I FAIL to see how the citizen’s panel proposed by Margo MacDonald to guide us all through the complexities of the referendum would work (your report, 10 August).
Even supposing that one could find a sufficient number of worthy citizens so erudite as to fully understand all the issues yet so fair-minded as to have no opinion of their own, there are still two potential outcomes no better than the current position.
The first is that, for every positive case proposed the panel would, in the interest of fairness, balance it with an equally plausible negative case. The second scenario is that it would add up all the positive issues that it could think of and then weigh them against all the negative issues (each issue carries same weight). Weightiest wins. The only problem is that, to be fair, it would have to go on until it had an equal number of each.
Or the panel’s members could play “pin the tale on the donkey”. More nearest the head would give one answer, nearest the tail the other. People can make up their own mind as to which faction is represented by the ass end. The last method would mean that we needn’t even have a referendum.