“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Ballot paper QR code by nickj365
Ballot paper QR code, a photo by nickj365 on Flickr.

I don't have any problems with the Electoral Commission's proposed question (PDF) for the 2014 referendum, namely "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

My main reason for preferring the Scottish Government's original proposal ("Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?") was that I thought referendums in Scotland and the UK tended to introduce the question with "Do you agree...", but that's not actually the case. Here are the questions and options from the past referendums that I have been able to find:

  • [2011] At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead?
    • Yes
    • No
  • [1997] Parliament has decided to consult people in Scotland on the Government's proposals for a Scottish Parliament.
    • I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament.
    • I do not agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament.
  • [1978] Do you want the Provisions of the Scotland Act 1978 to be put into effect?
    • Yes
    • No
  • [1975] Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?
    • Yes
    • No

It will be interesting to see whether the Electoral Commission will also reject other questions that begin with "Do you agree..." in the future.

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