One subject notable by its near-absence in this campaign has been Scotland’s constitutional status.

Sure, the SNP have made good on their promise to put Independence “page one, line one” of their manifesto.

At the same time the Scottish Conservatives, obviously lacking the other ingredient of their 2016 revival which was a charismatic and popular leader, are desperately trying to use the spectre of secession to shore up their collapsing vote.

In reality though, everyone and their dog knows that’s not what Scottish voters think this election is about.

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After 14 years of a Conservative UK Government that the vast majority of Scots have opposed at every election, it’s clear that many are viewing this primarily as an opportunity to vote them out.

Likewise, whether you think it’s fair or not (that may depend, funnily enough, on your constitutional view), some voters are also obviously passing judgment on the SNP’s 17 years as the Scottish government.

Yet that doesn’t mean the issue has gone away.

Despite pro-independence parties dropping from a combined 46% of the vote in the 2019 UK election to 34% in this week’s Survation poll, support for Independence itself remains on 46%.

That’s near enough exactly where it was in 2014, which indicates that although constitutional fault lines may have faded into the background somewhat, they still run pretty deep.

I’ve found myself increasingly bemused recently by how complacent many supporters of the Union have been in the face of numbers like this.

Given how constitutionally polarised Scotland has been for most of the past decade, I can understand a certain euphoria from some at the thought of the SNP’s dominance finally being broken. Yet beating a party at an election – or two, as 2026 currently doesn’t look great for them either – isn’t actually a sustainable substitute for winning the constitutional debate.

Successfully convincing people that Independence is a mistake or too big a risk may reduce support for Independence, but it hasn’t yet increased active support for the Union.

For anyone genuinely invested in the long-term viability of the Union, surely you want Scots to be enthusiastic about it on its own merits, not grudgingly accepting it as a least-worst option?

Building genuine enthusiasm for your constitutional position is where things are surprisingly sticky for Labour, who otherwise came out of this poll well.

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Alongside the Lib Dems, Labour has tried for years now to broaden the constitutional debate out from a binary Independence vs Union rammy.

They’ve instead wanted to talk about deepening devolution or fundamentally reforming the nature of the UK.

Yet when asking explicitly about a range of constitutional options in our poll, further devolution within the Union came dead last.

Just 11% of voters gave that as their preferred constitutional arrangement, behind 16% who want to abolish Holyrood entirely, 17% who are content with the current level of devolution, and 37% who prefer Independence.

In other words, around 48% clearly back some form of expansion to Holyrood’s powers, compared to 33% who don’t, and 19% who either wouldn’t vote or don’t know.

(Image: Ballot Box Scotland)

If forced into a binary choice between options, 40% support further devolution against 35% who want to leave it as-is, and 24% who say they don’t know.

Coming at that binary from the other side of the debate, 45% would back further devolution over 36% who’d back Independence, leaving 19% unsure.

That puts further devolution in the curious position of being almost nobody’s preferred outcome, but a tolerable middle ground for most.

Similarly, when asked about the concept of a federal UK, just 20% of voters said they would support it (and only 5% strongly), compared to 25% who were opposed (of which 14% feel strongly).

With 27% of people saying they’d neither support or oppose it, and 29% who don’t know, far from being an exciting alternative proposition, voters could hardly be more apathetic about Federalism.

(Image: Ballot Box Scotland)

Prospective Labour governments at both UK and Scottish level therefore have their work cut out for them to try and resolve this constitutional conundrum.

Push forward with more powers for the Scottish Parliament, and risk antagonising the majority of Pro-Union voters who don’t want that.

Fail to do so, and risk antagonising the many Pro-Independence voters the party has won back.

Kick off the kind of substantive, meaningful discussion necessary to build support, and good luck preventing that from growing arms and legs to become just another Independence vs Union flashpoint.

The constitution may not have defined this general election campaign, but it still has the potential to define Labour’s time in office.

They may soon find that beating the SNP this year was only the easy part.