British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond have reached a deal on the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. It looks as if the SNP have gotten what they wanted in several respects:
- 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote.
- The referendum will be held in late 2014.
- While the Electoral Commission will advise on the question, it will ultimately be up to the Scottish Parliament, controlled by the SNP.
The SNP have dropped plans to include a third option in the referendum, which would presumably have been “devo-max” or full fiscal autonomy with political union. As I have noted before, I think this is a missed opportunity for holding a ranked-ballot referendum and selecting the Condorcet winner. However, with no political party actually advocating the devo-max option, it was always unlikely that the referendum would include it. (And apparently the SNP was interested only as a way of splitting the anti-independence vote, i.e., not allowing ranked ballots.)
Reactions from around the UK:
- Guardian, “Scottish people would have voted for ‘devo-max.’ That’s why it’s not an option”
- Telegraph, “Alex Salmond ‘will have to defy history’ to win Scottish independence referendum”
- Politics.co.uk, “Scottish independence: Overconfident London could rue the day”
- Better Nation, “The Edinburgh Agreement”