Photos by Darya Gnidash
The debate over Scottish independence is by no means new and by no means simple, and now finally it is making its way into national press and encroaching on national consciousness more and more. But just being in someone’s consciousness doesn’t mean they’ve actually made a decision yet. In a show of ‘deliberative democracy’, chair Alan Convery invited us to live-tweet, argue points and vote twice during the debate – once before, once after each speaker had said their piece. The 50% ‘unsure’ vote was a tricky one to swing.
Holding the floor with a certain amount of grounded sarcasm was ‘Better Together’ Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser and pro-independence SNP MSP Marco Biagi, along with a host of particularly well-prepared audience members.
For the rest of us, it was a bit of a shock to see the debate thrown open to questions from the get-go, with only the briefest of introductions and only a starter topic chosen by the chair.
While Biagi openly called out the ‘No’ campaign’s scare-mongering tactics and need to fill headlines, Fraser questioned how realistic the White Paper’s plans for a currency union with the rest of the UK are. As ever, the debate became more in-depth at one of many Innovative drinks receptions with the speakers, once the official session was out of time, but by no means out of questions.
An hour was nowhere near long enough to discuss the full ramifications of Scottish Independence on education, the economy or foreign policy (in particular, membership of the EU), but newcomers to the debate were given a decent taste of the Yes and No campaigns’ stance on each issue. Judging by the final tally, however, that 50% ‘unsure’ vote had not budged an inch.