Whether or not Scotland can legally hold a referendum without the consent of Westminster has provoked much debate. Ciaran Martin argues that the answer to this question does not really matter: regardless of the legality of any referendum, it is unrealistic to think that Scotland will leave the Union without the consent of Westminster. This makes the key question a political one, which the courts cannot resolve.
‘So, whilst the rhetoric may have softened, the constitutional paradox remains. Scotland can leave if it has a lawful vote to do so, but there is no way of having a lawful vote. For now, anyway. And there is no plan to have a plan.’