Friday, 11 July 2014

Scotland's Independence Decided By Tossing A Coin

 
 
The BBC's Question Time had a 'Scottish Independence' special last night. Everyone except the megalomaniacal Alex Salmond, his SNP buddies, and a few Scottish hopefuls knows that when the date for the Scottish independence referendum arrives Scotland will not be independent from the rest of the UK. So, nothing much to add to that. 
 
However, as the reality is so predictable, for a bit of fun let's imagine the following hypothetical situation. Suppose in the Scottish referendum 4 million of the country's 5.2 million citizens turn out to vote on the question of independence, with the result being as follows:

Yes: 2,000,001

No: 1,999,999

Because it's so desperately close, there would be lots of panic and a desperate need for a careful, time-consuming recount. The argument would be, there's a lot at stake, and if it's *that* close, the time and money expended on a recount is the rational and necessary thing to do.

The closeness of the vote says the opposite to me.  If you think about it - a time-consuming and thus costly recount might be less sensible than one first thinks. Presumably a vote that is so close means that the Scottish people, as a whole, thinks there's virtually nothing between the two outcomes, with none of the two outcomes appearing to be distinguishable in terms of quality of result. Therefore, accounting for a very generous final count margin of error of approximately 0.001% (which is around 40 votes), it might be better in this hypothetical scenario if everyone agreed to simply settle the matter with the toss of a coin. And if that coin toss could include the separation of Wales too, even better.

* Photo courtesy of The Telegraph
 


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