BOTH of the letters (January 30) in response to the estimable Alex Gallagher (Letters, January 29) are guilty of a serious and fundamental error: they equate the status of a referendum with that of an election.
An election is part of an ongoing democratic process which holds political parties and their leaders to account. On the other hand, a referendum is a single-issue vote, designed to settle a question once and for all, or at least for a generation or a lifetime. This was signed up to unambiguously, freely and solemnly by the First Minster of Scotland in the Edinburgh Agreement. It was repeated many times in the referendum campaign by both the then First Minister and his deputy, now herself the First Minister.
Now, both of these have shown their duplicity in turning their back on these undertakings by calling the referendum “a dry run” and refusing to rule out a further referendum.
In doing so, they have made the idea that a referendum puts an issue to bed redundant and meaningless. In fact, they have made an extremely good case for why there should be no further referendum: if September 2014 was not definitive, why should any further referendum count for anything at all? Better not to bother.
Peter A Russell,