In grasping for ways to thwart the democratic self-determination of the Scottish people, the fundamentalist unionist tendency have already test-driven the 'UK-wide vote' wheeze and the 'two referendums' wheeze, with conspicuously little success on both occasions. It was only a matter of time before someone completed the set by seizing the mantle of George Cunningham and deciding they may as well stop faffing about and just get on with rigging the ballot itself. Dear old friend of this blog, the mysteriously bashful "Braveheart" of Councillor Alex Gallagher fame, had this to say in a recent post -
"It therefore seems unacceptable that the currently effective governance of the country could be overturned by a simple majority of Scots voting in a one-off referendum.
If the turnout at a referendum was at the same level as recent elections, a 51% vote in favour of independence would need the actual votes of less than a third, maybe even a quarter, of the electorate. This is no basis to create a new country. If the referendum is to go ahead there must be a threshold - two-thirds of votes cast or 45% of the electorate, or some similar substantial proportion – that would secure the acquiescence of the minority in the upheaval implied by breaking up the UK."
Two-thirds of the votes cast? I never agreed with George Robertson about much, but I wholeheartedly agreed with him in 1996 when in unveiling the devolution referendum he declared that never again should the will of the people in a constitutional referendum be overturned by a "fancy franchise". What Councillor Gallagher is suggesting is that 66% of people could vote Yes to independence and 34% could vote No, and the result would be ignored. It's a phrase I've used before, but that isn't self-determination, it's a hostage situation.
Incidentally, isn't it curious that Councillor Gallagher, a self-styled "sensible, moderate, fellow, who thinks that the Tories have the wrong recipe for a decent society" is quite happy to enthuse about the status quo of Tory rule from London as "effective governance"? Indeed, he's so sure of himself on the latter point that he arrogantly thinks that even if a majority of Scots take a diametrically opposite view on the "effectiveness" of London Tory governance, their views should be taken no account of whatsoever. It's also worth pointing out that the Welsh Assembly was established after a 50.3% - 49.7% vote in favour, on a turnout of roughly 50% - does Councillor Gallagher think that the current Labour administration in Cardiff Bay is an abhorrence that is getting in the way of "effective" Tory governance from London? I can only assume he must do.