Back to the drawing board for referendum on independence

After raising the possibility last week, Mike Russell Scotland’s constitutional affairs minister, is now reported on orders from Alex Salmond to be working on drafting a multi option referendum to include more powers for the Parliament as well as the independence option. It’s the inevitable response to facing up to inevitable of majority opposition to “referendum 2010” in the Parliament, stiffened by the drubbing the SNP received in last Thursday’s Glasgow north east by election. The redraft is unlikely to make the referendum idea any more palatable. But Alex is pinning his hopes in the longer term of Scots turning back to him after a UK election that will return a Conservative government glaringly lacking a Scottish mandate, and a Holyrood majority which also denies the Scottish people a voice of their own on the essentials of their future. It’s a long shot.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London