Scotland’s Independence Movement Gets a Boost From the Final TV Debate


A strong debate performance by Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond lifts spirits in the Yes camp but may not sway doubters

How might an independent Scotland differ from the country that is currently part of the United Kingdom? When two of Scotland’s highest profile politicians—First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party and Britain’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling of the Labour Party—faced off against each other on Aug. 5 in the first of two debates ahead of the Sept. 18 referendum, only viewers north of the England-Scotland border reliably got to hear their answers to this question. The debate was broadcast on TV in Scotland only while a live feed on the website of Scottish broadcaster STV seized up under the weight of would-be viewers elsewhere in the U.K.


I don’t know much about the issues but I think they should be independent if they want to be.


I think this is a mistake that will considerably weaken both Scotland and the UK. (I realize the English, like anyone, can get annoying, but what is real extent of the oppression or whatever the issue is??)

But who am I to judge? If that’s what they want, go for it…I really don’t get it though. Maybe someone who really knows about it, i.e., why it’s a good thing, will reply…I would like to hear.


Unfortunately, those of us living in England have not been given the opportunity to debate and vote on independence from the others.


As a Scot, I am completely opposed to the idea of an independent Scotland. I have a visceral abhorrence for ‘Nationalist Movements’. The irony is that the SNP demand an independent Scotland to ‘bring power closer to the people’, yet have the worst track record among parties in terms of local politics. Like all Nationalists, they want a strong centralized government in the capital Edinburgh. I’ve yet to hear them demand stronger decision making for people in Shetland or Fife.

Salmond did not come across to me at all in that debate, as well as the previous one, as an enlightened statesman. He came across as a smug bully who refused to give detailed answers and simply relied upon crafty tactics and rousing, emotive oratory.

I also dislike separatism. We live in a globalized world. There is something so deeply unappealing about grown men and women obsessed with national anthems, kilts and what not. ‘Braveheart’ syndrome I call it.

I personally feel that the First Minister has given extremely vague answers concerning Scotland’s future. He claims that the no campaign is guided by ‘project fear,’ yet he has made numerous promises that have since had doubt cast upon them. I do not see a clear and coherent vision presented for an independent Scotland.

Children now have state guardians because the government thinks that parents are not responsible enough to care for their own children. There is now one national police force armed with guns. Our education has been re-vamped under a new “curriculum for excellence” in which our youngsters are being spoon-fed nationalistic propaganda about Scotland. Here’s an example. Children used to be taught about the “Holocaust”. Now its, “The Holocaust from a Scottish perspective”. And the legal system has been in turmoil. The ancient Scots Law of corroboration, a unique part of our renowned legal system, was going to be removed until protests stalled the process. It still might be. A law was passed two years back allegedly to stop sectarianism between football fans which actually cut away freedom of speech and was branded by one of our top judges as “horribly drafted”.

Two weeks ago, my parents were outside their local shopping mall when a woman stood in front of them and handed out a pro-independence pamphlet. She then enquired as to how my parents would vote in the referendum. My father answered that he would be voting “no”. The woman demanded an answer as to “why”. My father replied that it was his personal and free decision (essentially not her business). She didn’t accept this and again demanded “why”. She then started a lecture about how much wealthier an independent Scotland would be and much else besides…essentially she was waxing lyrical about why he really ought to change his mind. By this time, exasperated, my father simply told her that he was voting no and gave her a list of reasons why.

As my parents then walked on they saw this same woman heckling an old man. She put the pamphlet in his trolley against his will and the old man branded her a “litter lout”. As he walked away from her the man just shook his head at my parents and said, “I’m an old soldier” - in other words, she was trying to convert the wrong guy.

Online there has been a war of words led by the so-called “Cyber Nats” (vocal internet supporters of independence). Many people have suffered internet abuse. An example is the well-known novelist JK Rowling who expressed publically that she supported the union and was donating money to the Better Together campaign. That same night she received verbal abuse on her twitter account, receiving vile messages. Other examples are of a single mother from Glasgow who expressed her desire for the union to stay together on TV. That night she was inundated with threats and vile messages.

I am a supporter of the Union.


Yeah, weird – you guys don’t even get your own Parliament, you have to share the big one with the others. What’s up with that?

But should England get “independence”? After all, England was the imperialist conquering oppressor. If you don’t want any more to do with those cranky Celts, just pull your occupying armies out, so Jock, Taffy and Paddy can have their lands back. :smiley:

Side note: I saw a thing on TV, there seems to be a small group of Welsh who want to be declared “indigenous” by the UN.


Well, since it was James VI of Scotland who took the English throne (and not vice versa), I think they should move the whole Parliament and Royal Family to Scotland. Or, better yet, give the throne back to the Stuarts. And move St Andrew’s Cross to the front of the Union flag. :thumbsup:


While I should logically not care, as I am not British; IMNAAHO the last thing the world needs is more flags and visas! There are too many as it is.

And if they are keeping the Royal Family, what are they gaining?

If nothing else, the successful devolution of Scotland from the U.K. would add stridency to those Americans wishing to lead their States out of the Union, an idea that should again IMNAAHO be left in the past.




People often forget that the Union of the Crowns and the first King of both Scotland and England was the Scot James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots.

The Royal Family practically do live in Scotland anyway. They are always up in Balmoral. Queen Victoria started the trend, she adored the Highlands as does the present Queen.

Interestingly, an independent Scotland (which as stated I don’t wish to see) would still be a ‘kingdom’ under Queen Elizabeth II and not a republic. Alex Salmond is actually a monarchist. There is no movement at the moment to dissolve the much older ‘union of the crowns’ which we still share with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and others.

He seems to want us to become a sort of ‘Canada’ number II but much smaller, with an economy and culture like the Scandinavian countries. He is obssesed with the Scandinavian countries.


Correction my friend, Scotland would be seceding from the UK. We already have devolution, a devolved Scottish Parliament:

There is nothing wrong with devolution, in fact even pro-Union Scots like myself want more of it and would recommend it for England, for instance getting a Parliament of its own in York. The UK needs more devolution but no secessions in my POV.



Seriously, though, I cannot comment in any capacity on this issue. I just hope that the Scottish people do what’s best, and not just go for nationalist rhetoric.

We may be in a similar situation in Canada, with Quebec agitating for independence every so often. Were Quebec to separate, it would physically divide the country in two – Ontario, Prairies, BC and the Territories on one side, Atlantic Provinces on the other.


By the way, I like your comparison with Southern independence in the US :slight_smile:

I received an email from a friend in America asking me what my views on Scottish Independence were. He noted, “we in the U.S. have our own experience with such a question. We celebrate the answer each July 4th”.

He thought of Scottish Independence in the same light as American Independence. Indeed the United States came into being from a war fought against Britain for its independence. However I told him that there are some very key differences between the Thirteen Colonies and Scotland.

For one, the American revolutionaries desired independence because they were colonial subjects of an empire who were being taxed without representation in the British parliament. Scotland is not subject to a British Empire. We are, as the world can see, free to become an independent country if we so wish. We are not being taxed without representation, on the contrary we are fully represented in British political life. The last Prime Minister before David Cameron was Scottish, Gordon Brown. Tony Blair before him was also born in Scotland and educated in Edinburgh. We have had our own parliament based in Holyrood, Edinburgh since devolution in the late 1990s. Ever since the Act of Union between Scotland and England in 1707 we have retained our own distinct legal system, which is why I study Scots Law at university and not English Law. We have our own independent education system.

I think that we in Scotland have the best of both worlds.

I told him that while a comparison with American Independence is one way to consider it, one could also (minus the slavery issue) compare it with the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln and the Yankees were standing up for the union against the separatists in the South, who despite the issue of slavery believed they were standing up for states’ rights. Rather than looking at Scottish Independence through the prism of American Independence from an empire that did not represent them, I told him that one could therefore and I think more usefully compare the Scottish Nationalists - currently still in the minority even if a very vocal and substantial minority - with the Southern separatists of the Civil War, who wanted to break up a unified country.


Well, this confirms my suspicions. Thanks for the insight. It sounds irrational. I hope it fails. I can’t help but think it will hurt Scotland and the UK economically, as well as further fragment an already divided Europe. We are supposed to be learning to live together, not breaking apart.


In the current circumstances, it may well be more interesting to ask about who ‘owns’ Scotland rather than who apparently rules Scotland.


Why shouldn’t England have independence or at least it’s own Parliament and then have Westminster be the National parliament? I certainly feel that if Scotland want’s independence they can have it, and I for one feel for them since traditionally Scotland is a Labour stronghold and right now a Conservative government sits in Westminster,but at the same time, I think they are kind of being crybabies. Its not like they are oppressed or that they are treated any worse than any other UK constituent nation. To me this seems like how Texas and southern states complain when they don’t like what Washington pushes through and want to leave. I certainly do not like the Obama administration, but I for one do not support my state or any other leaving the Union. I’d rather we work to try and work within our government rather than go it alone. My hope is that Scotland can find a way to get what they want while still being a part of the UK, but if they want independence then so be it. They will certainly have a lot of issues, and if things go south, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

I will say though that nations like Ireland or the Scandinavia countries do very well, but all except for Ireland have been nations for a long time. Even Ireland has had enough time to get things going right, or at least it did until the recession.


Just wondering as well, how does the Catholic population in Scotland feel about this. I know many are ethnically Irish and might have hard feelings toward the Union (though most from what I’ve heard vote Labour). I think even the disgraced Cardinal O’Brien said something that independence could work since ecclesiastically the church in Scotland is separate from England and Wales (not that he was a supporter, but certainly made a valid point).

I too feel that Scotland might struggle. Also there’s the question of whether they want to use the Euro or the Pound. I’ve heard SNP folks say they want to use the pound. I don’t think that would work well. Though the Euro wouldn’t either.


I would take what O’Brien said with a pinch of salt personally, he was actually an ardent supporter of the SNP quite apart rom his disgraced private life. Ecclesiastical independence need not equate to constitutional. Scotland under the Act of Union was entitled to retain its own church (the Kirk/Presbyterianism), legal and education system in addition to its own culture. It would have been very strange indeed had the Catholic Church, when the Catholic episcopate was re-established in Scotland in 1878, not to been ecclesiastically distinct from England and Ireland owing to these facts. It is not an argument for Scottish Independence in my POV and has never had much if any traction with the Catholic community here.

In terms of what the Catholic community thinks as a whole, I am sure it is as variable as the rest of the Scottish population. Many Catholics I know, including a random hairdresser who happened to discuss her views on the referendum with me a few months back, are strongly opposed to independence and actually have harder feelings towards the traditionally Calvinist society of Scotland than Anglican England, which is a far more similar to Catholicism. There was much bigotry in the past towards Scottish Catholics.

Others do have animosity towards the Union, particularly those who grew up in the days of the Troubles with the IRA or who have imbibed a strong Irish heritage from their forefathers, such as maintained in football clubs.

I would say it is likely variable.


Can a independent Scotland even survive? Basically the only things they have to sell are: Haggis, kilts, and shortbread.


Hi, Everyone,

I was wondering…if any Scots are reading…what are your opinions and planned votes for the upcoming Scottish Independence Referendum? As a Britophile, would love to discuss the issue with you. Or we could discuss it over at my group, which has somewhat fallen into disuse, “The Campionites”! We need a spicy discussion to revive it by now, lol! :slight_smile:

God bless,
Pearl of Tyburn


Don’t forget Scotch.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit