As-it-happened: Scotland's future debate on Wednesday, 18 September, 2013

Key points

  • First Minister Alex Salmond led a debate in Holyrood a year to the day voters in Scotland will take part in the independence referendum.
  • For the first time in the UK, the franchise will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote on Thursday, 18 September, 2014.
  • The question which will appear on the voting paper will be a straight yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Live text


  • Steven Brocklehurst 
  • Deirdre Kelly 
  • Doug Kennedy 

Last updated 18 September 2013


Hello and welcome to our live video and text coverage of the Scotland's Future debate at the Scottish Parliament.


To follow the debate on social media use #indyref


Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

"There are two very different approaches to this 'pre-birthday'. Alex Salmond will present this as a key date on the way to the independence referendum but their opponents say there are too many 'high days and holidays' and not enough talk of the substance."


Currently, MSPs are quizzing Scottish Cabinet ministers. Alex Salmond is due to start the debate in the Holyrood chamber in a few minutes time.

STANDARD 1435 Politics Scotland programme

Polling expert John Curtice says Mr Salmond needs these "high days and holidays" to push his case because it appears from opinion polls that there has been little change over the past year or so.


@severincarrell Speculation that @AlexSalmond will unveil half a million signatures to @YesScotland #indyref declaration during #sp4 Sept 18 2014 debate


Prof Curtice says those who say they "don't know" how they are going to vote in the referendum are not very high but he says that the "pickings" from the don't knows may be better for the Yes side. However, he says that the Yes campaign will have to convert some current no voters if they want to succeed in a year's time. The academic adds that the Yes campaign needs to convince people the economy will fare better under independence to change the polling numbers.


First Minister Alex Salmond opens his speech by quoting Donald Dewar saying "devolution was about who we're are and how we carry ourselves". He says the debate over the coming year must be respectful as well as passionate.


Mr Salmond calls for a positive vision for Scotland's future. He says "fear-mongering" will not work. The first minister recalls the dire predictions of the Tories before devolution in 1999.

STANDARD Information

Generation 2014 Members of the BBC's Generation 2014 panel

For the first time, 16 and 17-year-olds will participate in the Scottish independence referendum. See what a special BBC panel of youngsters are saying about their country's future.