IN the last Holyrood parliament, Labour, the LibDems and the Tories blocked an independence referendum because they feared a Yes vote.
Now, unable to resist a referendum, they want to block a "more powers" option in case of a Yes.
It is a curious approach to democracy, this notion that what voters want must be bad. Yet that is the corner these parties paint themselves into, by arguing against what Alex Salmond calls the people's "right to decide" on devo max.
Recent surveys have found backing for devo max, or full tax and spending powers, running at about 60%, far above support for independence. So why the Unionist abhorrence towards offering people two chances to reject separation in 2014?
Sadly, crude party politics appear to blame. Anything that allows the First Minister to claim a victory, even a half-win such as devo max, is intolerable to his opponents.
We disagree and would support a second question. First, obviously, devo max must be defined. Critics say it is impossible to squeeze on to the ballot paper, but no-one suggests every facet of independence has to be listed there.
The SNP Government intends to define independence in a White Paper in November 2013; if it wants to offer a devo max option in the referendum as well, it should define it at the same time. If devo max was the people's choice, then a vote for it would provide a solid mandate to present to Westminster.
Second, any two-stage question must be designed to deliver a clear and unambiguous result. We leave that to the Electoral Commission.
What is undeniable is Scotland's right to choose.
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