Labour MSPs often complain that indyref2 dominates Scottish politics to the detriment of everything else.
The irony of their latest leadership contest is that the question of a referendum looks likely to be a key issue in the contest.
Anas Sarwar, the Glasgow MSP who lost to Richard Leonard in 2017, is staunchly anti-SNP and opposed to a referendum.
If leader, he will rule out supporting indyref2 for the duration of the next term and will not help Nicola Sturgeon when Boris Johnson refuses to transfer the power to Holyrood.
Sarwar’s strategy appears to be based on holding out in the hope that Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister in the medium term and changes the dynamic of Scottish politics.
His rival for the top job, health spokeswoman Monica Lennon, has a different view to Sarwar on approaching indyref2.
In December 2019, she said: “If Boris Johnson isn’t prepared to grant this request, he should allow the Scottish Parliament to decide.
“The future of Scotland must be decided by the people of Scotland.”
Lennon believes Holyrood, not Westminster, should have the final say on indyref2. This puts the power into the hands of the Scottish people.
However, given the state of the opinion polls for Holyrood, this would inevitably lead to another referendum.
Sarwar’s view is more in line with party veterans and activists who shudder at the prospect of another vote on the constitution.
They loathed the experience of the first referendum, believing it divided Scotland and destroyed Labour.
Lennon’s stance will find more support among younger Labour members and in the wider trade union movement.
Roz Foyer, the STUC general secretary, said recently: “If a majority of the population support a second referendum and if they elect a majority of pro-independence MSPs then the case for agreeing to a second referendum will become unanswerable.”
The battle to become Labour’s tenth leader in the devolved era will confirm the centrality of indyref2 to Scottish political life.