It’s my Opinion

THE announcement of the date for our referendum on independence last week could and should have been a major event, especially if, as claimed, it is to be the biggest issue facing us Scots for 300 years.

The fact is it was a damp squib, as was the ‘great debate’ later that day on the BBC. Should the nation be subjected to such low level discussions for the next two years then, there is the danger of the electorate falling into a deep and decisive slumber.

It can only get better. Or could it even get worse?

I certainly hope not, believing as I do that there are genuine cases for both sides of the argument. Sadly, neither of these cases were on show last week.

Most disappointingly, Jim Wallace failed to get his point across with any clarity, stuttering through the show with little conviction. He must - and can - do better.

Interestingly, Nicola Sturgeon was also badly off the pace, as indeed she was in a very poor performance on BBC’s Question Time two weeks previously.

Seeing her on the back foot was a surprise to those of us who rate the lady, particularly as the SNP campaign has been in the main an extremely in your face one, challenging any of us who question the case as presented.

Aggression and arrogance will not wow the voters, while accusing us of being anti-Scottish when we present different cases has no chance of winning the day.

But just in case you think I am taking sides faced by such ineptitude, let me assure you this is not the case, for the case being made by the Union lobby is not very convincing.

Because we say so won’t wash, which includes the low key presentation of New Labour’s leader, hanging on to the coat tails of the Tories is no way to make your mark, madam.

Despite its inadequacies and frailties I believe the SNP argument is winning the day, and will continue to do so, if as proposed 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to vote.

At this juncture let’s get this straight for once and for all. Alex Salmond only has a mandate from the electorate from those who voted for his party in 2010, bringing in fresh troops is not an alternative, until such times as we drop the voting age, and that won’t be before the referendum vote.

There is indeed much more debate to come. Let’s just hope it is of a higher standard than we have seen to date.

I’m sure it will be, though my real fear for both England and Scotland is that while the politicians fiddle Rome burns, leaving the real issues to fester away.

We don’t need that lads and lassies do we?

While talking of the lassies I was amused that our First Minister chose to announce the date for voting on the anniversary of our national poet, forgetting that in fact Robert Burns was a committed Unionist, though that’s a distraction we do not need, even if does sum up the jingostic nature of campaign being conducted by the SNP.

Finally I do detect a growing resentment among my friends over the border who in the main are hoping we do gain independence, even my Border freens are not sure, which for them to express such opinions is very interesting, given the years of strife they have endured with the English for many centuries.

Make up your own minds - it’s going to be a big decision.