Saturday, December 5, 2009

The remaining question

Well, perhaps I'll indulge in one more brief return to Chekov-watch, since the 'Three Thousand Versts' blogger has returned to the issue of Scottish nationalism. He, refreshingly, does not dismiss the idea of letting the Scottish people decide their own future out of hand, but rehearses the usual spurious objections about timing, 'rigged questions', etc. Once again, is it too much to point out that complaining about the principle of a multi-option referendum is a touch peculiar given that a single-option referendum is the SNP's clearly stated preference, and the multi-option vote is merely a proposed compromise?

Chekov's own suggestion for a 'clear, unambiguous, definitive' question is "Do you wish Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom?". This is at least an improvement on the standard proposal for a 'neutral' question from the likes of Alan Cochrane, ie. "Do you think Scotland should become completely separate from the rest of the United Kingdom?". But I think Chekov really needs to explain why the simple question "do you think Scotland should become an independent country?" is any less 'clear, unambiguous or definitive' than his own suggestion. The idea that anyone does not realise that independence would entail leaving the UK is risible - and if anyone is going to argue that case, I could just as easily make the point that Chekov's question is absolutely not unambiguous, because 'leaving the UK' could in the literal sense imply joining another country (Norway for instance?) every bit as much as it could imply becoming an independent state.

Final thought - what does it say about a self-styled 'liberal unionist' when he finds himself in so much agreement with Alan Cochrane? Cochrane is a unionist, certainly...

1 comment:

  1. good comment - but whether its checkov, iain gray or tavish scott the unionists are all over the place on this. We can have a referendum, but not yet, and then only if WE - the people that dont want one now - can pick the question.

    A referendumm in the middle of an economic crisis would be a distraction, unless it is (a) In wales ( b) About the alternative vote - an idea pulled out a brown paper bag by GB two month ago or (c) Europe - if you are a tory.

    But a referendum on independence - a ridiculous idea. That's unless we change our minds again, and then it will be on "separating from the UK"