Should Scotland Be an Independent Country?


By Mike Small

The framing of discussion in the public eye is as important if not more important than the content itself. So today we have the Scotsman and other media outlining how the ‘SNP will have to accept defeat‘ on a matter they’ve been painstakingly clear about accepting for months, on an issue that is of far less importance than made out and for an outcome that many (if not all) on the Yes side will be delighted about. So the question is to shift from:

“Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”


“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Bring it on. I think the questions fair, clear and easily answered. If that is indeed the way it’s settled. The Electoral Commission is hardly the independent body it’s made out to be but it matters not.
Like the Edinburgh Agreement in which the Scottish Government suffered a most terrible defeat succumbing to all demands whilst simultaneously gaining control of the entire process at the time they wished, and with the voters they wished, today may indeed turn out to be just such a calamity.

If that is how it turns out it may be a crowing victory for the Unionist coalition, but it’s likely to be an empty one. The victory will be much celebrated by NO and the media, who will have successfully re-framed the process as a way of catching out that wily-old fox Salmond with his cunning underhand landslide and his deceptive reasonableness. But the victory will belong to Yes, who will have secured a question that is most easily answered by a majority of citizens because it is self-evident.

You don’t have to be a nationalist of any persuasion to answer this question ‘Yes’.

Categories: Referendum on Independence


17 replies

  1. Those that make it to the polls to vote will have no trouble with either of these questions.
    The fact that there is aquestion to be asked is the victory secured by the Scottish Government.

  2. Oh dear, and here’s me thinking the Yes Scotland campaign were going to have to change their name and junk all their posters and literature.

  3. Why YES, yes we should!

    I’ve got no problem with it. It may just be a natural stubborn streak which is urging me to hope Holyrood kicks it into touch. Basically we’ll take your ‘impartial’ input under advisement kind of thing, but on the surface nope that question has a fairly obvious answer too.

  4. I think its fair enough but I do also wonder if it is the best question that could have been asked in either case.

    It is more existential than political. There is some evidence of a gap in the understanding of many people that what is being asked is an ontological abstraction instead of a practical question about all political power being exercised at the the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

    Voters need a clear, concrete and identifiable image to affirm or deny, not something which means different things to different people.

  5. So the question’s now confirmed, and as I suggsted there’s desperate spin, this from BT:

    “Better Together ‏@UK_Together

    Victory for #bettertogether campaigners as nationalists finally agree to Electoral Commission question/rules.Thanks to 1000s who campaigned.”

  6. So now we know how stupid they think we are,we are not able to just simply agree or not agree.Much ado about nothing methinks!

  7. I was personally uncomfortable with that “Do you agree” in the question because it shifted the focus of the question from what the individual thinks to how the individual relates what they think to what other people think (or what they think other people think, if you get my drift). The EC’s suggestion is the right one; the Scottish Government would be stubborn and stupid indeed (though they have form in that area) not to go with that question in its White Paper. Not least because ignoring the EC would give an increasingly desperate ‘No’ campaign more muck to fling.

  8. Hmmm, a straight yes/no referendum that asks if I think Scotland should be an independent country. Damn those cunning unionists for forcing the Scottish Government not give me exactly what I wanted in the first place!

    The thing I’m most interested in is the EC’s recommendation that the two governments work together to set out factual information about how the process of becoming independent would work in practice. The Scottish Government already want to do this – will the unionists now stick to their word and follow the “ruling” of the EC, who they’ve never tired of telling us should be “the referee”?

  9. Having tremendous fun over on Guardian CiF:

    Of course no mention of the fate or reaction to ‘better no’s’ rejected question. I do believe Mr Carrell was expecting a different reaction from independence supporters with this piece. He’ll be awfy disappointed. :D

  10. I am nonplussed about the recommended change to the question. The media’s proclamation of victory for the No campaign over the question is very surreal.

  11. Should Scotland be an independent country?, Well YES it most certainly should and who could logically say otherwise, I am more than happy with that question so roll on 2014

  12. Its a fair question. The stooshie over the wording will be forgotten within weeks. The main thing is that we’re the Yes campaign and they’re No.


  13. Some of them are still whinging… :-)

    “This isn’t just bad politics; it’s polling methodology so bad that it verges on the dishonest. If the British Government allows this question to go forward, it deserves to lose.”


  14. You’d think these people had never heard of Hegelian dialectic reasoning.

  15. From one simple question, to an even simpler question which has only one sensible answer. I think that’s definitely a defeat for Bitter Thegither.

  16. If this is a defeat for the Yes side then I look forward to many more defeats to come.

    The No side employ so much spin I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the event of a Yes vote in the actual referendum, they try to portray independence as a defeat for the Scottish Government and the Yes campaign.

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