Over the past few days we've seen some comment on how a two question referendum in Scotland might work. People are asking what happens if devo max gets more yes votes than independence in such a ballot?
As the First Minister has made clear, the SNP will be campaigning full square for independence in the referendum. He is also open to including a question in the referendum on extending devolved responsibilities. And the Scottish Government has previously set out how this would work.
In the model proposed in the draft referendum bill in the last session, the choice would not be framed as an either/or. This is where the misunderstanding (or refusal to understand) arises.
Instead, the consultation paper sets out that voters would be asked, first, whether they want the Scottish Parliament to have responsibility for all matters except defence and foreign affairs. Then, they would be asked whether they want the additional powers that would take us to independence.
This is the same approach as in 1997. Scots were first asked whether they wanted a Scottish Parliament with responsibility for health, education, justice etc. Then, as the second question, whether they - in addition - wanted that parliament to have tax-varying powers. The two options weren't competing.
So if there is a 2 question referendum on independence the approach, based on the 2010 consultation paper, would, in broad terms, be as follows. First, people are asked whether they want the parliament to have responsibility for the economy, welfare, energy etc (i.e. devo max). Then they are asked if they want the parliament - in addition - to have responsibility for the other policy areas that mean Scotland would become independent.
Going back to 1997, three-quarters of Scots voted for the Parliament and just less than two-thirds for the additional tax varying powers. On the argument being presented by the Lib Dems and others, this result should mean that because the 'parliament only' option had more votes than the 'parliament plus tax-varying powers' option then the 'parliament only' option won. That is patently nonsense.
I've heard some say that in the independence referendum the two options wouldn't be linked. If you look back at the draft bill, that's clearly not the case. And, given that many of these same people are describing the middle option as 'independence-lite', the obvious point is, you can't have it both ways.