We’re bored of the “debate” about a second question in the independence referendum. The facts are plain and beyond any sensible dispute:
(a) the SNP has a majority government, and therefore a legitimate democratic mandate to conduct the business of government – including the referendum – any way it wants.
(b) The party’s 2011 election manifesto promised a referendum – it did NOT, contrary to the No camp’s constant assertions, specifically promise a single-question one. (A lie the media bizarrely never challenges.)
(c) All referenda in the United Kingdom are advisory rather than legally binding, so the reservation of the constitution to Westminster under the Scotland Act is therefore irrelevant, and
(d) …is in any event over-ridden by the universal principle of self-determination enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Declaration Of Human Rights.
So that’s that. This blog, however, neither supports a two-question referendum nor believes for a moment that there will be one. As we’ve said numerous times, Alex Salmond has manoeuvered the Unionist parties onto the ground they instinctively want to occupy anyway – that of denying the people of Scotland the right to select their preferred form of government from the full range of choices – and has neither the desire nor the intention to actually put a second question on the ballot paper, which would all but guarantee the failure of the goal for which he has worked his entire adult life.
But more than that, a two-question referendum is unacceptable no matter which side you’re on. If we’re discounting the simple and reasonable “Yes-Yes” formula of the 1999 devolution referendum – as it appears we must on the grounds of Willie Rennie’s mendacious and disingenuous “51% rule” – and insisting on either-or voting, then the only legitimate number of questions for the referendum is either one or three.
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