30 Apr 2014

From the farthest British Isles: how will Scotland vote?

No one prepares you for the intoxicating beauty of the Outer Hebrides. Setting sail on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from a sun-bathed Ullapool – a delicious spit of land spotted with small white-washed house against a backdrop of blue mountains and flat-calm sea, was one of the most sumptuous scenes I have ever experienced in the British Isles.

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As you ponder Scottish independence, that matter of isles strikes you hard. Denude England and Wales of Scotland, and nearly all those formerly British Isles are shed. Sure, there’s Wight, Mann, Channel Isles, Lundy and a few more left, but take away the pepper of islands that thread around the west of Scotland that define the physical evidence of the “British Isles”, and the sense of identity that rides with the concept is history.

A journey to the Outer Hebrides takes you to a world that is both different and the same as the world in which the majority of the British live. The language is the same, though back-grounded by many who speak Gaelic. But that indigenous language, whilst taught in school here, and flourishing, is the first language of only a minority.

There’s a Tesco in Stornoway – the Outer Hebridean capital. There’s a Harris Tweed shop too. Some Hebrideans told me that they feel as remote from Edinburgh as they do from London – despite the energetic efforts of the islands’ Scottish National MP, and MSP.

That fuels a passionate ‘Yes Campaign’ for independence. But it also drives many in the ‘No Campaign’ too. It’s a sentiment that fears not a lot would change for the better, and that they’d rather not take the risk.

My own belief is that Scotland at large has the potential to win either way, whatever the September referendum on independence decides. If it is “Yes”, there will be a divorce. Divorce is rarely anything but complex, painful and messy – but the former partners tend to survive and make the best of their lives.

There is no reason Scotland will not do so too.

If the “No” campaign wins, it will do so despite a large “Yes” vote. If that sizable vote is to be placated, Westminster will have no option but to devolve a vast amount more power to the Edinburgh parliament, and again, the parties will eventually emerge, after battering negotiations, to live fulfilled lives.

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Everything you need to know about the Outer Hebrides
The Outer Hebrides is a chain of over 200 islands stretching 130 miles from the Butt of Lewis in the North to Barra Head in the South.
Fifteen of the islands are inhabited. Most of the 26,500 population live on Lewis and Harris, with Stornoway the main town and ferry port.
The archipelago was referred to by Scottish Gaels as Innse Gall or Island of Strangers, referring to the Norse Vikings who dominated the area for 500 years from the 9th century.
Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norse and Medieval sites are scattered across the islands. The most dramatic are the Callanish Standing Stones which date from 3000BC.
Gaelic is the everyday language for between 40 per cent and 80 per cent of the population. Laws were passed in 1872 forbidding its use in schools, but the attempt to eradicate it failed and by 2005 the Scottish Parliament was passing laws to support it.
The craft of weaving has been practiced for centuries, traditionally by hand and by women. The Harris Tweed brand is now international, but the 1993 Harris Tweed Act states that the tweed must be hand-woven by islanders at their homes.
Golden eagles can be seen almost anywhere in the isles. Dolphins, whales and sharks are common in the surrounding waters.
Recently an influx of immigrants from the mainland has slowed the population decline. Wind, wave and tidal power generation are leading the islands’ economic development.
Source: The Outer Hebrides Guide Book

To me, as an Englishman who has scoured his family tree in search of Celtic blood and sadly found none, Scottish independence would feel like an amputation, an impoverishment of who we are.

When I talk to people about their own feelings and reveal my own thoughts, they are surprised. Many have a sense that the English don’t care either way about this debate. They hear very little from the English, beyond the dire and often selfish Westminster warnings of the consequences of separation. I sense they need to hear from more beyond their own border.

When I mention Kate Moss’s message to the Brit Awards from David Bowie – ‘Stay With Us’ – many I spoke to even in the “Yes” camp are pleased.

The contest is tight here and active. Everyone has a view. Not a few say they need to have more real facts. This is a battle not only about facts though. As I’ve suggested, it’s about emotion.

If the English have the slightest affection or desire for the “Union”, they need to shed their troublesome stand-offishness, and declare it.

If I have found one common cause here, it is that the English don’t care what happens here. But plenty of them love this place when they come here and want the best for it.

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39 reader comments

  1. Bill Fraser says:

    Scotland was promised more if it rejected devolution in 1979. What it got was more devastation, poverty and misery. The destruction of businesses due to the laissez fair policies of the Thatcher Government that allowed the pound to rise on the back of the oil wealth denied us the opportunity to make and export many of the heavy engineering goods we were famous for. That has led to generational unemployment and ill health. Britain is unbalanced because of the influence of the city and Scotland has an opportunity to repair some of that damage, but only if it takes this opportunity to run its own affairs in the interests of the people.

    This is not an attack on the people of the rest of the United Kingdom, it is a reflection of the failure of Westminster under the governance of the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the influence of the Liberal Party. It is not even party political, there is a groundswell of people of all parties and none for change that we no longer believe that is possible under the Westminster system which has shown itself to be corrupt and incapable of change. Voting themselves an 11% rise at a time when the ordinary people in rest of the country suffer under austerity, expenses scandals, cash for questions, reform of the first past the post system or the Lords.

    Finally, Scotland isn’t going anywhere, it will still be physically attached to England and will always share good relations with our friends and neighbours because that is as much in our interests as it is in the rest of the UK. All we want is the democratic ability to run our own affairs. That doesn’t seem too much to ask.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    One of your very best blogs, congratulations. Much appreciated.

    Funny how you do your best stuff when you’re away from that south east ghetto.

    I hope the Scots don’t go. But if they do it will be with this citizen’s best wishes.

    It will be the biggest sign yet of how you London people have needlessly divided this nation. Some of you can’t see beyond the Daily Mail or your council tax bill or Eastenders. It really is time you people opened your eyes to the socioeconomic damage caused by your selfishness, greed and I’m Alright Jackery. Sooner or later the invoice of history will fall due.

  3. Mike Harland says:

    I’m a Yorkshireman who has lived in Scotland for over 30 years and spent 12 years in a London that knew and cared little about the North before that, I find that your article attempts to be balanced but is based on misplaced sentiment.

    As somebody who believes Scotland deserves full self-governance and wishes the North of England could join us to form a more balanced economy against the ‘self-centred’ South(-East), I find the wistful references to the far-flung isles reminiscent of nostalgia for the lost Empire which people especially in the South have still not got over – actually, ‘globalism’ is their psychological dummy/pacifier replacement for this maternal loss – time they grew up and fled the nest!

    The North East, where I grew up and watched industry decimated, now has dual carriageways that lead everywhere but no replacement to its economy or lost jobs – just ’emigration’ (which is probably why it has so many useless roads leading out!). Coming to Glasgow, I watched the same process and was glad to see the heart of the West of Scotland was not destroyed; I watched even the rich people here counter Thatcher’s Freedmanite policies which still underpin the modern Tory ethos and the community stuck together to eventually lead to a situation where the Lab/Libs and then the SNP were at least given a chance to represent what the Scottish people want for Scotland – that, dear Southerners, is how proportional representation rescued the Tories from extinction here and shows how true democratic systems represent the people more fairly.

    So here we are today where a Southern end of these ‘fair isles’ scurries around desperate to scare the Northern end into believing that they will be lost without them – yes, lost in the sense that Labour and the Liberals will never again have enough MPs in parliament to ever form another government, the Armed Forces will no longer have all the pretty little isles you talk about for their weapons testing and firing ranges or the pretty tranquil glens down which to thunder their super jets – we had a jet smash into our pretty hillsides only a few years ago not 30 miles from here. And where on earth are they going to put their polluting nuclear subs? The MOD of course were quite happy to move the permanent maintenance of their fleet down South and leave temporary shipbuilding to BAE in the North … if it ever manages to survive.

    You can paint a pretty picture, Jon, but you are just falling into the old Town v. Country mouse nostalgia that stretches way back to Classical literature forming what is merely a false dilemma: the government likes this type of argument because it can only be black & white – we can do this or we can do that, but nothing grey in between. We are being threatened with closed borders – probably because Scottish law is at least humane to our immigrants and asylum seekers, does not use xenophobic measures to throw them out even if they are potentially a positive asset to the country, and therefore would be a threat to hordes of undesirables flooding into the ‘integrity’ of May’s rUK (funny how this acronym reflects a sense of lack of identity, which is what your article Jon is really all about: your ‘limb’ will be amputated as you say and you will be crippled without us – how very telling and ‘altruistic’).

    The real rosy answer for us is that when we are independent (but as a dual national still hold my British passport from where I was born) I shall still be allowed to visit my home region, admire its pretty moors and dales with its golfball listening station and its barracks, its automated refineries and tankers queuing up to keep the home fires of the South burning; Scotland will still be as it was and will still prosper – we offered to pay our fair share, but you want us to be punished; we pay more taxes already per head to the Southern coffers, but you want to threaten us with even less than we receive in exchange; exactly the same complaints Southerners hurl at the EU in similar xenophobic angst at having to pay to receive from Europe . We hope to still visit Europe freely, but if England gets his way my granddaughter will be thrown out of the UK at 18 years-old when it inevitably leaves the EU in 2017 – by geographic accidents of birth my daughter is half Spanish, my granddaughter only a quarter and therefore not a British citizen (that is xenophobic law and legal idiocy for you, by the way, espeically if you are a southern nationalist and believe your race and birthplace is still your nationality!). No, in Scotland we will still be a part of Europe, still a friendly country, still importing and exporting as we have always done, but with renewed vigour and with a belief in our self-worth, no longer brow-beaten into believing we are not capable of surviving.

    We need to be an independent, not a DEPENDENT nation – we could then reduce the gap that the Isles feel from us. Tell them to compare their plight to the Chagos islanders and how distant and disconnected they feel thousands of miles away, thrown off their islands and totally forgotten by the ‘mother’ country that has disowned them when it pleases them. Actually, talking to friends in the Shetlands,they have better facilities and quality of life than we do in Glasgow in many respects!

    So enough of the scare stories and the threats – how about some meaningful discussion and debate and if necessary the Plan B that is now being desperately put on the table as the Southern argument is gradually being lost. You find out who your friends are in a time of crisis, and frankly I don’t see many friends I’d like to know right now South of the famous Watford GAP!

    1. Colin Izat says:

      Pity Channel 4 doesn’t have any journalists that are as good at writing as you Mike.

      And as for your Jon Snow, you and Channel 4 have spent he last 40 or years almost completely ignoring Scotland. So blinkered by your London-centricity when it comes to reporting the Channel 4 news you’d never have guessed there was any other countries in the UK other than England, and even in England there is only the city of London.

      Now when the precious UK is threatened by Scotland demanding some democracy you scuttle up here to (obviously) try and bolster a flagging Better Together campaign. I’m afraid it’s far too little and far too late. We are going to vote Yes to leaving the totally unbalanced, unfair and undemocratic United Kingdom. You can keep your lovely London for yourselves, the rest of us have had enough of it.

    2. Martin Egan says:

      What an excellent article you have written me Harland, one i completely agree with !
      If you find you get stuck with missiles par tridentia then i’m sure an offshoot of Brown & Root could be persuaded to collect them via a phone call from Mr Obama very soon after independence. If you become lumbered with submarine carcases, well they would make wonderful deep sea ferries with a difference after suitable conversion refit by the still highly skilled Scottish shipwrights.

    3. Nick Rorke says:

      +1 Very well put Mike. From someone born in the home counties but a resident of North Yorkshire most of my life and a lifelong fan of Scotland (I’ve been a regular visitor since I was in my Mum’s tum). The debate I’ve heard so far has featured far too much scare mongering and SE-centric demonstrating a real failure to grasp how distant and distinctly different life in Scotland feels, in every regard, from London and/or England.

    4. Dorothy Devine says:

      Thank you Mr Harland for a wonderful ,articulate response.

      How sad is it that the MSM cannot pen or broadcast something equally informative and apposite.

    5. Derick Tulloch says:

      Sound comment. Perfectly put.

      Yes, so the North (which always paid the bills), can rise again.

  4. liz storrar says:

    Jon Snow puts his finger on questions and sentiments as always.
    And it is true there are few things more beautiful than a visit to the Scottish Isles.

  5. Annie Delin says:

    I was born a Londoner, lived for thirty-five years an East-Midlander (that’s Notts, Leics and Derbyshire for those of you who find it hard to place) and am now very proudly a Hebridean. I’ve lived for five years in Lewis and although I enjoy Jon Snow’s appreciation of what is good about these islands, I can’t help thinking the argument is a selfish one. Nice to have the islands here for a holiday, a jaunt away from the newsroom, a demonstration of the geographical remoteness of parts of the UK. But what about the delivery charges, the fuel prices, the lack of central services and the weather? Storms and gales made the news every night while they were affecting the South-East, Devon and Cornwall – up here a couple of days of no ferries, storm force winds and power outages is not only normal, but we KNOW will not get into the news (lucky if it makes the weather forecast or traffic report). Independence may or may not serve us better, but if that inward-looking carelessness is what we can expect for decades more under Westminster, then there’s no reason not to gamble on an unknown future under Edinburgh.

  6. Chris says:

    How on earth would Scottish independence feel like an ‘amputation’ to you Jon, when this was the very first time you visited the Outer Hebrides?

  7. Barry Shelby says:

    Welcome to the Outer Hebrides big man. Was that you I saw in Achmore yesterday? Glad you took time to explore outwith Stornoway, which feels to some in the southern isles as remote from them as Edinburgh. Come back and see again some time.

  8. Val Wells says:

    What a Londoncentric view! From our perspective “the farthest British Isles” are, for example, the Scilly Isles. None of the Outer Hebrides will be “shed” and there is the potential for Edinburgh to give them more recognition and better support.

  9. Jean Newman says:

    Hi Jon
    Great that you are getting out and about to report on the big debate but how much more interesting it would have been if you had not fallen into the trap of thinking that Stornoway represents the Outer Hebrides. Come south to Uist to see how remote communities really live, without Tesco’s and two-lane roads but with post buses and close-knit communities. (And of course we have beautiful scenery as well!)

  10. Richard says:

    The Shetlanders consider themselves Shetlanders in the first place, British in second place and Scottish in third and last place.

    I reckon that the Hebrideans are not much different. The small populations of these British Islands mean that they don’t really have much clout when it comes to influencing politics, be they those of Westminster or of Edinburgh.

    The recent very welcome and heartening resurgence in what may be the most significant Hebridean Industry – Harris Tweed – and its new-found dependence on markets other than Scotland will in my view cause the proud, independently-thinking Hebrideans to see the wider picture and vote “No” to Salmond and his daft idea.

    I’m an Aberdonian living in Canada, by the way. We know all about the insanity of attempts to separate, via our own “Québec Problem”.

    1. Paul Scotland says:

      In the 2011 census in the national identity question, 59.9% of shetland’s ticked Scottish identity only. 11.6% british only, and 15.7% Scottish and british. In the outer Hebrides, it was 69.2% Scottish only. 8.1% british only. 14.3% Scottish and british. In the Orkney islands it was 62.4% Scottish only. 10.8% british only, and 13.8% Scottish and british. Or to put it another way, the comment you made is garbage. You should stick to commenting on Quebec.

    2. Mary says:

      As an Orcadian, I would say that Richard’s comments are true for both Orkney and Shetland. The Northern Isles voted against the Scottish Assembly. Jon is right: Edinburgh seems as far away as London when you sit in Kirkwall or Lerwick. And the Islanders were right to be concerned. They’ve seen a greater centralisation – with numerous overturned decisions on issues such as on wind turbines – than in pre-Assembly days. What is laughable is that we wouldn’t even be having this debate if Scotland had no oil. And where does the majority of that oil lie? In the waters off the Northern Isles, who would rather stay part of the UK.
      I can’t believe that it will happen, but if a ‘yes’ vote does manages to win the day on the 18th, it will only be by a tiny margin, and the changes will then be forced upon almost half of the population.
      The way in which the referendum has been set up, who can and can’t vote, and, generally, the way that the campaign has been run by the yes side, with ludicrous swipes at anyone (however well qualified to comment) who dares to suggest that, economically, Scotland would be better off in the UK (such as the comments made by the yes side on Gordon Brown’s recent speech) does not bode well for the quality of political debate in an independent Scotland. Alex Salmond’s comments on Vladimir Putin, and his refusal to apologise for them, are just an embarrassment for Scots. I can only cheer myself up by remembering that those blinded by such arrogance and ignorance usually end up hanging themselves.

  11. Rebecca Geach says:

    If Scotland leaves we will have to remove Adam Smith from our £20 notes since that great economic thinker who massively inspired the Thatcherism which a number of Scottish claim to abhor was indeed a Scotsman. I am no Thatcherite and I am not a right-wing supporter but I cannot help but note the historical irony.

    Historically Scotland created Great Britain with England for pure economic reasons not for sentimentality. If sentiment were to be the centre of that union then it would have been created 100 years earlier than 1707 given that the two countries shared the same monarch and religion. Still Scotland resisted union despite the difficulties both countries faced in being individual Protestant nations on the edge of a mostly Catholic Europe, surely they would have been better together than apart? In 1707 what really forced the Scottish to accept England’s century old offer to form a union was money. After a botched attempt to set up its own colony in the Americas Scotland found itself massively in debt and England was willing to help out if Scotland would join the union. Scotland had one last but vital request, that it should have access to trade in the English colonies. England replied that as a union it was essential that Scotland should have equal access to its colonies and that sealed the deal. From then on both nations thrived during the Industrial Revolution.

    Scotland joined the Union for practical reasons and so it should leave for practical reasons, not sentimental ones. It also originally took Scotland 100 years to decide whether to join the Union in the first place so definitely no decision to leave should be made in haste.

    1. robin says:

      Adam Smith has been totally misappropriated by neoconservative types. Who wholly and willfully misinterpret for their own ends his thesis. He uses the phrase “the invisible hand” to describe the motion of the planets.

    2. Derick fae Yell says:

      Sorry, GCHQ, we’re off

      bye. thanks for all the empire stuff. done now though.


  12. Jack Beck/Scotus says:

    Patronising nonsense!

  13. john king says:

    “When I mention Kate Moss’s message to the Brit Awards from David Bowie – ‘Stay With Us’ – many I spoke to even in the “Yes” camp are pleased.”

    Give me a break, no one cares what an Englishman living in New York thinks,
    maybe he wants all of us in Scotland to go and stay with him in New York?
    do you think he has enough room?
    btw Mike Harland this could be the single best post I have ever read,

  14. David Stuart says:

    Excellent write up,Jon (I make you an honorary Scot)

    This decision is so difficult emotionally as I can understand both sides.I know Scotland can go it’s own way but Westminster (not English people)trashing Scotland,too wee,pensions meltdown currency union angers me no end.id love a federal union but labour politicians with never accept this.In a perverse way currency union is like max federalism.Unionists kept devo + off ballot paper to slain the SNP, but now have to look on in horror as polls tighten.Im edging on YES,as NO is a paper tiger.

  15. Stuart Munro says:

    Jon Snow”s report – typical southerner visiting Scotland and reporting back to other southerners. Shetland wanting to be part of Norway – that’s news !!!!!. We hear talk of the English regaining there sense of identity, is that because they are now realising that England & Britain are not the same. I am a Scot who is proud to be British, I was a NO but am now a YES due to the threats, dire warnings etc. from the NO side.

    cheery bye to the south but please feel free to visit us and do remember your passport (joke :-))

  16. Andrew Morton says:

    Is it rather the case the many English people love Scotland but view the inhabitants as an unfortunate accessory?

  17. DB says:

    The British Isles and a British identity will still exist.
    It will just be a new and improved Britain.. not so centred on London.

    If the people of Scotland think they can do better by running their own affairs, and having more of a voice in the world, then what is wrong with that?

    Scotland already feels like it’s own country within Britain.
    With independence, it will get the sovereign government to represent that.
    The ability to elect parliaments and policies that the people want – with the powers to try and make better lives for the people who live there.

    Why would anyone seek to hold them back?

  18. Patricia Reynolds says:

    As an American following this debate from across the pond, I have to say that your comments are quite lovely and demonstrate how well you value the geography of Scotland and the natural beauty it possesses. And since most people value what they find beautiful and breathtaking, unfortunately the case is that England has not valued the beauty that sits to its north nor have they valued the inhabitants of that region and their unique qualities. When individuals do not feel that they are valued.. they leave.. and that is what this nation simply seeks. To be able to share its beauty with the world, to self-determine its own future , not be ruled from afar and to use its natural resources to the benefit of its own people.. to preserve that breathtaking beauty and natural enhancement for generations of Scots to come… I fear these platitudes may come too late for this partnership!!

  19. Chris anderson says:

    Stuff em that’s what I say , good riddance, everything will be fine, Scotland and it’s people are smart enough to look after themselves and my country england will manage fine as well. Wont be missed by me at all

  20. Alasdair says:

    You do realise that Gaelic is still the majority language in the Western Isles? In some areas of Lewis, almost 80% of the population speak it. In Uist and Barra it’s higher.

  21. barbara says:

    I prefer to think of the incredibly diverse and unique country that we all call home as the UNITED KINGDOM. British Isles has an air of superiority which some find difficult . Britishness is somehow not always identified with by, for example a Scotsman or Welshman or a Shetlander.

    Yet we are all together in our history ,our conflicts, and many who have left our shores to live in Canada, Australia, etc. etc .Divisiveness is always a component of political examination. The status quo will be examined in the coming months as will hopefully the machinations of those seeking power.

    I always refer in conversation to people I meet as being from the UK. So let us hope that the Scottish uniqueness will be cherished and nurtured within a truly United Kingdom which embraces the diversity of so many regions. Economic viability must be a prime consideration. We are in recovery , but there is much that needs to be considered I think of banking problems, wars [Iraq] . Hasty decisions without full consideration tend to be difficult…

    1. Derick fae Yell says:

      mmmhmmm. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck. Waddles


      You could at least give us the respect of changing your text a little, between identities.

      The difference between us Yessers, and you paid trolls, is that you do it to pay the mortgage. But we believe. The day after a ‘No’ vote, you will celebrate. We will relax, plan and begin again. Where is Rome? Where Austra-Hungary? Toltec no more. How’s the USSR doing? Chill, sweetheart: you’ll do fine. But you won’t stop us. Not this time.

  22. Dorothy Devine says:

    I always wonder just what moderators consider offensive.

    Mr Harland , may I thank you ( once again) for you comprehensive ,sane and informative comment .

    I would dearly wish that was the standard of comment in the media – but alas no!

  23. Tim Weller says:

    Dissociate yourself, Scotland from an England/Wales/NI that has an immoral and foolish foreign and defence policy; a failing, counter-productive and punitive judicial and prison system; and, a UK that is far too geared towards the US of Aggression with its selfish pursuit of liberty, wealth and happiness for itself, than a UK geared to the more tolerant, progressive and greener mainland of Europe. Associate with, and model yourself on, Norway, in particular. Tim Weller

  24. David Nicholson says:

    Just seen tonight’s broadcast from Glasgow. Much of it was very balanced but not where Jon built in to his question to the students an assertion of Scotland currently being subsidised by the UK. That simply is not a fact which can be assumed. There are plenty of statistics which suggest that the subsidy is currently in the other direction.

  25. Morag M acKenzie says:

    I felt your attitude to the people you interviewed tonight in Glasgow was a little bit patronising. You almost hinted to the young students who said they were going to vote YES that perhaps they didn’t realise this would be like a DIVORCE as you called it. Up here we all know all this. We have been debating this for a long time now. Have you tried to go to a referendum meeting up here? They are held almost nightly & are packed to the gunnels. You’d be lucky to get a seat. The Better Together people are more reluctant to get involved but the public response is immense. People here have become very interested in the political debate & ask reasonable questions like will we be able to get rid of Trident – a big issue here. Lack of Democracy is also another problem – we only have 1 Tory MP at Westminster yet we have to abide by decisions taken by a government we did not elect. They decide to take us into illegal wars with no permission from us. It’s time we had a chance to be governed by which ever Government we decide to elect. The present government in Holyrood have done an amazing job managing the areas which were devolved, extremely well. They are a very capable & bright group so I don’t think you need to worry too much on our behalf. We are an egalitarian & democratic society & possibly a bit more caring than the LondonCentric group of bankers’ friends who are in charge of UK at present. We will have problems, of course, when we get our independence, but they will never be as bad as they would be if we stay within the UK. We are a wealthy wee country with an educated bright population & have helped to develop most of the Western World over the last 300 years. Our inventions & our expertise have benefited the whole world. We will be able to join the rest of the international world with some pride again as an independent nation more in line with our Scandinavian neighbours & hope that we will still be the best of friends with our neighbours in the South. We’ll still all be living in the British Isles but we’ll just have a different government. Thank you for coming & at least trying to understand the situation.

  26. John Russell says:

    Jon. As you said that ” If the English have the slightest affection or desire for the “Union”, they need to shed their troublesome stand-offishness, and declare it” There needs to be actions not more scare stories from Project Fear. If Mr Cameron et al are serious about saving the union with every fibre of his being then where are the actions, where is the new act of union that sets out Scotland’s place in the UK? Where is the new partnership agreement? There has been none, which the Scottish people take as we don’t care, this isn’t worth saving. Actions speak louder than words.

  27. Rchard says:

    Well said, Mary, in your well-considered comment on 06 May.

    Paul Scotland should perhaps learn some manners and learn to be less insulting in providing input to a thread such as this.

    The comments I made did not emanate from any 2011 census on national identity, from which, depending on the questions and how they were asked, would naturally be expected to generate answers relating to that census and only that census. The 2011 census is not the only source of the opinions of the Islanders, a fact with which the rather rude Mr Paul Scotland should perhaps acquaint himself.

    I also know a number of Orcadians, have been there myself and to the Outer Hebrides from Port of Ness down to Eriskay recently, have travelled extensively on the local public transport system, and have mixed extensively with locals.

    There is indisputably something very fishy about the First Minister of Scotland and his Deputy.

  28. RJBH says:

    Hmm Jon I have just read your Daily Mail report from 2012… We were “Subsidy Junkies to then Jon so whats changed? Let me guess it seems the YES campaign is gaining support, if we stick with the UK , Back in the box we go and you can happily forget you were ever in the Scotland that you now claim you will miss. ttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2087122/Scottish-independence-The-way-save-Union-stop

    Shame on you Snow.

  29. Dennis White says:


    Please help!

    Over the decades, I have always liked and respected your reporting style (as a cyclist, I would say that, wouldn’t I?), and your reports on your recent Scottish visit are no exception.

    There is a great and genuine anger in Scotland about the biased role the BBC are playing out regarding the Independence debate. Impartiality has gone out the window and there is a blatant attempt to influence voters towards a No vote. It would seem that, in the same way in which Westminster asked President Obama to say what he did yesterday, they have obviously done the same thing with the BBC.

    On 29th June, a large rally of members of the public, from all walks of life, will be gathering outside the BBC Scottish HQ in Glasgow and a fair covering, or sympathetic understanding, by the BBC is not expected.

    I would be grateful if you, representing Channel 4, could please attend that rally and give it fair coverage, including asking as many and as wide a range of people there as possible why they are there. I show below for your reference a link to the Scotland Big Yes/No Debate facebook page, which gives information and views about this matter.


    Thank you.
    Dennis white
    South Lanarkshire
    A non SNP member who want a fairer and better future for Scotland

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