‘Scotland’s future best served by the people of Scotland living in Scotland’ says MSP Dr Alasdair Allan.
The Gazette Big Referendum Debate is taking place on Monday night and Dr Alasdair Allan - MSP for the Western Isles and a member of the SNP - will be on the panel putting forward the case for a ‘Yes’ vote on September 18th.
All tickets have now gone but you can still see the debate streamed live online. Register to watch the event at: tinyurl.com/nu33qyk
There will also be full coverage of the debate in next week’s Stornoway Gazette, out on Thursday 4th September.
See above for a video from Dr Allan and below an interview with the MSP by Stornoway Gazette reporter Jenny Kane.
Alasdair Allan talks about the referendum on Scottish independence
Island MSP Dr Alasdair Allan has been campaigning for independence since his student days and has become a cornerstone of the debate locally.
On the Scottish Parliament website the SNP politician lists ‘independence’ first in the section entitled personal interests - which is just as well because during this campaign he hasn’t had much time for any other hobbies.
Thousands of people throughout the Western Isles will have chatted to Dr Allan at some point in the last few years about the prospect of Scottish independence, and now he is looking forward to taking to the stage once again for the Stornoway Gazette Big Referendum Debate.
Dr Allan believes the previous debates held locally have been “very positive events”. He said: “It’s been great seeing people coming out to meetings to debate their countries future in a way that hasn’t happened possibly since the advent of the television. In the Highlands and Islands there used to be a big tradition of people coming out to hustings and meetings. That had seemed to disappear, but all over Scotland for months now there has been one of these events somewhere every night of the week.”
He continued: “I think, on the whole, people on both sides want information rather than to see a debate. I think more and more in this campaign people have drawn a distinction between party politics and the referendum, they understand it’s not a debate between politicians - they understand it’s a debate about their country’s future. Obviously I passionately believe, and have all my life believed, that Scotland’s future is best served by the people of Scotland living in Scotland and it’s great to see that debate being interrogated and examined by the public.”
Dr Allan says he has seen the debate change over the last few months, with people learning more and more about it as the campaign has gone on. So what issues does he think the Gazette debate will throw up?
“I can’t predict what will happen this time round,” said Dr Allan, “but based on the last few debates there have certainly been lots of questions asked. I suppose the toughest of the political questions for one side to answer is: who would you rather see run Scotland in the future? An elected government or an unelected government? That question has recurred again and again.”
On what have been the most tricky questions he has faced to date Dr Allan continued: “I don’t find it difficult at all to argue my case. People ask very probing questions, increasingly detailed questions about things like the constitution of an independent Scotland, the finances of an independent Scotland. I don’t find it hard to answer the central case which is that we - the people of Scotland - are in a better position to make these decisions than anyone else.”