To my ears, 2012 is a fantastic, futuristic,far-off place, populated with daleks and space odysseys. But the future is now, and like all good science fiction, this prediction is probably as preposterous and as far-fetched as its title suggests, but with that tiny grain of truth that makes it plausible.

Unlike the poor badgers, the death of the cybernat this year won’t be as a consequence of a cull. More accurate would be to say this year will see the demise of the stereotype negative cybernat. But that would make a more boring, less Doctor Who-esque post title. Nationalists and independence supporters will continue to dominate Scottish politics’ digital sphere. They’ll just do so in a relentlessly positive fashion.

To win in politics needs professionalism and edge. Professionalism in standing good, able candidates, in communicating your message to voters and in calculating your strategy and tactics to defeat your opponent. The experience of 2007 and 2011 demonstrates the SNP has this in spades, while every sudden unexpected Subway sandwich stop and rolling news headline crash of Scottish Labour demonstrates otherwise. No doubt the 2012 Local Government elections will continue to demonstrate this trend in results in May.

Edge is harder to define. It’s the magic ingredient in any election which decides a winner between two even candidates. Even taking the above, for all the SNP’s success, to most voters there is little in terms of policy, or outlook, or local representation, to separate most SNP candidates from most Labour candidates. It comes down to which party has the edge, the slight nose in front of the other, to give it the win.

Political parties try to win the edge off the other by framing the debate on their own terms and then amplifying their message within the frame. The simplest and often most effective way to do this is to go negative. In Scottish terms, it helped Labour claw back to within one seat of the SNP in 2007, but wasn’t a stratagem it could employ in 2011 after lifting the SNP’s manifesto.

The harder, but in the long run more effective, way to gain an edge is to go positive and stay positive. And this is where our beloved negative nasty cybernats will disappear, as a sacrifice for the good of the independence referendum.

The referendum won’t be in 2012, but the SNP’s campaign, given Scotland Forward‘s launch, is already in action. Compared to referendums, elections are a piece of the proverbial to win – I jest, but if you turn up, look and sound good to enough voters, don’t do anything stupid and spend wisely you’re most of the way there.

To win a referendum, however, requires a paradigm shift in people’s minds, an act of persuasion so big and inspiring they become willing to rewrite the base codes of how they live and are governed. Much easier to be on the side of No, where I suspect Labour will entrench itself,  where you simply have to tell people such a shift cannot be done, for positive and negative reasons, although I also suspect the latter will dominate.

But one way the independence movement can persuade people of the need for this this shift is through relentless positivity. If the transition from devolved Scotland to independent Scotland is associated with positive words like fortunate, blessed, diverse, beauty, unique, rich, colourful, potential (and all these words are just from Alex Salmond’s first paragraph of the introduction to ‘Your Scotland, Your Future’), then the paradigm shift won’t seem so big and scary, and the unionist side’s claims won’t ring so true.

I’d be shocked if several copies of George Lakoff’s ‘Don’t Think of an Elephant’ weren’t knocking about Gordon Lamb House, which explains in beautiful detail why this might just work for the Nationalists. The positive frame is where the SNP need to keep the independence debate to have a chance of winning, and the opposition haven’t yet managed to steer them off it. And this relentless positivity won’t just be from parliamentarians, but from party members, both online and offline. There will of course be outliers, but the SNP’s professionalism as it operates towards achieving its ultimate cause will ensure it amongst its membership.

So farewell cybernats. Given Scottish Labour’s new Twitter Tsar, negative digital discussion has probably just moved across to the other side of Scottish politics, but I look forward to editing your relentlessly positive commenting below and in the future. Remember, after all, a referendum is at stake..