Hot on the heels of Willie Rennie forcing the SNP to admit yesterday that, under their plans, even if independence was the second most popular option, it could be counted as the winner in the Referendum, Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University has expressed similar concerns.
Speaking in the Times (£), he says that:
“In 1997 the two questions were clearly linked,” he said. “The questions in the independence referendum would be in competition with each other, which would create an obvious problem.”
“They are interpreting this as people voting for devo-max as their second preference but that can’t be assumed unless you have a preferential voting system, which is not the plan.”Speaking in response to Professor Curtice's comments, Willie Rennie said:
“It’s time the SNP abandoned the smoke and mirrors and explained how they can possibly justify how a tiny majority for independence could trump a landslide for DevoMax.From what Professor Curtice is saying, any multi option referendum without a preferential voting system has the potential to have a dubious outcome. It's not for the SNP to make assumptions as to what people intended when they voted. There needs to be no doubt whatsoever.
“Yesterday the SNP admitted the flaw in their plan but refused to change course.
“This creates an obvious problem, clear to everyone else. The SNP do not seem to grasp that Independence and Devolution Max are two separate stand-alone propositions unlike the 1997 Scottish Parliament Referendum. “This needs urgent attention from the First Minister. “It’s starting …to fall apart.”
If we have to do this, and we do, I would really rather we included a Devo Max option. I don't want to be lumped in with Labour and the Tories on a straight yes/no option to independence because I have totally different views about governance to them. I want to see Scotland raising and spending its own budget on its own domestic policies. but as part of a federal UK. I don't want the reactionaries in Labour and the Tories to interpret a no vote in a referendum erroneously, and assume that Scots aren't interested in further constitutional change. I think that a significant majority of Scots want to go a lot further than the Scotland Bill. Although polls show growing support for independence, we aren't close to majority territory for that yet and most people haven't made up their minds. The important thing is that Labour and the Tories must not be allowed to suppress our future ambitions.