Kinross

Scotland has a major constitutional decision to make on 18th September 2014, when we are asked the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

In the past week or so, there have been three topics that have been catching the headlines and I'll deal with those in reverse order:

Celebrity endorsements

The news-grabbing item here was David Bowie's "Scotland, stay with us" delivered by his proxy, Kate Moss, during the Brit Awards.  I'm slightly amused and at the same time disturbed by some of the reactions this caused. Firstly, I'd be surprised if David Bowie actually exerts any influence over voters. Indeed, no celebrity should - a proposal should stand or fall on the merits of the proposal, not on how bright and shiny the stars are that attach themselves to either side of the argument.  In fact, sometime celebrities turn out to be a bit of an embarrassment - remember Kenny Everett's "Let's bomb Russia!" speech at the Tory party conference?

Billy Connolly has declared that he'll stay out the debate, but in many ways, the manner in which he made that declaration has given transparency on where his opinion lies.  Similarly, Annie Lennox. As I say, celebrity opinions should not matter.  

But what was disturbing in this case was the vitriol rolled out on some forums against David Bowie for expressing a personal wish. No-one cried "foul" when The Proclaimers proclaimed their support for the Yes campaign, but some sectors of our community seem to find the need to try to shout down, often with foul language, anyone whose opinions differ from their own. There's clearly not a whole lot of intellect there: People threatening to burn to their Bowie record/CD collections - the only thing that achieves is a reduction the size of their music collection and no-one else in the world will notice the difference, least of all David Bowie. People who say he (and others) should keep out of it, it's Scotland's referendum and he doesn't live here - OK, Bowie probably spends most of his life in the US rather than in England, but that theme opens up a bigger area of debate.

The opinions of the English (or Welsh) don't count

To the extent that those living in the rest of the UK have no vote in the Referendum, that's true.  But it does get a bit more complicated than that since the rules on who can vote don't guarantee that everyone who considers themselves "Scottish" can vote and that many people who have little or no ties to Scotland will be able take part because they are resident here.

There is, however, a far bigger issue here:  For many people in the "Rest of the UK" (or RUK, for short), particularly, but not exclusively, those people involved with businesses that operate or trade in Scotland, the outcome of the referendum could an appreciable if not profound effect on their own lives, yet they have no say in the matter at all.  I can sympathise with people who feel that's somewhat unfair.  They have a right to their opinion, and they have a right to express their thoughts, their concerns - with no vote, it's all they can do.  I'm sure those hurling abuse at David Bowie would have rather a lot to say if it was the other way round and Westminster was taking the decision on independence and Scotland was given no say in the matter.  The fact is, the referendum affects our neighbours, on the continent as well as in RUK, almost as much as it affects us.  Ignore that fact and it could come back to bite you.

The "Sterling Zone"

EU membership