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Nicola Sturgeon in Stornoway for Gazette debate

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‘A Yes vote will allow us to do much more to empower Scotland’s Islands’ says Sturgeon

The Gazette Big Referendum Debate is taking place tonight (Monday 1st September) and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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.

Below is a Q&A session held by the Gazette with the Deputy First Minister ahead of the debate.

- How different is it to campaign for the Referendum compared to fighting an election?

There are some big differences between contesting an election and the referendum. While in an election parties are setting out their platforms for what they want to do if elected to office, the referendum is about something more fundamental – whether the decisions affecting Scotland should be made in Scotland or by Westminster.

That significance is why people all across Scotland are engaging with the referendum in a way that is more active and involved than at any time I can remember – and that can surely only be a good thing.

Town hall meetings across Scotland are being packed out on a daily basis as people want to learn more about what a Yes vote means for them and the more people hear at such meetings, the more they move towards backing a Yes vote on the 18th of September.

Every single vote, no matter where in the country, will count in this referendum and all the signs point towards an exceptionally high turnout as people look to shape the future of Scotland.

- Which topics relating to the question of Scottish Independence do you anticipate being of particular importance to Western Isles residents?

Many of the issues that are important to people in the Western Isles are the same as those across the rest of the country – like ensuring Scotland always gets the Governments we vote for instead of the Tory Governments Scotland has consistently rejected and using the financial tools of an independent country to make Scotland fairer and more prosperous.

However there are also issues of particular concern to Scotland’s island communities, like how we can ensure they have the decision making powers they need.

Work is already under-way on delivering more local control for Scotland’s island communities regardless of the result of the referendum – but there is no doubt that a Yes vote will allow us to do much, much more to empower Scotland’s islands.

For example we want to see all of the net income from the sea beds around Scotland’s islands allocated to island communities instead of central Government – but we will only be able to deliver that with the powers of a Yes vote.

- Do you feel convinced of the Referendum outcome yet or is there still all to play for?

If there is one thing that poll after poll has told us, it is that the result of the referendum is firmly up for grabs with significant numbers of people still to make up their minds on how they will vote.

As people across Scotland learn more about what a Yes vote means for them and make up their minds, increasing numbers of those undecided voters are coming down on the side of a Yes vote.

I have always been confident that Scotland will vote to make our own decisions and as we enter the final stretch of the campaign I am more convinced than ever.

 

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