REFERENDUMS, votes, elections, polls. It never seems to end in Scottish politics. Someone somewhere is always agitating for another drink from the fountain of electoral politics.

Recently, it was announced that a group of SNP activists were putting forth the suggestion that in the event of a successful Yes vote, the Scottish government would then hold another referendum, one on Scotland’s membership of the EU.

This is straightforwardly a sensible idea. Firstly, the case for indyref2 is predicated on the argument that the 2014 Unionist case has changed drastically with the advent of Brexit and therefore another vote is necessary. If this fact is held to be true, then the same can be said of the 2016 EU vote. Scotland may have voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU then but it has now left it. These changed circumstances necessitate another vote. If pro-indy politicians argue that we cannot take the 2014 result as unmoving and stagnant then so too must they recognise that this also applies to the 2016 vote.

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Secondly, there is an element of principle. Often espoused in Scotland is the constitutional tradition of "popular sovereignty", that the ultimate arbiters of Scotland’s future are its people, not its leaders or institutions. This tradition is popular in the independence movement and holding a referendum on EU membership chimes perfectly with it.

Furthermore, a referendum would imbue Scotland’s EU membership with democratic legitimacy. Whilst in 2016 Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, we should not forget that more than a third voted to leave, including roughly a third of 2015 SNP voters. Their views matter as much as pro-EU Scots and they should have the opportunity to argue their case for rejecting EU membership. If the Government were to join the bloc without consulting the Scottish people, anti-EU voices could credibly argue that they have been denied a voice in determining the shape of an independent Scotland.

Thirdly, there is an aspect of realpolitik. By making Scottish membership of the EU contingent on a democratic vote, Scottish diplomats will perhaps wield more leverage in negotiations regarding the terms of Scotland’s ascension. Ireland’s rejection of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2008 yielded some concessions from the EU on topics such as Irish neutrality which in turn contributed to the Irish population voting in favour of the treaty in 2009.

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As the weaker partner in these prospective negotiations, Scotland would need every advantage possible. And unlike most examples of realpolitik, making Scotland’s EU membership contingent on a democratic vote is conveniently both the right thing and provides a diplomatic advantage.

This discussion is, at present, purely academic and theoretical. Despite the protestations of the Scottish Government, a second referendum is unlikely to be held soon. Nevertheless, this is still an important debate. If the independence movement truly seeks to build a new Scotland, then they had best start with the principles. I believe that the result of this hypothetical poll would still be a pro-EU one. It’s not about the result, it’s the principle.