Not content with reaping the ill-gotten gains of the iniquitous first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting arrangements for Westminster (if they were iniquitous when Labour was the beneficiary, they are still iniquitous), Alex Salmond is now gaming the voting arrangements for Holyrood.
The legitimacy of a parliament’s policies derives from putting policy undertakings into the winning parties’ manifestos before the election, not from getting a simple majority of votes cast on an abstract idea – for which our voting arrangements are not designed – in a referendum.
The UK is not a membership club like the EU, where there is the Article 50 lever to pull which starts a prescribed withdrawal process. In this case every move has to go through the courts and parliaments, with no prescribed process.
If a referendum were to be won by the separatists, their first and every move to effect separation will be challenged in court. Abuse of voting arrangements in both the Holyrood elections and in a referendum is unlikely to impress the courts as an electoral mandate.
Win or lose, separation or not, Alex Salmond and the SNP are willing to bring Scottish politics to the level of Northern Ireland’s politics of the greater part of the 20th century. We deserve better.