‘Being part of the union is the best option for Scotland ’ says Cunningham.
The Gazette Big Referendum Debate is taking place on Monday 1st September at 7.30pm and Roddy Cunningham - a local accountant - will be on the panel putting forward the case for a ‘No’ 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 below for an interview with Roddy Cunningham explaining why he is voting for Scotland to remain in the Union by Stornoway Gazette reporter Jenny Kane.
Roddy Cunningham talks about the referendum on Scottish independence
Stornoway accountant Roddy Cunningham has never been very interested in party politics. Instead, he explained, it is a feeling of responsibility that has drawn him into the big debate.
Cunningham describes himself a Brit and a Scotsman but an islander first and foremost and has been a welcome addition to the local debating scene.
The Scalpay born chartered accountant has no doubt in his mind that the economic arguments will determine the outcome of the referendum.
“I think it’s so important that everyone does vote and that everyone votes after looking at the facts,” said Cunningham.
“This is the most important vote that anyone will ever take in Scotland.”
He continued: “My involvement really is to try and get some of those facts out to people. The economic argument for Scotland going it alone just doesn’t stack-up.”
The issue of currency has dominated the headlines and the debate on a national level.
It is also a topic that has cropped up at island debates over recent months and for Cunningham is a prime example of where the arguments for independence fall down.
“The currency question has just blown everything apart because how on earth can people vote to become independent when five weeks before the vote we don’t know what currency we will have? That really frightens me, it really does,” he said.
So what does the accountant make of criticisms that have been voiced accusing the ‘No’ camp of promoting scare tactics?
“I don’t think we are looking to spread fear,” Roddy said.
“What we are looking for is a positive story from the ‘Yes’ side. What are they going to do and how will they pay for it.”
He continued: “They always cite the Norway example after conveniently forgetting about Ireland and Iceland, but we’re not starting from the same point as Norway.
“Norway did start an oil fund and good for them, maybe we should have started an oil fund, but the fact is we didn’t.
“You can’t change the past and it’s also important to recognise the oil revenue has been spent on some of the excellent public resources we enjoy in this country.”
Summing up what has lead him to speak out about his belief Scotland is better off as part of the union he explained: “I feel it is more of a responsibility than anything. I feel quite passionately that being part of the union is the best option for Scotland.”
He added: “I think it is important people make a decision with their head. It’s really important people think it through.”