Q&A: Your Scottish independence questions

Independence composite

The Scottish independence referendum debate is once again in the headlines with the launch of the Better Together campaign, which is against the idea of Scotland going its own way.

Those campaigning in favour of independence have already said they want to retain the pound, keep the Queen as head of state and get rid of the nuclear weapons based at Faslane on the Clyde.

The BBC news website asked for your questions about the future of Scotland, receiving hundreds of replies.Here are the 10 most asked questions:

1) Why do people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland not get a vote?

The referendum on Scottish independence is expected to take place in the autumn of 2014.

What are the current voting rules?

Anyone wanting to vote in a Scottish Parliament election must be:

• entitled to vote as electors at a local government election

• registered on the register of local government electors

For Scots living abroad, the rules state:

  • if you had been registered to vote in the UK in the previous 15 years you can remain on the election register
  • that allows you to vote in UK parliamentary or European parliament election
  • it does not give you the right to vote in local elections or in elections to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On the ballot paper, the Scottish government wants to ask voters: "Do you agree that Scotland should become an independent country?"

But who would get to vote? The Scottish government says people in Scotland are "best placed" to decide Scotland's constitutional future, a point with which the UK government agrees.

If the people of Scotland express their wish in a "legal, fair and decisive" referendum, then it would seem unlikely that the UK would seek to block their path.

The Scottish government says the independence referendum would be held on exactly the same basis as the devolution referendum in 1997, which was run by the Labour government of the time.

They say it would be based on the "internationally accepted principle of residence". This means Scots who do not live in Scotland would not be eligible to vote.

The Scottish government wants to keep the same voter eligibility as the Scottish Parliament and council elections.

It also wants to extend the franchise to include those 16 and 17-year-olds who are on the electoral register on the day of the poll, although the UK government, which has responsibility for voter eligibility, is opposed to the idea.

The Electoral Commission watchdog has also pointed out that 16-year-olds may only currently be included on the voting register if they become 17 on or before 30 November that year.

This is because they will subsequently become 18 on or before 30 November of the following year - the period to which the register applies.

2) Will there be a Scottish passport?

Start Quote

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP deputy first minister

We'd have a Scottish passport if Scotland was independent”

End Quote Nicola Sturgeon SNP deputy leader, speaking on 25 January, 2012

Yes, says the SNP, and people would be able to choose to get a Scottish passport any time after independence or at the point when their passport was due for renewal.

Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, speaking on a BBC Scotland debate programme in January this year, asserted that on the issue of passports, people would have a choice, like in Ireland.

She said: "We would have a Scottish passport. My passport says EU as well as British citizen and that's the point. We've got right of free travel. We can go to Ireland without a passport.

"People who were born here (Scotland), who live here, who've got family relationships here, will have Scottish citizenship and others would be able to apply for citizenships."

Your Scotland, Your Voice - a white paper drawn up in 2009 by the Scottish government - says citizenship would be based on an "inclusive model".

It talks of "shared or dual citizenship" and says that "as a member of the EU, Scottish citizens would have free access across Europe".

Asked if Scots could have two passports, Ms Sturgeon said: "I'm sure people would have that choice, but we'd have a Scottish passport if Scotland was independent."

Advocate General Lord Wallace (a former Lib Dem Scottish deputy first minister), when asked if the rest of the UK would be happy to issue British passports to Scots citizens under independence, said: "Frankly, I don't know. It's one of the imponderables."

3) Will there be border checks?

Scotland Forward, a more recent SNP statement on how independence would be shaped, says there would be "no checks or delays" when crossing into England, adding that there would be "no customs posts or demand for passports".

What is the Schengen Agreement?

It abolished internal borders, enabling passport-free movement between 25 European countries.

It was named after the Luxembourg town where it was signed.

The deal is now under review, after surges in illegal migration from Africa and Asia, via Italy and Greece, in 2011.

The SNP says: "Scotland will inherit and remain part of the Common Travel Area which has existed between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, for many decades, and means that no passports are required to travel across these borders, as at present.

"European and international travel will be subject to the same checks as at present."

There is one area which could cloud this situation - the Schengen Agreement.

It is a common travel area which numerous European countries are signed up to - but not the UK and Ireland.

If Scotland joins the European Union, which is the intention of the SNP, would Scotland have to join Schengen and protect its borders from non-Schengen countries?

Earlier this year, UK Home Secretary Theresa May said an independent Scotland could face "some sort of border check" if Scotland joined Schengen, comments which the SNP described as "scaremongering".

4) Will Scotland be a member of the European Union?

The SNP is in no doubt that Scotland would be part of the European Union after independence.

It says: "Scotland is part of the territory of the EU and Scots are EU citizens - there is no provision for either of these circumstances to change upon independence."

How does a country join the EU?

1.Monitoring and review procedure - Candidates prepare for membership with help of so-called "monitoring reports". Peer reviews cover the most problematic issues which they throw up. Before envisaged accession, the European Commission produces a "comprehensive monitoring report". This serves as a basis to decide on any possible remedial measure to be taken by the Commission, in its role as a guardian of the treaties.

2.The ratification process and accession - Once negotiations conclude, they are incorporated in a draft accession treaty and sent to the Commission for its opinion, and to the European Parliament for its assent. After signature, the accession treaty is submitted to the member states and to each acceding country concerned for ratification by them, in line with their own constitutional procedures. When the ratification process has been concluded and the treaty takes effect, the candidate becomes a member state.

The 2009 white paper says: "Settling details of European Union membership would take place in parallel to independence negotiations with the United Kingdom government and would cover areas such as the number of MEPs and weight of Council of Ministers."

However, a document produced by the House of Commons library said there was "no precedent" for a devolved part of an EU member state becoming independent and having to determine its membership of the EU as a separate entity.

It said the question had "given rise to widely different views".

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond has previously said: "Legal, constitutional and European experts have all confirmed that an independent Scotland would continue in EU membership.

"And how could it be otherwise, when Scotland has the lion's share of the EU's energy reserves, including oil and renewables?

"The fact is that the last major EU expansion in 2004 saw 10 new countries join - six of them smaller than Scotland, and six of which have become independent since 1990."

In May 2012, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told a BBC debate that an independent Scotland would automatically gain EU membership, but did not need to use the euro.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson produced a letter from the European Commission that she said showed the SNP had never asked it what status an independent Scotland would have.

Ms Davidson said: "The fundamental question that the SNP haven't answered when it comes to Europe is that they don't accept, or won't admit, that a separate Scottish state would have to apply to join the EU.

"One of the rules for applying to join the EU is that you have to adopt the euro. That is the law, so it may not be within the choice of an independent Scotland."

Owen Kelly, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: "Nobody actually is arguing that Scotland would not be a member and I have certainty picked up no vibe in Brussels that there would be anything other than acceptance of that."

He said the real question was on the terms of joining.

Mr Kelly said: "If an independent Scotland would simply inherit all the UK's obligations, opt-outs, international treaties and everything else, fine.

"But if it doesn't, if that is not what is going to happen, then we really need to know because you are then looking at a period of accession and a period of negotiation."

He said: "If we had the political will I think we could find that out now. We know the terms of the referendum and the timing, what else do we need to know before asking and answering that question?"

5) What would happen to state pensions?

Your Scotland, Your Voice says: "On independence benefits, tax credits and the state pension would continue to be paid as now in an independent Scotland. It would be for future Scottish administrations to deliver improvements to the system designed for Scottish needs."

An SNP spokesman said: "People would get their full pension entitlement from day one of an independent Scotland, that is the government's guarantee.

"National insurance would continue to be paid in line with the current arrangements.

"There are EU rules in place to regulate the payment of pensions in different countries and these would, of course, be followed."

Start Quote

Malcolm McLean

The devil is in the detail of pensions. It's not as simple as it sounds”

End Quote Malcolm McLean Pensions expert

Pensions expert Malcolm McLean, from consultants Barnett-Waddingham, said: "The devil is in the detail of pensions. It's not as simple as it sounds."

He said a change of currency would cause "all sorts of problems" for the division of pension liabilities between Scotland and the rest of the UK. However, Scotland intends to continue using the pound Sterling so that difficulty may be avoided.

Mr McLean said he thought people drawing their state pension at the time of independence, if it happened, would notice little difference, especially if Scotland was an EU member.

He says: "Existing pensioners would probably be treated as overseas pensioners in the same way as UK pensioners living in other EU countries are."

The difficulties, according to Mr McLean, would come with people who have been paying national insurance contributions to the UK treasury.

He said the social security system was based on national insurance contributions, with the details held on a computer in Newcastle.

Mr McLean asked, would the Scottish government set up an equivalent database for Scotland, or would the Newcastle system be used as a base for all UK and Scottish pensions after independence?

Then there is the issue of "accrued" rights, he says, and how they would be transferred from the UK to Scotland and who would be responsible for paying the pensions.

A big problem with state pensions is that they are "unfunded", said Mr McLean.

Despite taking in the money in national insurance contributions, the pensions are paid on a pay-as-you-go basis straight out of the Treasury.

There is no state pension pot to draw on or divide up between the rest of the UK and Scotland, states the pensions expert, who argues the question of pension liabilities is a huge one which still has to be addressed.

On the issue of private pensions, Mr McLean says - although a currency union may remain - the different tax regimes in Scotland and the rest of the UK would be extra complication and cost for pension providers.

Dr Jim McCormick, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, thinks the division of state pension schemes is something which needs to be done "with caution".

He said it was "certainly not something you can do quickly or neatly", arguing that one way forward could be operating different pension pots for pension liabilities from the UK before independence and Scotland afterwards.

He added: "It would make perfect sense for an independent Scottish government to do some cost-sharing with a UK government for people close to the state retirement age. They could gradually move others to a new system. They would want to move with a lot of caution and partnership."

6) What would happen to the NHS?

Health has been an area of government devolved to Scotland since 1999 so the SNP argues it would be relatively easy to continue on the same path after independence. An SNP spokesman also asserted that the SNP would "be more than able to afford to fund vital services like the NHS".

The controversial Health and Social Care Act, which was passed in the Commons earlier this year, does not apply in Scotland.

And Scotland has already gone its own way on issues such as free prescriptions and free personal care for the elderly.

Scotland Forward states: "Independence will allow us to continue to maintain and develop the NHS as a priority service and to ensure it continues to provide world-class treatment."

It adds: "We will continue to maintain close links with the health service in the rest of the UK and throughout Europe, particularly when it comes to the provision of rare and specialist treatment."

7) Will Scotland share services with England?

"Yes, where there is mutual benefit," says an SNP spokesman.

He says: "The key advantage of independence is that it gives Scotland choices, and the ability to decide what is best for Scotland in each and every policy area.

"Under the current arrangements, there are a series of cross-border public bodies, with the Scottish and UK government having joint responsibility.

"Being independent is about building a new, more modern partnership in these isles. It will see the end of the political union, which means that decisions can be taken jointly by the Westminster and Scottish governments rather than by the Westminster government alone."

Pylons Scotland could be part of a UK-wide energy market

BBC Scotland's business and economy editor Douglas Fraser says: "This looks increasingly like being a vital area of dispute in negotiating constitutional break-up of the United Kingdom - the perception that institutions in London belong to the rest of the UK and a new status for Scotland would require new institutions, versus the assertion that Scotland can vote to be independent while demanding a share of the UK's institutional legacy.

"It applies to cross-border energy markets and assets, to cross-border telecom and rail networks, and to the BBC."

In a BBC Scotland interview on 10 March, Nicola Sturgeon, when asked about the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), based in Swansea, said: "The thing about independence is that it gives you the ability to do these things differently if you want to.

"But it also gives you the ability, in discussion with others, to share your sovereignty. And I think the DVLA is one of those things we would sit down and have a grown-up discussion with the UK government and decide that's something we should do."

The Your Scotland, Your Voice white paper raises the prospect of a UK-wide energy market, citing the Nordic countries as an example of "pooling arrangements". It also says a single electricity market now exists between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

8) What would the Scottish Army look like?

Scotland would have an armed forces of a configuration similar to those of nations such as Norway, Denmark or Sweden, says the SNP.

"We would retain all the military bases in Scotland at the point we become independent. The big difference is that we would not have nuclear weapons, allowing us to divert the money currently spent by the UK, perhaps as much as £250m each year, to other, more useful projects."

"Scotland could focus primarily on securing its territory, compared to the United Kingdom approach of having capacity to conduct overseas wars," the 2009 white paper says.

It says Scotland would take part in peacekeeping and disaster relief.

The SNP's long-standing policy has been not to join Nato. However, the party's leadership is believed to be reconsidering this stance.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond says a "Scottish Defence Force" under an independent Scotland would comprise one naval base (Faslane without Trident), one air base and one mobile armed brigade.

UK armed forces personnel could be given some kind of option on terms of joining the new service.

Mr Salmond suggests the SDF set-up is based on the outcome of the UK defence review (which opponents say is odd, given the SNP's previous campaign to retain all three of Scotland's air force bases).

UK Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond says taking British military units into an SDF is "laughable".

Scottish soldiers in Basra Alex Salmond said a Scottish army would not have participated in the war in Iraq

Former SAS deputy commander Clive Fairweather says an independent Scotland would need its own SAS-style squadron, comprising 75 members and taking three years to set up at a cost of £10m. Oil platforms, he argues, are key terrorist targets.

One model of a slimmed-down Scots military operation, devised by Stuart Crawford, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Royal Tank Regiment, and economist Richard Marsh, suggests Scotland could defend itself with a slimmed down military, making savings worth about £1.3bn, with:

• Army one-third size of Denmark

• Navy of about 20 to 25 ships

• An air force of about 60 aircraft, but no Typhoon or Tornado fast jets

• One HQ and two brigades, but no tanks or heavy artillery

• Personnel of between 10,000 to 12,000

Professor Hew Strachan of Oxford University, a military historian and adviser to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), says Scots may wish to leave and join the armed forces in the rest of the UK.

He previously said: "Like New Zealanders who opt to serve in the Australian air force or the British Royal Air Force, or Irishmen who want to serve in the regiments of the British Army, many Scots might find their ambitions better fulfilled in the rump of the British army and so make the move out of Scottish regiments."

Alex Salmond previously told the BBC Politics Show in May 2011 his government would be prepared to share military facilities with the rest of Britain under independence.

He said: "An independent country has its own foreign policy. There's no way on earth that Scotland would ever have participated as an independent country in the illegal war in Iraq.

"That stresses why you've got to have the ability and determination in order to chart your own way in the world so that you don't get entangled into illegal and disastrous international conflicts.

"Many, many countries in the world share military facilities with friendly neighbours and there's absolutely no reason why Scotland wouldn't be prepared to do that."

9) Will Scotland have embassies?

Yes, says the SNP. It would add to the 25 or so overseas trade, tourism and government offices Scotland currently has.

A spokesman said: "At present, Scotland's taxpayers contribute more money to fund UK embassies than many smaller independent nations fund their embassies with.

"A Scottish embassy and consular network will focus more on jobs and trade and promoting Scotland internationally, with benefits for our economy."

The SNP's Scotland Forward document says "too much of UK overseas representation is based on status and power and that's not what Scotland needs".

Scotland already has its own offices in certain strategic overseas locations (Brussels, Washington DC and Beijing) to represent key interests.

10) What would happen to the Union flag?

The national flag of Scotland would be the Saltire (the St Andrew's Cross), says the SNP.

The Scottish Saltire forms part of the Union Flag The Scottish Saltire forms part of the Union Flag

"The flag of the rest of the UK will be a matter for the rest of the UK," a spokesman said.

On BBC's Question Time programme earlier this month, the SNP's Alex Neil said the Queen was monarch in 16 countries and she would remain head of state in Scotland. Therefore he said, the union of the Crowns would remain and, thus, the Union Flag.

He said: "The union of the crowns was in 1603, 104 years before the union of the parliaments. What independence is about is the dissolution of the parliaments not the dissolution of the union of the crowns.

"When Scotland becomes independent, hopefully in 2016, the day after independence the Queen will be Queen of Scots, as she has always been, as well as the Queen of England and the Queen of Australia and the Queen of New Zealand.

"After independence will be self-governing Scotland but we will also have a British dimension as well."

Former Tory Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth says: "The union flag is made up of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom and you can't argue that you are going to break up Britain and have a separate Scotland and still have a union flag."

Can you think of other key questions which need answering? Let us know by sending your suggestions to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk and putting "independence questions" in the message field.

(Thanks for your suggestions so far, keep them coming in)

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Referendum Live

  1.  
    10:16: The day ahead for "No"

    Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be on the campaign trail for Better Together in the central belt.

    Mr Miliband is expected to say: "The will of the people of Scotland for economic and political change has been heard and we will deliver.

    "Change is coming with more powers on tax and welfare for the Scottish Parliament. We will change the British state too, the House of Lords and the way we work together across our nations.

    "I ask the people of Scotland to lead that change of our whole British constitution."

     
  2.  
    10:12: Call for business unity

    Business leaders have called for unity on Friday regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

    The Scottish Chambers of Commerce says, whatever the result, the country must work together to drive Scotland forward.

     
  3.  
    10:11: The day ahead for "Yes"

    Speaking ahead of a visit to apprentices at an engineering firm in Renfrew with Finance Secretary John Swinney, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Only a 'Yes' vote will ensure we have full powers over job creation - enabling us to create more and better jobs across the country.

    "So instead of almost 40,000 young people leaving Scotland each year as is currently the case, there will be more opportunities for our young people here at home."

    Ms Sturgeon will then join carers to talk about the NHS and welfare reform. She added: "With a 'Yes' vote we can ensure our NHS is protected for future generations by enshrining it in our written constitution."

     
  4.  
    talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 09:56: Get involved

    In reply to Gladys from Aberdeenshire on Morning Call, James in Edinburgh emails: It is a valid point to ask if the Scottish government can set up all the departments needed. There won't actually be that many needed as the Scottish government already has most departments either set up or other departments able to take on the tasks.

    In reply to Paul from Dunblane on text, Neil from Falkirk emails: Scotland has voted for the Westminster government 14 times out of the last 21 elections, not bad for a country who never gets the government the majority vote for.

     
  5.  
    09:45: What the papers say

    The referendum again dominates the front pages of Scotland's papers today.

    The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland if it votes "No". David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg's agreement appears on the front of the Daily Record.

    Front pages 16 September

    The Herald says the PM would be "heartbroken" if Scotland leaves the UK, while the the Scottish Sun sees a possible omen for Thursday's poll in a cloud, shaped like a map of the UK - but without Scotland.

     
  6.  
    Text 80295 09:40: Get involved

    Alison, Glasgow: Of course Scotland will be outward looking! We want to be part of the world on our own terms, not via Westminster, whose reputation has been tainted by illegal wars and intransigence in the EU. As Winnie Ewing said - "stop the world, Scotland wants to get on!"

    Ella in Dundee: So many unanswered vital questions. Lets say NO this time but come back and ask again when we have clear detail on finance etc.

     
  7.  
    09:33: '£400m NHS funding gap' Eleanor Bradford BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

    Confidential papers passed to the BBC suggest a radical cost-saving plan will be implemented in the Scottish NHS after the referendum.

    The papers were passed to the BBC and The Herald by a senior NHS whistleblower, who said they had become frustrated by the argument of the "Yes" campaign that the biggest threat to the NHS comes from the UK government.

    They were presented to a meeting of health board chief executives and civil servants last month and suggest the NHS is facing a £400m funding gap.

    Speaking to the BBC this morning, First Minister Alex Salmond described the £400m funding gap claim as "absolutely untrue".

    "Our plans show a real-terms increase in spending - the first time the health service budget has ever passed the £12bn mark," he added.

     
  8.  
    09:20: Morning Call - your views

    Sandy, Ayrshire: I am voting Yes. One of the main reasons for voting Yes is saying goodbye to the Westminster system of politics. I am completely disillusioned. I am not voting Yes blindly.

    Gladys, Aberdeenshire: An independent Scotland will have to set up all the departments to collect all the taxes, pay all the pensions, benefits, defence. They are promising to have all this set up in 18 months - is this possible?

     
  9.  
    09:17: Press gang

    Earlier we featured a photograph of how of Holyrood is facilitating the world's media.

    Alex Salmond media scrum

    BBC Scotland's Emma Ailes has being writing on the topic - you can read her article here.

     
  10.  
    09:08: John Curtice Professor of politics at Strathclyde University

    There probably aren't that many people out there who are wholly undecided in the sense that they really are not clear at all whether they are going to vote 'Yes' or 'No'.

    Really, the battle is not so much about getting people who have no idea at all - there aren't too many of those - but rather those people who have got an inclination but they're still wavering. It's to persuade those people to go in one direction or the other.

     
  11.  
    Text 80295 09:00: Referendum - Your Views

    Irene, Brighton. What happens if it's a dead heat? Pistols at dawn with Salmond and Cameron? That I would pay good money to see!

    Paul, Dunblane: The basic tenet of democracy is that a nation gets the government it votes for. Scotland has not been a democracy for 300 years. A Yes vote changes that. A No vote and we cease to be even a country.

    Larissa, Fife: I feel we are guinea pigs in Mr Salmond's experiment. An experiment that has so many extraneous variables that it is not safe to run.

    John, Stirling: Surely what is now being offered should have been there BEFORE polling started? Almost 25% of electorate have already voted.

     
  12.  
    08:56: 'Scaremongering falls on deaf ears'

    Mr Salmond concluded: "I think no-one seriously thinks that this land is not capable of running its own finances.

    Alex Salmond

    "All of the scaremongering is going to fall on deaf ears. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

     
  13.  
    08:52: 'Mythical package'

    Mr Salmond describes the pledge signed by the leaders of the three main Westminster parties that there will be more powers for the Scottish Parliament as the "mythical package of nothing".

     
  14.  
    08:50: 'Sustainable borrowing'

    Asked whether an independent Scotland would have to pay more to borrow money, the first minister replies: "No, you have to have sustainable level of borrowing and debt. As far as the cost is concerned, we'll be borrowing at Sterling rates."

     
  15.  
    08:49: Economic criticisms

    Asked why many companies and financial experts are criticisng plans for a an independent Scotland, Mr Salmond replies: "Many economic experts take a different view," and mentions Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who recently criticised the "scaremongering".

    He claims the Scottish government is building "better schools and better hospitals" through capital funding, rather than having money "creamed off" by private companies in PFI arrangements.

     
  16.  
    08:39: Salmond on GMS

    First Minister Alex Salmond is live on Good Morning Scotland.

    Responding to Alistair Darling's claim that the SNP is cutting NHS funds and there is a £400m funding gap, Mr Salmond says this is "absolutely untrue".

    "Our plans show a real-terms increase in spending - the first time the health service budget has ever passed the £12bn mark," he adds.

     
  17.  
    08:28: View from the Borders

    Good Morning Scotland has been reporting from the Borders this morning.

    Bob Burgess, deputy editor of local newspaper the Southern Reporter, said the question of boundaries and currency had been among the key issues for people in the area.

    He told Gary Robertson: "We have had to expand our letters pages quite dramatically."

     
  18.  
    08:20: Morning Call Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    Coming up, have you seen or heard anything specific which has helped you decide how you are going to vote in the referendum?

    From the economy to health, from business to currency, let's have your questions and your comments.

    Louise White

    Lines are open now - call 0500 929500 text 80295 or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk

     
  19.  
    08:11: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Darling: "What you have is an undertaking. A promise. That if we say no to independence we will get the change most people want"

     
  20.  
    08:10: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Darling struggling to explain how pro union parties can "guarantee" powers other than "will be an awful lot quicker" than independence.

     
  21.  
    08:06: Salmond coming up...

    First Minister Alex Salmond will be speaking to Good Morning Scotland after 08:30.

    You can listen to the programme at the top of this page.

     
  22.  
    08:05: 'Energised and divided'

    Speaking about the nature of the campaign, Douglas Alexander said: "This campaign has both energised Scotland and it has divided Scotland. There's a heavy burden of responsibility on everyone involved in this campaign to conduct ourselves in a manner that means on Friday morning, whatever the result, we can bring Scotland together and we can move Scotland forward. I hope that is an approach that will be taken by everybody."

    yes/no
     
  23.  
    08:04: More Darling

    Mr Darling told BBC Scotland: "You can have a stronger, more secure Scottish Parliament.

    "Why on earth break up the entire thing? If we vote to leave, if it all goes wrong, we can't go back."

     
  24.  
    08:03: Guardian poll

    More than six out of 10 people in England and Wales believe the UK government should not enter into a currency union with an independent Scotland, according to a poll in the Guardian.

    Scottish notes

    The poll also finds that 56% of those who responded would be "saddened" if Scotland votes to be independent.

     
  25.  
    07:55: 'One-party state'

    Labour MP Douglas Alexander has dismissed Yes campaign claims that independence is the only way to get the government Scotland votes for.

    On BBC Breakfast he said: "I've got two governments that I didn't vote for and didn't support. I've got a Scottish National Party government in Edinburgh and I've got a Conservative-Liberal government in Westminster. So the only way you always get the government you vote for is in a one-party state and I don't think anybody is recommending that."

     
  26.  
    07:53: Darling on the NHS

    Alistair Darling, campaign leader of Better Together, has been speaking about the NHS this morning.

    He told Good Morning Scotland: "What we are saying is if we vote No, work will start on Friday morning on increased powers, particularly to raise additional funds.

    Alistair Darling

    "You can have a stronger more secure health service if we vote No.

    "The Scottish Parliament has the power to spend money, it will have the power to raise additional money, it can borrow more."

     
  27.  
    07:51: 'Massive opportunity'

    Ms Sturgeon added: "They [the pro-Union parties] are treating voters in Scotland with contempt."

    Asked if a "Yes" vote guarantees "better lives" for people in Scotland, she replied: "Independence is not a magic wand, but it is a massive opportunity.

    "We can make life better, not overnight, but over time."

     
  28.  
    07:49: Sturgeon: 'No guarantees'

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been responding to the offer of new powers put forward by the pro-Union parties.

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Sturgeon said: "If there was a serious intention to deliver more powers, why hasn't that happened before now?

    "Tory MPs, including Christopher Chope, have already said they would block more powers. If we vote No, there are no guarantees at all."

     
  29.  
    07:39: 'Faster change'

    Asked if the move smacks of panic, Mr Alexander told BBC Breakfast: "I don't think there's any embarrassment about placing policies on the front page of papers with just days two go.

    "I think the 'Yes' campaign are struggling. They had an avalanche of facts engulfed in assertions last week when it was announced every major Scottish bank would move their registered office to London.

    "The economic risks suddenly became very real last week, and at the same time we are offering what I believe most of us here in Scotland want which is faster, safer and better change."

     
  30.  
    07:35: More Alexander

    "That pledge, that vow that we can have faster, safer, better change is actually a vision around which Scotland can unite," he adds.

     
  31.  
    07:34: 'Best of both worlds'

    Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has denied the powers pledge made by the pro-Union parties has come too late in the referendum debate.

    douglas alexander

    Mr Alexander told the BBC: "Here in Scotland, we have been talking about these powers for many months. What we are saying today is we can have the best of both worlds. We can have a stronger Scottish parliament but with the strength, stability and security of the United Kingdom."

     
  32.  
    Text 80295 07:34: Your views

    Frank, Helensburgh: The party leaders DO NOT have the powers to give away extra powers to the Scots

    J S Crieff: Vote no for stability not this daft idea of independence.

     
  33.  
    07:32: Yes response

    The Yes campaign claims the offer of further devolution signed up to by the leaders of all three main Westminster parties would give Scotland the power to raise only 30% of its taxes.

     
  34.  
    07:24: SNP chief executive Peter Murrell

    tweets: Promises Promises #Rattled

    Cameron and Miliband
     
  35.  
    07:19: Too late? Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    The problem all along, and this is what people would tell you privately in the "No" campaign, is that there is a very sharp argument between independence and all the risks it brings and staying with the UK.

    What they didn't do early enough, some of them would say, is put forward the alternative. They came up with a phrase which they used back in June when they said '"No" doesn't mean no change'. But they weren't clear what the change would actually be.

    Now they are emphasising it, now it's on the front page of a tabloid and some people think perhaps they've left this a little bit too late. And certainly it's quite difficult if you're using complicated arguments to get through to people who are first time voters, 16-year-olds, who have never voted in their life before.

     
  36.  
    Email: talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 07:15: Get involved

    Everybody's talking about it...

    We want to hear your thoughts on the referendum itself, and the two campaigns. Tweet us using #bbcindyref, email us here or text 80295.

    If you are texting, don't forget to include your name and where you come from.

     
  37.  
    07:09: Media village Emma Ailes BBC Scotland

    With the referendum just two days away, the world's media is intensifying its gaze on Scotland.

    Media village

    At the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, preparations are under way to host hundreds of journalists and news crews from around the globe.

    A broadcast village with flood lights and scaffolding two storeys high has been erected in the grounds around Holyrood. From here, reporters will broadcast live.

     
  38.  
    06:57: 'Adds intensity'

    Calum Kerr, of Yes Scotland Borders, told Good Morning Scotland: "Bit by bit I have become massively involved. It's people that have never been interested in politics, they see a genuine opportunity for change.

    "It's a different challenge here, the proximity of the border adds an intensity.

    "A girl said we rely on England - the Morrisons is just across the border. You will still be able to go there."

     
  39.  
    06:49: On the campaign trail

    Scotland's desire for political and economic change has been heard and will be delivered, Ed Miliband will promise today.

    The Labour leader will insist a "vote for 'No' is a vote for change".

    Meanwhile, rival campaigners will argue independence would bring either a "golden opportunity" or "separation and risk".

    With just 48 hours until voters go to the polls, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary John Swinney will be talking to apprentices in Renfrew.

    Liberal Democrat MPs Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander will be joined by MSP Willie Rennie to highlight "the positive things that Scotland and the UK have achieved together".

    Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will be campaigning in Edinburgh's financial district.

     
  40.  
    06:42: Border line

    Good Morning Scotland has been speaking to campaigners in the Scottish Borders on both sides of the independence debate.

    Michelle Ballantye, for Better Together, told BBC Scotland: "I think it's a bit of a nonsense we need to be independent to be fairer.

    "I think the Borders has a strong sense of being part of the UK. Our sense of connection is very strong."

     
  41.  
    06:25: Leaders pledge more powers

    The leaders of the three main Westminster parties have signed a pledge to devolve more powers to Scotland if there's a No vote.

    The pledge has been signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg and appears on the front of the Daily Record newspaper.

    Daily Record

    It includes promises of "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has denied the move is a panic measure.

    He said: "I always said right from the start of this campaign, if Scotland voted 'No' to separation, the rest of the United Kingdom would say 'Yes' to further devolution.

    david cameron, ed miliband and nick clegg

    "If Scotland wants more devolution - and I think Scotland should have more devolution - you have to answer the prior question 'Do you want to stay in the United Kingdom?'

    "And of course that wasn't just my view; that was the view of the leaders of other United Kingdom parties who all thought it was important. Let's settle the question of separation and then look at devolution."

     
  42.  
    06:13: Good Morning Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to Referendum Live, your minute-by-minute guide to all today's news, comment and analysis from both sides of the campaign.

    With just two full days of campaigning left, and with the polls so close, the stakes couldn't be higher.

     

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