So our old friend "TSE", Deputy Editor of Stormfront Lite and the man who famously once made up a story about a family tragedy to avoid settling a private bet, thinks he's had another wizard idea.
"Perhaps this explains why Yes did so well in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum. In any future Independence referendum the Unionists should ensure the question on the ballot paper is ‘Should Scotland remain a member of the United Kingdom?’ Yes or No."
It's no secret that some unionists are angling for something like that to happen, and Stephen Daisley has already gone into propagandist mode by taking it as read that their scheme will succeed - in his articles he casually refers to the No side in any future indyref as "the Remain side". But to some extent they're whistling in the wind. Whatever doubts there may be about the impartiality of the Electoral Commission (and for the first time I'm starting to share those doubts), the chances that a question based on a false premise will be endorsed are vanishingly small, and TSE's preferred question is undoubtedly based on a false premise.
Scotland is not a "member" of the United Kingdom. That is not a matter of interpretation, it's a matter of fact. The UK is not an organisation with members in the way that the European Union is. Notwithstanding devolution, the UK is a unitary state and the territory of Scotland is simply a part of it. You cannot rescind membership that does not exist.
OK, you might say, surely TSE's question would work with a slight modification? How about...
"Should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom? Yes or No."
Nope, that doesn't work either, because it doesn't tell you anything about what will happen if and when Scotland ceases to be part of the United Kingdom. Does it become part of another existing state? Does it become a Crown Dependency outside the UK like Guernsey? Does it become a freely associated state like the Cook Islands? Or does it become an independent country? It's not clear from the question, and the one thing the Electoral Commission are bound to insist on is clarity. Frustrating as it may be for the Daisleys of this world, a referendum question about independence will self-evidently have to actually mention the word 'independence' or 'independent'.
Which takes us back to the 2014 question - "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Short, succinct, crystal-clear and understood by all. The Electoral Commission suggested it for a very good reason, and they're going to need to dream up a very good excuse if they intend to muck about it with it.