Home > Uncategorized > The Questions That Should Be Asked In The Referendum!

The Questions That Should Be Asked In The Referendum!


The independence referendum is coming in autumn 2014. What everyone is asking is what should the question be? How many questions should be asked? Should a question have multiple options or not? If you have multiple options, what system should be used so that the result is decisive?

I’m going to lay out two possible ways that I would like to see. I do not propose a single Yes/No to independence. Why? I don’t support independence yet I don’t support the status quo so what am I to vote for? How am I to express my views democratically, if I don’t like either option?

One way to solve this is a multi-option referendum like this:

How far should devolution go?

A: Independence

B: Devo Max

C: Devo Plus

D: Status Quo

E: Less Devolution

F: Remove all devolution

Now that allows, a full range of democratic views to be expressed. Of course using FPTP voting would mean that the leading option could “win” with a little over 17% of the vote. Hardly democratic. Although one could use approval voting i.e. the voter ticks or crosses all options s/he finds acceptable and whichever option has the most approvals “wins”. Of course, there is still no absolute proof that one option will exceed a majority but the likelihood is higher.

That being said approval would be brand new and it is not known how many would use the ability to mark other options that they approve of.

The questions that I really want to see asked are:

1. Should Scotland become an independent country?

Yes/No

2. If there is a No vote in 1. should the debate over reform to the settlement of the union continue?

Yes/No

3. If there is a Yes vote in 2. should the debate over reform to the settlement of the union be one solely for the people of Scotland or should the whole of the United Kingdom debate how best to govern these islands together?

Yes/No

Those are the questions, that I would like to see asked. The language would need to be cleaned up. The language I have used is fairly loaded but I think the Electoral Commission could easily clean up the language.

Why those questions, I hear you ask?

The first one is simple, it is after all an independence referendum. It is a straight Yes/No question but the presence of the second question, allows those like me who want reform to vote safe in the knowledge that we can vote No without voting for the status quo and it allows those who want independence to feel secure that even if they don’t get independence, they won’t have killed off the debate.

Those involved with the AV campaign or who followed it will be aware that even though there was a No to AV, Yes to PR campaign, the No result led people to believe that it was a Yes to FPTP when that was not necessarily the case. I do not want a similar no vote to kill off or stall the debate on the union. It is something that needs to be reformed.

The third question relates to how that debate should be conducted. Should Scotland’s future within the UK be solely for Scotland and if it has a negative effect on the rest of the UK, are people in Scotland so uncaring towards England? Or because it affects everyone in the UK, should the whole UK debate, the future of the union and how it should be reformed so that the interests of the whole UK can be served?

If those questions or variants of those questions were to be asked, I would vote and campaign for a No/Yes/Yes vote and I hope the LibDems would too. The SNP, I would expect to campaign for a Yes/Yes/No vote. How Labour and the Conservatives would campaign, I have no idea.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 24, 2012 at 18:57

    Lets keep it all nice and simple, if you want more devo etc, then get the various parties to agree on that , but for this one and only referendum, its simply:

    Should Scotland become an Independent country ?

    • January 24, 2012 at 20:17

      I’m not against simplicity. Its just that I think Scotland should be allowed to give their views on Scotlands constitutional future. Many Scots might not be able to support independence or the status quo.
      Need more choice. The world isn’t black and white. Scotland no doubt has a range of views on this subject, why not let Scotland express that? It gives the parties and the politicians more information to work with.

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