Thursday, September 18, 2014

Independence Day or Better Together?

Voting has started. Polls will be open for 15 hours today. Over 90 percent of eligible voters are registered and most of them are expected to vote. Thousands have already voted by mail. The usual voting age is 18, but anyone over the age of 16 is eligible to vote in the Scottish referendum on independence.  

It has been a fun and exciting week in Edinburgh, and even more so due to the referendum. The polls are close enough that the powers that be in London panicked; they dropped everything and buggered off to Scotland to campaign for the "no" vote. It's "saving the union" vs. "controlling our own destiny" depending on your point of view.

We've heard a lot of arguments but most the people we've talked to are "yes" voters. That's partly because "no" voters are less inclined to talk about it. They are in the somewhat uncomfortable position of opposing their own country's independence. The polls, such as they are, have generally shown a narrow "no" lead. Polling is rather primitive by our standards, however, as is the BBC's political reporting. The polls only reach prior voters and those with landline phones so the youth vote is undercounted and the 16 - 17 year olds aren't being polled at all. The polls show a substantial undecided vote but the news reporting just ignores that. Admittedly, this must be a difficult race to poll; there is no precedent for it.  No one knows if the undecideds actually are, or if they just don't want to say. They are voting on paper ballots and results are not expected until Friday morning.

What's best for the Scots? I don't know, but my heart is with the "yes" camp. Certainly the UK will suffer if they leave. The best argument I've heard is that without the left-leaning MPs that Scotland currently sends to Westminster, the damn Tories are more likely to control Parliament.  Here's a selection of political pictures taken since we've been in Scotland including some from a rally last night in front of the Scottish Parliament building. 

 BlogPress from my iPad

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