Scottish referendum – the local views

The Scottish referendum takes place today, Thursday.
The Scottish referendum takes place today, Thursday.

Scotland is set for one of the biggest days in its history today – a referendum on whether to become an independent country. Guardian reporter Gayle Rouncivell speaks to two local people with very differing views.


Scottish wrestler Ryan Gordon, is in favour of a 'Yes' vote. Photo by Tony Knox.

Scottish wrestler Ryan Gordon, is in favour of a 'Yes' vote. Photo by Tony Knox.

Civil servant and wrestler Ryan Gordon, 25, is originally from Edinburgh but has lived in England, latterly Lancaster, for seven years.

He said: “Initially I was hesitant and leaning towards “no” to be honest.

“Part of the The Better Together campaign and the “no” campaign I can completely understand, especially the potential economic repercussions.

“But I think scare tactics are being used, and getting the Queen involved to help sway people was out of order.

Allan Muirhead.

Allan Muirhead.

“From a political point of view I just don’t think it’s fair that policies from Westminster can dictate Scotland.

“There’s one one Tory MP in Scotland yet they can dictate what happens, just because we share the same island.

“I think people in Scotland should be able to decide their own issues and at least then they can only blame themselves.

“I am not necessarily anti-Tory but I just don’t see how a party that has no political sway in Scotland can dictate what happens in Scotland.

“The reason I initially veered towards the Better Together campaign was because of Labour. The majority of people in the north of England probably feel the same as the Scots, that they have been let down.

“In theory there could be an eternal Tory rule without the support of Scotland.

“But it’s about having the right to decide Scotland’s issues by Scottish people.

“We already have our own legal and education systems and we were given our own parliament in 1999; the natural progression is that we want more and I don’t see why we shouldn’t be allowed to have it.

“There would obviously be teething problems and some areas would have to be restructured to take account of the lack of Westminster backing but I don’t think we would suffer too much.

“I don’t think independence is a bad thing and if it happens I think it might make English people question the fairness of their system more.

“Why should people sitting in London decide matters taking place hundreds of miles away?”


Retired journalist Allan Muirhead, 76, is originally from Glasgow but was brought up in Ayrshire. He has lived in the north of England for 40 years and currently lives in Kirkby Lonsdale with his wife Elizabeth, who is from Dumfriesshire. Allan is chairman of Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council. He has two children, a son born in Scotland and a daughter born in England.

He said: “My heart says “yes” but my head says “no”.

“It’s a nonsense as far as I am concerned. I would have been much more personally for the campaign if they had been able to give straight answers to all the implications and risks.

“To try to tell us everything would be rosy I find misleading.

“I don’t see how the country can be independent when they still have to depend on the Bank of England for their money and having a Queen of England.

“It’s Scottish romanticism of the 18th or 19th Century and I just don’t see it as being practical.

“If the vote is “yes” I shudder to think what my country will go through in the next few years. It will be a very sad day if it goes ahead.

“They will find out very quickly that dealing with Europe will be much harder for them than being part of the UK.

“I think there are one or two things done unfairly. They have given the vote to everyone who qualifies by living in Scotland.

“That means the majority of the decision comes from non-Scots residents.

“In the UK Scots should have been offered the chance to have a say in their country.

“There also should have been a single majority decision. If on Friday morning it’s as close a call as 49/51, that’s going to be a divided country.

“To go for a one per cent margin is going to cause a lot of harm.

“I have got family in Scotland who are split over this and it’s not going to be resolved if they have to put up with a 49/51 split.

“It will also do terrible things to the relationship with England. It has been turned into an England v Scotland war which has brought it down to a cheap level and does neither side any good at all.

“I think a “yes” vote would also spark a serious political upheaval in the north of England and the Midlands.

“There’s dissatisfaction with what Westminster doles out and people will say “can we not do the same as Scotland?”

“Whatever does happen it puts the focus on the need for local determination and that will cause a serious debate.

“I do think it’s wrong that a Scottish MP can decide what someone on the Isle of Wight pays for school fees.

“People would all be much happier making their own decisions.”

* If Scotland DOES vote yes for independence at the referendum, it will become independent in March 2016 and in May the very first election for a Scottish Parliament will be held, elected under the current system of regional party lists and constituency first-past-the-post.

The new Parliament would then become responsible from May 6 for creating a Constitutional Convention to determine how newly-independent Scotland will be governed.