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  By a Newsnet reporter

The Scottish Government will today confirm the wording of the question that will be put to the people of Scotland in the 2014 independence referendum.

According to early media reports, the Scottish electorate will be asked to choose between Yes or No to the question: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"

Final ratification will be made only after the wording is scrutinised by the Electoral Commission, however it is expected that the clarity and lack of ambiguity will see it accepted as fair and clear.

The wording, announced earlier this year, was described by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as “fair and decisive”.  However, other anti-independence politicians have argued that it encourages people to choose Yes.

Voting experts however have challenged this notion and have stressed that there may be small advantages if people are asked the question cold, but with two years of debate then the wording is unlikely to have any significant influence on the result.

Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Labour MP Ian Davidson, has previously called for Westminster to have control over the wording, and has admitted that he would like to see a question that favours the No campaign.

However the Edinburgh Agreement, signed last month, handed complete control over the wording to the Scottish Parliament.

The independence referendum will be held in the Autumn on 2014.

Comments  

 
# Alathia 2012-11-09 08:00
"However the Edinburgh Agreement, signed last month, handed complete control over the wording to the Scottish Parliament."

And that is what counts. No amount of bluster, scaremongering or downright mis-truths by the London Tory-led NO campaign can now change that fact.
 
 
# sword 2012-11-09 08:38
YES!
 
 
# art1001 2012-11-09 08:41
Why not as someone on this site suggested recently :

"Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country AGAIN?"

Factually accurate and reminds the voter of the historical significance and international legitimacy of such a choice as well as giving the unionists more trouble when asking the 'why not Fife or Shetland?' spoiler.
 
 
# gerrydotp 2012-11-09 11:00
+1
gerry p
 
 
# Taysider 2012-11-09 19:40
The Electoral Commission are asking for comment about the proposed question to be sent to them at infoscotland@el ectoralcommissi on.org.uk
with Referendum Question in the subject line ny 30 Nov 12.

Why not propose this modification to the question?
 
 
# theycantbeserious 2012-11-09 09:28
Do you wish to continue shackled and under the tyrannical wasteminster establishment, being deprived of your countries natural wealth whilst being forced to go cap in hand for monies you have already paid for...a wasteminster that views global domination and weapons of mass destruction as priority before your social welfare? This is the alternative question?
 
 
# fred56 2012-11-09 09:54
No matter what the question is, they will say it is loaded, If they are so sure of a no vote, why are they so worried about the question, I think they have every right to be worried as their performance to date has done nothing to advance their cause, the name Judas comes to mind. We know what happened to him.
 
 
# Massacre1965 2012-11-09 10:28
On GMS around 8.15 there were a couple of experts who said the question was fair and fine, no problem. The BBC interviewer appeared to try and ask every possible question that could find fault with the SG question but to no avail - both the interviewees were quite resolute that all was above board. ha ha - we'll no hear from them again!!
 
 
# fynesider 2012-11-09 10:43
"we'll no hear from them again!!"

You reckon..?
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-09 11:13
Fu Manchu : NS is not but 'the world will hear from her again'

Looks like the question is settled then as the SG have got their point in first and waits for the commission to reply!
 
 
# G. P. Walrus 2012-11-09 14:58
NS?

Do you mean Nicola Sturgeon or Nayland Smith, Fu Manchu's nemesis?
 
 
# Galen10 2012-11-09 10:48
The "unfair question" narrative has no mileage in it, much like the EU legal advice non-story, etc. The question is straightforward . Unionists would put forward an equally "loaded" question if they could. Ian Davidson admitted as much in his intemperate rant against the BBC a few weeks ago.

The question format is very similar to that used in the previous referendum on re-establishing the Scottish parliament and there is little doubt that any reasonable independent analysis will agree the current wording is acceptable.

The Scottish people are not daft... they KNOW what they will be voting for, and there are 2 years of debate for the opposing sides to put out their stalls.
 
 
# fynesider 2012-11-09 11:04
"..there is little doubt that any reasonable independent analysis will agree the current wording is acceptable. "

Presume you mean

"..there is little doubt that any reasonable independent analysis will agree the current wording is NOT acceptable."
 
 
# Galen10 2012-11-09 12:49
No, or that's what I would have said!

For all the bluster of the unionist parties, their case is in my view fatally weakened by the fact that the question proposed for 2014 uses the same construction as that used in the previous referendum.
 
 
# nemo 2012-11-09 15:30
Well, that doesn't mean the currently proposed question isn't biased - only that previous questions might also have been biased. The currently proposed question IS biased - and I say that as an ardent supporter of the Yes campaign. It's called acquiescence bias - the work of e.g. Krosnick at Stanford uni explains more about this. However, biases work when one isn't terribly certain of the correct response - and Galen10 might have hit on the important point that this isn't a street survey - the population will hopefully be well informed and pro-actively go to the polling booth with a position already determined. Though to play devil's advocate again, they would also do so if the question was entirely neutral. If the electoral commission state that the question is biased and cite the appropriate evidence then I hope the SG will take heed, as I want independence to be gained fairly with no accusation of fiddling the referendum.
 
 
# chicmac 2012-11-09 19:07
But we are not dealing with rational, fair-minded people here. There will always be an accusation of fiddling the referendum. Look at Davidson's ridiculous accusation that the BBC were biased in favour of independence.

Also, the point that respondents treat street polls differently has been made here many times.

It is one thing to register an objection to some relatively minor issue, like the wording of the question, in a poll that means nothing and which gets taken regularly, but quite another when it is a real, meaningful, plebiscite which you will only ever get one chance to exercise.
 
 
# nemo 2012-11-09 20:06
But we are not dealing with rational, fair-minded people here.
Agreed
There will always be an accusation of fiddling the referendum.
Yes - but why hand them ammunition on a plate by having a question that displays a well-known and empirically validated bias?

Also, the point that respondents treat street polls differently has been made here many times.
I am not aware of the rule that all members must have read all previous posts on every topic. And my point was not really about street polls per se but rather the circumstances in which biases might operate.

It is one thing to register an objection to some relatively minor issue, like the wording of the question,
Depends what you classify as 'minor' - I'd say a biased question in a plebiscite is not minor.
 
 
# Galen10 2012-11-10 15:06
Nemo, your premise is bunkum! The question itself aligns closely with that used for the re-establishment of the Holyrood parliament. The effect of any acquiescence bias is likely to be trifling, in as much as over the next 24 months no sentient voter will be in any doubt about what the concomitants of a yes or no vote are. The SAC chair at Westminster is already on record as saying they would have tried to table a question biased in the other other direction. The question is clear and st8forward, unlike those in other referenda (Quebec anyone?) which contributed to their failure to secure a yes vote.
 
 
# nemo 2012-11-12 16:29
Galen, your arguments (question already been used, unionists would try for a biased question of their own, question is clear, while they may be true, are irrelevant to the fact that the SG's question would be prone to acquiescence bias.
Where we agree is that the question *should* not lead to this sort of bias in as much as everyone should have made up their mind based on the evidence.
However, that needs to be argued for, not just that the question isn't biased - because it patently is.
 
 
# Seagetagrip 2012-11-09 11:19
I agree with Art1001.

Adding "Again" is factually correct and raises the correct questions in the minds of the uninformed. Anyway, it is in the song" And be a Nation AGAIN"

Sounds pretty good to me.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-11-09 11:22
OT.Sir Ian Wood until recently of the Wood Group Oil Services:-
"My headline message for the youth of today - get involved. The North Sea oil industry will see you through your lifetime."
Sounds good news for Scotland's oil.
From BBC web page:-
bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# km 2012-11-09 18:27
Thanks for the link. Is Sir Ian Wood saying in a roundabout way that if the oil and gas ran out today, there would be no legacy to speak of? That would be a sad indictment of UK government to date.
 
 
# balgayboy 2012-11-09 11:46
The wording of question is good enough for the people of Scotland to understand.. and also for them to choose to vote yes or no..it's their choice. No need to work the oracle on a simple question and decision. By the time 2014 comes around the people of Scotland will know where to place their choice...the bitter together campaign will have shot their bolt long before then as they are presently doing such a grand job at it now.
 
 
# Cruachan 2012-11-09 11:54
If it were up to me, I'd be asking:

"Should the Scottish Parliament have full sovereign powers restored?"

Scotland is already a recognised country, if not an independent one, but the whole issue is about which parliament holds sovereign power over Scotland's assets.
 
 
# tarbat 2012-11-09 13:03
1. Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country.

OR

2. Do you want Scotland to remain part of the UK with no additional powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
 
 
# 1314 2012-11-09 13:20
Do you agree that Scotland should become an indy country? - might as well go the whole hog in reducing the discussion to playground level.

Does anybody know the origin of this pathetic substitute for that truly fine word -

Independence
 
 
# chicmac 2012-11-09 15:44
Don't know, its been on the go for years, long before #indyref etc.

For 'Independence First' (about 6 years ago) we used the following character which implies it:

i51.photobucket.com/.../...

I agree 'independence' is a very fine word. But should the U-pack object to a Yes answer to the question being positive in favour of the independence side I would be more than willing to use its antonym as follows:

Do you agree that Scotland should continue with its dependence on the UK?

Or alternatively, to avoid YES or NO answers.

Which national status would you prefer for Scotland, Independence? or Dependence?
 
 
# bringiton 2012-11-09 20:09
Chicmac,this is exactly what we need people to think about.
The certainty of dependence or the less certain possibilities of independence.
People need to decide whether being dependent on a guaranteed diminishing income from Westminster is preferable to an uncertain but more likely better future where we manage our own income and expenditure.
We will make screw ups but that is infinitely preferable to being subjected to those made by others who are not accountable to a Scottish electorate and do not have our interest at heart.
 
 
# exel 2012-11-09 13:59
Now all we need is an explanation of the PROCESS.

A majority YES vote starts a new process.

Or are we going to get a declaration of Independence.
 
 
# Galen10 2012-11-09 14:29
I'd expect the current SG to lay out their stall post a yes vote in 2014, as would other parties, for the policies which would be enacted post Holyrood elections.

In the meantime the current SG would presumably begin the necessary discussions for the establishment of the necessary independent institutions, and the terms of the divorce, as well as what happens WRT to Scottish MP's at Westminster post 2015 election.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-11-09 14:02
We had the head of the EC on the BBC Scotland lunchtime news saying that the question had to be clear and unambiguous.

Could we have a list of the members of the EC, with their previous history, including previous or present political affiliations, so that the public can have clear and unambiguous confidence on their activities please?
 
 
# Old Smokey 2012-11-09 15:02
 
 
# J Wil 2012-11-09 19:21
Thanks. I have had a look a that already but its short on facts.
 
 
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-09 15:10
Its not April Fools Day but read this and weep with laughter

scotsman.com/.../...

And Darling is meant to be the intellectual giant of NO campaign.

I know he is only speaking to Prestonpans Labour Club but even they must be embarrassed.
 
 
# Old Smokey 2012-11-09 15:52
Quite breathtaking in its cringe factor.
The corkers are :
'British music will no longer be ours'
Does he mean music by English musicians or any music produced anywhere in the British Isles? Seems to forget that music is quite universal and that music from Scottish musicians is recognised the world over.
'relative of Scots in other parts of the UK ‘would become foreigners’'
So I wonder if the people of Norway and Sweden, 2 independent countries within Scandanavia, considers any family that they have in each others counties as 'foreign'?
 
 
# rapid 2012-11-09 17:51
When I travel with work, I'm made to feel so welcome by colleagues in Dublin - I love going there. Monday morning I'll be in London, there's no where else on earth that I feel like a foreigner - even though I had a flat there for 10 years.

Even English friends felt like foreigners there...
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-11-09 15:27
J Will. You won't get that. It is 'comforting' that the bitter together lot want the EC to be an active part in the referendum. The SNP have gone along with that.
Fair enough, but I still have my doubts about impartiality.
Think we should now call on the Scots government to call the bluff of the No Campaign and bring in the Council of Europe and the OSCE to supervise the whole referendum process and that would include an oversight role into the activities of the EC.
Once that was secured we can forget all about conspiracy theories and what the EC might or might not be up to. Matter would be out of our hands and safely in the OSCE's.
No-one, not even Westminster could possibly have a problem with that, now could they ?.
 
 
# 1314 2012-11-09 23:00
I agree Upspake about the need for independent oversight.

My reply to the consultation -

I do not approve of the involvement of the Electoral Commission. The referendum should be overseen by an independent International Commission.

A truly independent body would be hard to come by, and I don't have sufficient knowledge of the OSCE to be sure of their impartiality, but they must at least be a step up from the UK government appointed EC (the fact that they will 'report to the Scottish Government' cuts no ice).
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-09 15:42
O/T

North Lanarkshire Council were accused of saddling a generation of taxpayers with a “damaging legacy” by entering into a 31-year Private Finance Initiative to build 24 schools.

The council made their first payment in 2006-7 and will have paid the £150million capital cost by 2016-2017.

Taxpayers will not be free of the debt until 2036-37.

The figures were uncovered by MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Jamie Hepburn.

Hepburn said he had been shocked to learn the scale of the bill. “This ill-conceived scheme will take a generation to pay off.”


dailyrecord.co.uk/.../...
------------------------------------------

Now that story relates to the Labour PFI method ( schools on the never-never) but if you glance at the bit in the paper with the photograph you might just blame it on the SNP . . unless you actually read it through.
 
 
# xyz 2012-11-09 16:01
Disgraceful article from the daily record. No mention of the ..

villains of the piece: LABOUR!

and no mention of Jamie Hepburn being SNP .. Even the photo is inappropriate ..

Treacherous unionists at the Daily record!
 
 
# chicmac 2012-11-09 18:51
Absolutely. The SNP Government got dog's abuse for cancelling and preventing PFI projects but rather than congratulate them for reducing Scotland's exposure, compared to what it might otherwise have been, they are happy to let the SNP carry the can for the Lib-Lab Legacy the Government couldn't prevent.

Shameless!
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-09 16:51
Darlings speech (if you are interested)
It's today sometime?



bettertogether.net/.../...
 
 
# Piemonteis 2012-11-09 17:04
Surely, upon independence, Scots living abroad would become ex-pats, not foreigners.

In any case, I would like to think that the Scottish population is not intrinsically xenophobic and will not be afraid/horrified at their friends and relatives becoming "foreign".

As far as music is concerned, I didn't realize that to celebrate a band or artist, they had to be from your own country. I'll now be burning my Abba vinyls and Justin Bieber MP3s.
 
 
# proudscot 2012-11-09 17:03
Does the leader of the anti-Scotland, pro-UK cabal, Alistair Darling, really think we Scots are so thick that we can't understand the straightforward , simple referendum question proposed by the SNP Government?

To answer my own question, of course he doesn't. He is just mischief making, Trying to bog us down in procedural nonsense, in order to distract us from the hard facts on both sides of the debate - mainly because the pro-UK case is mainly based on meaningless slogans such as "stronger together", "you'll need a passport to visit your granny in Yorkshire", or "Scotland punches above its weight in the UN", etc. etc.

Consider the likes of Jim Murphy; Danny and Dougie Alexander; Ian Davidson; Maggie Curran; Michael Moore; George Foulkes; Michael Forsyth; Alistair Darling; et al, and no matter what the wording of the question ends up, for our nation's sake, vote YES for independence, and rid us of this parcel of rogues!
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-09 19:32
More trouble for the BBC
Newsnight: Lord Mc A innocent mistaken identity!
North Wales where is that.


Nothing to see here move along.
 
 
# bringiton 2012-11-09 20:41
If Darling truly believes that we are better together as a bigger "state" then why have he and his pals not been pushing hard for further European integration in the past.
They haven't done that either because they really don't believe in it or probably because the voters in England would have shown them the door.
With the political parties in England now adopting a position of retreating from co-operation with the rest of Europe,Little England is becoming increasingly all that they focus on.
He is now arguing from a position of us taking a chance on Little England being the best bet for our future.
I think not.
 
 
# exel 2012-11-09 19:39
Galen10 2012-11-09 14:29
“I'd expect the current SG to lay out their stall post a yes vote in 2014, as would other parties, for the policies which would be enacted post Holyrood elections.”

Are we to take from this post that all this electioneering going on now is for the 2016 election?

“In the meantime the current SG would presumably begin the necessary discussions for the establishment of the necessary independent institutions, and the terms of the divorce, as well as what happens WRT to Scottish MP's at Westminster post 2015 election.”

You say in the meantime, let’s be clear, between 2014 and 2016 the SNP will be negotiating secession, establishing Scottish institutions and analyzing the effect of having all those extra party sycophants milling around in Scotland without a job. In the meantime the people of Scotland will be involved in all this: how?
 
 
# Galen10 2012-11-09 21:44
No, the "electioneering" is to secure a Yes in 2014; it isn't only about the political parties, but it's naive to think those parties or individuals within aren't looking fwd to 2016, even if they deny it now.

Yes, the SNP will be doing it; who else do you suggest does it? They are the SG until the next election, unless you expect them to call a snap election the day after securing a Yes in 2014?
 
 
# J Wil 2012-11-09 19:39
@Call me Dave said:

"More trouble for the BBC"



Tom Watson said, "...the pushback has started..."

I think we all know what he means and it must not be allowed to happen.
 
 
# robbo 2012-11-09 19:52
Tbh i do think the question is a touch loaded. I don't think on the day it will matter though. I doubt a unionist will suddenly change his mind in the booth because of the wording of the question. Maybe it could swing it 1 or 2 percent but that's unlikely to be decisive.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-11-10 06:37
robbo

“ Tbh i do think the question is a touch loaded. I don't think on the day it will matter though. I doubt a unionist will suddenly change his mind in the booth because of the wording of the question. Maybe it could swing it 1 or 2 percent but that's unlikely to be decisive. “

Aye robbo, I agree:

www.youtube.com/.../
.
 
 
# Independista 2012-11-10 14:49
Here is my suggestion!

Vote Yes. Get independence.
Vote NO. Get nothing
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-11 21:33
Scottish independence: SNP accused of ‘cautious approach’ to referendum

In a blunt assessment of 
the Yes campaign, the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) has warned that the approach so far has “demotivated and angered” cross-party supporters of constitutional change by making independence appear to be a “series of major problems”.

The SIC paper suggests that instead of trying to answer specific questions about how a post-independence Scotland would work, the Yes campaign should concentrate on setting out a framework under which unresolved issues will be dealt with after the vote.

scotsman.com/.../...

-----------------------------------------
 
 
# m4rkyboy 2012-11-11 21:49
.../a_model_for_guiding_constitutional_change.pdf

I agree with the paper.It is a welcome intervention in the campaign and should be a wake up call for the SNP acolytes who have turned the debate into a partisan matter which risks alienating parts of the country.
Things like EU membership are considered a given post-independence due to the conflation of the SNP and the campaign and are used to attack the movement and scare people.
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-11-11 22:23
I'm sorry but some people here are swallowing the NO campaign bilge.
The YES campaign allows all manner of peoples and organisations to hold different views on what should happen after independence yet campaign jointly for that indpendence so I can't see a problem except that the other bodies in the YES campaign haven't achieved a high enough profile yet
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-11-12 14:51
Can't resist putting up this Blair Jenkins snippet! Says it all really.
Inspiring.
YesScotland.
Sorree Mods.

'Would you vote for Scotland to join the Union?'
www.youtube.com/.../
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-12 16:23
Compared to the 'Flipper's' Preston Pans speech it was short,sweet and made the case for independence crystal clear.

'Would you vote for Scotland to join the Union?'

No brainer!
@;)
 
 
# rgi50 2012-11-12 18:42
Should be a simple question Independence or Dependency which would you prefer for Scotland.
 

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