I’m not a constitutional specialist, but I think I can see how enhanced devolution, or “devo-max”, might work for Scotland. Currently there are about 240,000 people who are not governed from Westminster or the devolved governments; they live in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The governments of these islands are responsible for its own economic, social and domestic policies; treaties are made by the UK in its behalf, but it is not part of the European Union. I served as a consultant for the States of Guernsey for four years; my work was based on corporate planning for health, housing, education, social work, social security and policing. Effectively, each government has its own negotiated status. In some cases, the policies are very similar to those of the UK (I am not sure why Guernsey residents should want to pay a TV Licence to support the BBC, but that’s up to them), in others they are distinctively different. Devo-max is neither unfeasible nor untried.

There is however a potential problem with the two-question referendum. People would vote yes or no for independence, and yes or no for devo-max. Imagine that 22% vote “yes-yes”, 22% vote “yes-no”, 22% vote “no-yes” and 33% vote “no-no”. The result would be that both questions would be defeated, 55-44 – despite 66% of voters voting for increased powers. It’s critically important what the questions are and how they’re put.

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