Third option missing?

Posted on 16. September 2014


heidi_beha-2012-2015-modifiedINTERVIEW The future of Scotland  hangs in the balance. For the young generation living in Scotland this is a chance to decide on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The matter of independence has encouraged many apolitical young people to engage with the issue and have an opinion. Will they make a difference on September 18? Here are the views of one of those young people who will cast her vote on Thursday:

Interview with Gillian Lester, 29, from Edinburgh.

What is the funniest thing that has happened during the campaign?

When the most recent polls predicted a narrow win for the pro-independence camp, Westminster became nervous. As a symbolic gesture, David Cameron had the idea of raising the Scottish flag over Downing Street. They made several attempts. Half way up the flag fell down and they had to start over again. The video of that went viral. In the end, they did manage to fly the Scottish flag, but the symbolic intention backfired.

What is the most convincing argument on the Yes side?

Scotland has different needs than the UK. Take immigration. The south of England is overcrowded, whereas Scotland needs migrants. However, Westminster policy mainly addresses the interests of the South.

What is the most convincing point made by the Better Together campaign then?

The uncertainty surrounding independence. What’s going to happen? Will our banks be strong enough? Will we be able to join the EU? Will businesses move to England? What currency will we take? Uncertainty is a strong argument. The no campaign has adopted scaremongering tactics.

According to you, which option is better for the young generation?

A ‘yes’ would probably be better for the young generation. Independence would bring more jobs to Scotland. Administration currently carried out in Westminster would move to Scotland. That would benefit young people. Our job situation is difficult at the moment. Youth unemployment is high, and many university graduates are happy if they can find a job as a waiter or cashier in a supermarket.

Do young people have a different opinion on independence?

Scotland’s youth is quite evenly split. It’s not a generational thing and it’s not a question of class either. A lot of young people want something different. They don’t necessarily want Scotland to become an independent country, but they don’t want things to stay as they are now either. This is how I feel. Maybe a third option is missing from the ballot paper: ‘devo max’. Maximum devolution would mean expanding what we have now and handing over more power to us.

Have you decided how you will vote?

The referendum discussion has been going on for two years now. I had always intended to vote ‘no’, but now I’m not sure. I have my postal ballot paper on my desk and it’s been sitting there for a while. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

And what’s your guess?

It will be a ‘no’, but the vote will be very close.