM would fight to delay it but that:
‘The prospect of an independence vote in Scotland that could rip apart the United Kingdom just months before an EU exit would add a tumultuous twist to Brexit with uncertain consequences for the world’s fifth largest economy.’
They’re feart. They really are. Two recent polls giving ‘Yes’ 49% and 50%, despite using a methodology favouring negative responses, even before the campaign starts, and so they should be.