Scottish independence: Referendum question to be tested

The Scottish government's proposed referendum question will be
scrutinised by the Electoral Commission IMAGE: STOCKPIX.EU

Scottish independence: Referendum question to be tested

The Scottish government has confirmed the wording of the question which it intends to ask Scottish voters in the 2014 independence referendum. Scots will be asked to respond either "yes" or "no" to the question: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"

The Electoral Commission will now test the intelligibility of the Scottish government's proposed question. Critics argue that the question leads respondents to answer in the positive and would prefer if the it asks "Do you agree or disagree that Scotland should be an independent country?". The inclusion of the word 'disagree' is considered by some experts to be more balanced.

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However it emerged today that constitutional expert Dr Matt Qvortrup, who was previously invited by Unionist parties to join a panel looking into the referendum question, said: “I think the question is quite clear”.

Mr Qvortrup was joined on BBC Radio Scotland this morning by political analyst Dr Peter Lynch in welcoming the question and the testing of its robustness.

Stewart Maxwell MSP, a member of the Referendum Bill Committee welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement and the experts’ analysis, saying:

"This is another positive step in Scotland’s journey towards the referendum in 2014, and towards independence itself.  In addition, the endorsement and confidence shown by Dr Matt Qvortrup and Dr Peter Lynch reinforces the clarity and balance of the question. Dr Qvortrup was, of course, a member of the commission established by the anti-independence parties to consider the referendum question, so his endorsement of its clarity is particularly welcome.

"The Electoral Commission will rightly test the question for intelligibility and advise - and as Dr Lynch says the decision will be made by Scottish Parliament which has the mandate to deliver the referendum. That is the same process followed by Westminster for referendums it is responsible for, and is a great step forward for Scottish democracy and the right of the people to choose Scotland's future."

Labour For Independence to hold first conference

The first Labour For Independence conference will be held in Glasgow on Monday. Speakers will include Dennis Canavan, Blair Jenkins, trade-unionist Tommy Brennan, Dr John MacDonald, Jeane Freeman, Allan Grogan and Deacan Blue singer Ricky Ross.

The conference will be held at Glasgow Caledonian University on Monday (Nov 12) at 7.30pm.



Scottish News News Scotland

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commented 2012-11-12 08:28:12 +0000 · Flag
Hi Jim, I guess we should have been clearer in the article. There would be no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ simply ticking ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’. This is not uncommon practice and in my own view would be fairer but in the end it doesn’t make that much of a difference really.
commented 2012-11-12 08:01:24 +0000 · Flag
Agree or disagree? Answer yes. To which?

Yes, I agree. Or: Yes, I disagree. Take your pick.

People who come up with arguments like this are really scraping the barrel.
commented 2012-11-12 00:06:37 +0000 · Flag
The propensity of some interested parties to ‘fix" elections – and referendum results – in Scotland is pretty well known. Because of this, regardless of who carries out the organisation of the Referendum, it should be supervised and monitored by Europe’s largest institution, the 56-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe twice the size of the EU).

It was the OSCE that ended the Cold War and disarmed Europe, and it remains a crucial diplomatic actor in many trouble spots. To date the OSCE Parliament in Copenhagen has monitored more than 130 national elections and referendums using over 30,000 diplomatic observers, in order to ensure fairness and objectivity. Calling in the OSCE is the obvious course to take in order to obviate any claims of imbalance or lack of objectivity.
published this page in News 2012-11-09 16:23:05 +0000