Trusting the voters with referendum options

In November residents of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico will go to the polls in a referendum to help decide its status in relation to the United States.

The first part of the referendum will ask voters if they want a change in status or prefer to remain part of the US commonwealth. The second section will then ask them to choose from three options – statehood, independence or remaining a US territory.

Previous referendums on the political status of Puerto Rico have been held in 1967, 1993 and 1998, all of which resulted in a majority being in favour of territorial status.

In Scotland there could be a simple case of two ballot papers being presented to the electorate. The first asks whether they favour constitutional change or not, with the second presenting the options of Devolution Max or independence. Should a majority not favour constitutional change in the first question, the second would become null and void.

It is quite intriguing to note how the Puerto Ricans can be trusted to be capable of choosing from a variety of options, fully representing the views of the Puerto Rican people, but in Scotland the Unionist parties deem that somehow we are not and must face a blunt “Yes” or “No” choice to Scottish independence.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh