Leader: A referendum on the trams could run and run…

Steve Cardownie, SNP deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council, has put forward a novel proposal on how to resolve the council's dilemma over whether to scrap the stricken tram project or plough on and extend the line to St Andrew Square: He has called for a referendum. But, as the SNP well knows, a referendum is not the simple option that it seems.

For example, would the result be binding or advisory only? How many options would there be on the ballot paper - one, two or three? If three, is that "Tramline Max" (going all the way to Leith); "Tramline Lite" (stopping at St Andrew Square); and "Full Independence" (work abandoned and the line left to disintegrate along Princes Street)?

Who gets to vote is another thorny issue. Should the poll be Scotland-wide, or confined to the capital? And does that include the outer suburbs or just the Disaffected Central? Should there not be a residence qualification for voting, based on the number of hours stuck at traffic lights? Who gets to count the votes?

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And might we have to wait until the end of the parliamentary term (or the anniversary of Bannockburn) before a vote is called? Who wins if there is a majority for spoilt papers? And if the result displeases, when will the next one be? Tram neverendums, anyone?