Newsweek Scotland: barking out the battlecry
They looked like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, hunched tightly together and fighting in close formation, swiping and slashing as the challenges came at them, barking out their battlecry: "Referendums are nothing but trouble....!"
A quartet of constitutionalists confronted MPs this week on the issue of the independence referendum, or as the MPs call it, the Referendum on Separation for Scotland, and gave them chapter and verse on loaded questions, multiple questions and the Decourcet theory. (A method of working out which candidate would beat the others in a run-off) Honest! Check it out. I followed it on Democracy Live, the BBC online political service (Is this plug necessary? The Producer)
Some points seemed clear to me. There is a democratic case for a second question. If there is no blueprint for an independent Scotland beforehand, there may well be a need for a second referendum after any deal is done with London and Decourcet is a dead Frenchman.
One of the four horsemen will be with us tomorrow morning, Professor John Curtice, although I'm not sure which one of Conquest, War, Famine and Death he is. The horsemen were harbingers of Judgement Day which is what I think we should christen the Referendum. The Professor will meet his nemesis in Angus Macleod of the Times. The earth shall tremble.
Other highlights are a discussion on extradition following the removal of 65 year-old Christopher Tappin to Texas where he was taken to court in a jumps suit and shackled. Is the test applied too slight and is the government failing in its duty to protect citizens?
Am I alone in feeling the need to weep in despair and fury as I stare into the eyes of the six troops blown up in Afghanistan? The pictures of young British military personnel who have given their lives are an uncomfortable testimony to the mission in that country which seems to get increasingly obscure. Finding Bin Laden...destroying the poppy harvest...killing the Taleban...preventing terrorist training...creating democracy...building schools...making communities safer...but which of these represents victory and withdrawal? We'll debate.
Friend of the programme Professor Stephen White speaks to us from Moscow about post-election Russia and why are sales of organic supplies falling? I've stopped insisting on organic myself and I'm not sure why although I make a point of recycling these blogs. Must get ready for Apocalypse now (Ireland v Scotland).