Scottish independence referendum: Experts examine the claims

With the debate on Scotland's future entering "referendum year", the "yes" and "no" sides are intensifying their campaigns.

But what are their messages and how are they being viewed, not only by each other, but by experts, commentators and academics?

Throughout the coming months, the BBC news website will be picking out statements from both sides of the debate and asking a panel of experts to analysis the claims.

Here, we look at some of the key messages in the Scottish Government's White Paper for independence.

CHILDCARE

Alex Salmond

White Paper says: Transform the childcare system ensuring, by the end of the first parliament of an independent Scotland, all three and four-year-olds and vulnerable two-year-olds are entitled to 1,140 hours of childcare a year.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Alex Salmond, Scotland's first minister, says: "Closing the percentage gap between ourselves and Sweden in female participation in the workforce would increase Scotland's economic output by £2.2bn and raise taxation revenues across the range of taxation by £700m."

PRO-UNION - Iain Gray, Scottish Labour's finance spokesman, says: "John Swinney [Scotland's finance secretary] can choose to put Scottish families ahead of independence by bringing forward childcare for 50% of two-year-olds now and not after an independence vote."

EXPERT - Richard House, senior lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, University of Winchester, says: "This toxic 'Dutch auction" between the main political parties on who can make the best universal childcare offer could well be catastrophic for the well-being of many of Scotland's young children. The survey data actually shows that a majority of parents (usually mothers) would far rather spend the first years of their young children's lives at home than be plunged into the stress and anxiety of juggling both a career and the early attachment needs of a young child."

EUROPEAN UNION

European flag

White Paper says: An independent Scotland would "continue" as an EU member, following discussions with the UK government, member states and EU institutions to agree a "smooth transition". Talks would take part on the basis of "continuity of effect", meaning they would be based on treaty obligations currently applying to the UK, without disruption to Scotland's integrated standing within the framework of the EU.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Alex Salmond says: "In the 18-month period between the referendum and Scotland becoming an independent nation in 2016, we will negotiate our position from within the European Union."

PRO-UNION - Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative Party leader, says: "An independent Scotland wouldn't call the shots in negotiating entry to the EU, nor would it get any special treatment - it would join the back of the same queue as every other country."

EXPERT - Paul Beaumont, chair in EU and Private International Law, Aberdeen University, says: "The Scottish government believes this should be done from within the EU, as a Treaty amendment under Article 48, rather than as Scotland seeking accession to the EU as a new Member State under Article 49. All the other EU member states must accept the amendments required to make Scotland a member state. The Spanish prime minister is unlikely to allow the negotiations concerning Scottish EU membership to proceed quickly for fear of sending a message to Catalonia that an independence referendum there could lead to continuity of membership of the EU. Furthermore, a number of member states may not accept Scotland's argument for "continuity of effects" and insist on Scotland accepting all or part of the normal conditions for membership of the EU. Hard negotiations on substance would focus on the opt out from the Euro, the opt out from Schengen into the Common Travel Area in the British Isles, and the flexible opt in for justice and home affairs legislation. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that Scotland's membership would be wrapped up in a treaty revision process in time for all the Member States to ratify the amendments by March 2016. The Scottish government should acknowledge this timescale is incredibly optimistic and be prepared to push back the date of independence if this is necessary to secure continuity of membership of the EU for the people of Scotland."

DEFENCE

Scottish soldiers

White Paper says: Remove Trident nuclear weapons from the Clyde by 2020 and establish a Scottish Defence Force consisting of 15,000 full-time personnel and 5,000 reservists and a £2.5bn defence budget.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Alex Salmond says: "The great argument in favour of having a Scottish Defence Force is two-fold - one, you wouldn't have to have the biggest concentration of nuclear weapons in Western Europe situated in Scotland, which many people support the removal, and secondly of course, we'd have the right to decide whether or not to participate in international engagements."

PRO-UNION - Philip Hammond, UK defence secretary, says: "At a time when sophisticated military equipment and capabilities are becoming increasingly expensive, smaller, less well-resourced countries often have to make painful trade-offs about which capabilities to retain, and which they can no longer afford to maintain."

EXPERT - Dr Phillips O'Brien, senior lecturer in history, Glasgow University, says: "There is actually more flexibility being shown here by the White Paper and Alex Salmond on the withdrawal of nuclear weapons on the Clyde. The White Paper has no firm deadline for withdrawal, merely expressing a 'view' that they would like them removed by 2020. Philip Hammond's statement is also less decisively critical than might be the case. Nato has already acknowledged the fact that smaller nations cannot be expected to maintain full military services. Certainly an independent Scotland would maintain nothing like as capable a defence force as a full UK, but it would maintain a force that could be integrated into Nato and the alliance would be the main pillar of its security."

BROADCASTING

BBC Scotland building

White Paper says: Establish a Scottish Broadcasting Service using the resources of BBC Scotland, while creating a formal relationship with the BBC to supply the same level of network programming, including Doctor Who and EastEnders.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Fiona Hyslop, Scottish culture secretary, says: "When compared to the expenditure by nations of a comparable size on their primary public service broadcaster, it is clear Scotland's current level of licence fee would be more than sufficient to provide a high-quality service, and as such I would not envisage the Scottish broadcaster carrying advertising."

PRO-UNION - Ruth Davidson: "We pay around £300m towards the licence fee but, by clubbing together with the rest of the UK, we get well more than £3bn worth of programming. Running a new Scottish broadcaster means something has to give - either, it will mean losing programmes or paying more for amazing coverage of things like the Olympics, to great channels like CBeebies and services like the iPlayer.

EXPERT - Philip Schlesinger, professor of cultural policy, Glasgow University, says: "The Scottish government's proposals about a Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS) should be read as a negotiating position. If funding levels were fully retained in Scotland, it could certainly sustain a broadcaster with some quality production. But it would be a small-scale operation and its indigenously produced content could not match the range of that of the BBC as a whole. It is for that reason that what is being sought is a most-favoured nation trading relationship with the BBC. TV would still be very important in offering a common agenda and experience across the border. But we don't know if a future rUK government would take that view or whether the BBC would finesse its relationship with an SBS and say it's still business as usual, with its global image in mind."

CURRENCY

Sterling, notes and coins

White Paper says: Retain the pound in an independent Scotland as part of a "currency union" with the rest of the UK.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - John Swinney, Scottish finance secretary, says: "It makes eminent economic and practical sense for us to share the same currency - that's the proposition at the heart of the sterling zone idea."

PRO-UNION - Alistair Darling, leader Better Together and former UK chancellor, says: "You don't have to imagine what happens in a currency union - you only have to look at Europe to see exactly how it works. Germany is, in effect, telling the smaller countries what to do."

EXPERT - Angus Armstrong, head of macroeconomics and finance group, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, says: "As the two remarks show, there is a fundamental disagreement on the currency issue. The White Paper makes clear that it is not just about using sterling every day. It is about whether the Bank of England (an institution governed by the UK Parliament) offers a full range of central banking services to an independent country. In order to do so, the UK government would require some fairly intrusive restrictions on Scottish affairs to control its risk exposure. The question becomes whether an agreement can be made binding and agreeable to an independent Scotland."

TAX

Calculator and pen

White Paper says: Set out a timescale for reducing corporation tax of up to 3% to stimulate economic activity and to retain and attract new investment, while reducing Air Passenger Duty by 50% and introduce a simpler tax system to cut costs and avoidance.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Alex Salmond says: "The one-size-fits-all economic policies of successive Westminster governments have failed and are continuing to fail the people of Scotland - we perform well at the moment but we should be doing so much better."

PRO-UNION - Alistair Darling says: "If we were to leave the UK we would face the prospect of big tax rises, damaging cuts to public services, or a combination of the two - the nationalists have chosen to ignore reality and to offer up a type of fantasy economics that beggars belief."

EXPERT - William Craig, senior law lecturer, Robert Gordon University, says: "The overview and focus of the White paper is very much about having a variety of approaches to tax raising rather than the standard approach currently operated. I think many would see the intention to be flexible with corporation tax rates by 3% as an attractive proposition for inward economic investment and therefore increased jobs in the Scottish economy. The White Paper also states the need to re-industrialise the Scottish economy."

OIL/ENERGY

Workers on a rig

White Paper says: Retain a single UK-wide market for electricity and gas and make no changes to the oil and gas fiscal regime without consultation. (The Scottish government says it has no plans to increase the overall tax burden on the oil industry).

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Alex Salmond says: "Nobody would seriously argue that the UK has handled oil well as a resource over the last 40 years. Nobody would seriously dispute that Norway - the country across the North Sea - has handled that resource much better."

PRO-UNION - Alistair Darling says: "For the last 20 years, Scotland has spent more than it's got in, with the exception of one year, so if you were to set up an oil fund at the moment you'd actually have to borrow money to save it and that just seems complete nonsense."

EXPERT -Tony Mackay, energy economist, says: "The industry was badly affected by tax increases in the 2011 UK Budget and a number of important development projects were cancelled or suspended. The UK government subsequently recognised that it had made mistakes with the tax increases and has recently made concessions, in the form of field allowances, which have enabled some of those projects to go ahead, notably in the waters around Shetland. The basic position is that the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is now a very mature oil and gas province, having produced for about 40 years. Most - possibly all - of the best prospects have already been developed. The industry is now concentrating on developing the more remote and difficult fields, notably in the West of Shetland area, and these are inevitably expensive to develop. There is, therefore, no case for increasing oil and gas taxes. I believe retaining a single UK-wide market for electricity and gas is also sensible. Scotland is a net exporter of oil and gas, and also electricity from wind farms and other renewable sources. There would therefore be problems if exports to England were reduced, although that might in any case be against EU market rules."

PENSIONS/WELFARE

Pensioners on a protest

White Paper says: Increase state pensions by inflation, earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher, and raise the state pension entitlement age to 66 in 2020 (in line with the rest of the UK) with an independent commission advising on changes thereafter.

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - John Swinney, Scotland's Finance Secretary, says: "In an independent Scotland we would make decisions for Scotland based on the needs of the people of Scotland. People's pension rights will be fully protected in an independent Scotland and payment of the benefits they have built up in their existing workplace pensions would not be affected by the move to independence.

PRO-UNION - Gregg McClymont, shadow pensions minister, says: "Leaving the United Kingdom would be costly and risky for pensions - barely a day now goes by without the nationalists making promises without any plan to pay for them."

EXPERT - Christine Scott, assistant director of pensions at ICAS, says: "The challenge for the Scottish government is to demonstrate that an independent Scotland can deliver a pensions system which meets the needs of Scottish citizens while ensuring that citizens would at least be no worse off in retirement. The Scottish Government's proposals on pensions in an independent Scotland seek to achieve this through replicating the status quo and adopting reforms which are currently planned, such as the implementation of the single-tier state pension. Any proposed differentiation is at the margins such as the proposal to establish an independent commission to examine the timetable for increasing the state pension age to 67. David Cameron's announcement that a future Conservative Government would maintain the triple lock further reduces any obvious policy differences. Replicating existing arrangements in an independent Scotland would not be without its challenges. ICAS has already highlighted that without changes to EU rules on the funding of defined benefit pension schemes, employers would need to make good any deficits held by new cross-border schemes."

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Referendum Live

  1.  
    19:23: Salmond on currency

    Mr Salmond repeated that Scotland would use the pound after independence.

    He said: "We think there will be a currency union because the mandate of the Scottish people is going to be for that and, of course, it is in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom."

    Mr Salmond added: "We are going to have a common sense agreement on a common currency and the Bank of England will be the shared Central Bank. That's our proposal."

     
  2.  
    19:21: Salmond on tax-raising powers

    First Minister Alex Salmond said: "If the No campaign's argument is that we should increase taxes so we can compensate for the Tory cutbacks at Westminster we end up paying for the health service twice.

    "Far better if we are going to cut things, let's cut Trident missiles or the House of Lords or the House of Commons.

    "This underlines the point. To control the health service you have to control the finance and the administration. That's why it is safe in an independent Scotland and under-pressure as long as we remain under Westminster control."

     
  3.  
    19:19: Salmond on NHS

    Alex Salmond told Reporting Scotland: "All that money from health service savings is reinvested in the budget, which is why it is increasing in real terms and will continue to do so across this year, next year and the year after in terms of frontline budget."

     
  4.  
    19:17: Salmond on health

    Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond told BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland programme there were no cutbacks to the health service.

    He said: "They are not cutbacks, they are cost-pressures in the health service. What are these cost pressures? The vast majority of them, that's the pensions, the withdrawal of the National Insurance rebate, are money that our health service is going to have to pay for Westminster to the Treasury because of changes they have made in how the health service is funded.

    "So we are going to have to give money to the Westminster exchequer, of course that creates pressures but how much better would it be if we had the finances of the health service in Scottish hands?

    "Let me repeat, there will be no decrease in the health service budget."

     
  5.  
    19:14: Darling defends Better Together campaign

    Mr Darling concluded his interview by defending the Better Together campaign, which has seen a comfortable lead in the polls decline in recent weeks.

    He told Reporting Scotland: "Having visited places up and down Scotland, having talked to countless numbers of people, what I do know is people want change. There are two competing visions of change."

     
  6.  
    19:09: Unanswered questions

    Mr Darling also hit out at the Yes campaign for the amount of unanswered questions with only two days to go until the vote.

    He said: "There are huge, unquantified risks, unanswered questions. Two days before the referendum, and we still don't know what is going to happen with jobs, with firms moving their headquarters south of the border, who is going to pay pensions, what is going to happen in Europe, what currency we will be using.

    "All those risks are massive risks to families, to people's standards of living, and our ability to fund things like the health service."

     
  7.  
    19:03: Darling on getting powers through Westminster

    Mr Darling argued: "People used to say before 1997, before the then Labour government legislated to set up the Scottish Parliament, they said: 'Oh it will never happen, you will never get it through'. Well, we did and since then its powers have been further strengthened. "

     
  8.  
    18:59: Choice for voters

    On Reporting Scotland, Mr Darling said: "They (voters) are faced with a choice between having a secure Scottish Parliament which you can set up faster in a more secure way, a better way of proceeding than years of uncertainty that would follow trying to negotiate the break up of the United Kingdom never mind the complications with Europe and so on."

     
  9.  
    18:55: Darling on NHS

    He added: "My argument is you can have a strong Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom that secures funding for things like the health service, but if it wants to raise more money to put into the health service it can do so. Either way it has got complete control over the health service."

     
  10.  
    18:54: Darling on powers pledge

    The leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling has defended the pledge to offer more devolved powers to Scotland and criticised the SNP on the NHS.

    In an interview on Reporting Scotland, he said: "They (the yes campaign) are bound to have a go at a policy that they know the majority of people in Scotland want. I think most people in Scotland want to have a Scottish parliament with strengthened powers, being able to raise money to put in the health service for example.

    "We know it is an issue that is of key concern to voters in the referendum, especially on a day when we find out the Scottish government is planning on taking £450m out of the health service budget and they weren't going to tell us until after the referendum. We only find out because someone has leaked documents."

     
  11.  
    18:49: Glasgow vote

    Tom Gordon from the Sunday Herald told the BBC that the city of Glasgow was crucial to the independence vote.

    He said: "It has long been said that the road to independence runs through Glasgow and that's for a number of reasons.

    "One in nine voters in Scotland lives in this city and there are two other big groups of people - Labour supporters and people who just don't vote, there were five constituencies in Scotland where turnout was below 40% and they were all in Glasgow.

    "So if the Yes campaign can crack Glasgow, if it can convert Labour supporters and motivate non-voters, they are probably on to a winning formula for the rest of Scotland as well."

     
  12.  
    18:44: Divided family BBC Radio 5 live

    In the latest from Radio 5 Live, we meet the Nhilzyo family - with mum and son voting No, and dad and daughter voting Yes.

    Meanwhile, 5 Live's Chief Political Correspondent John Pienaar reflects on the influence of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the referendum campaign, explains the Barnett Formula and questions what Trident could look like in a Scotland with more devolved powers.

     
  13.  
    18:37: Yes rally

    Yes supporters have turned out for a rally in Glasgow's George Square.

    george square
     
  14.  
    18:31: Cameron's English headache James Landale Deputy political editor

    Many Tory MPs that I have spoken to today are angry - angry that the Prime Minster has put the union at risk, angry that he is offering Scotland so much. If Scotland votes Yes, some will demand David Cameron's head. If Scotland votes No, they will demand more powers for the English.

    David Cameron says he is not remotely at the stage of thinking about an English Parliament but some in his party are ready to go into battle for one. The debate about self-determination in Scotland is almost over, in England it has only just begun.

     
  15.  
    18:23: 'Ugly' tactics

    Ed Miliband accused the pro-independence campaign of "ugly" tactics after campaigners hurled abuse at him in chaotic scenes during a visit to Edinburgh.

    Mr Miliband told the BBC: "I think we have seen in parts of this campaign an ugly side to it from the Yes campaign.

    "I think debates should be conducted in a civilised way, I think that's very, very important, but I understand that passions run high.

    "What I've enjoyed about this campaign, including today when I get the chance, is meeting people who are genuinely undecided."

     
  16.  
    18:15: New powers pledge Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    It is an intriguing element to this last couple of days. On the issue of plausibility, those who support independence say this cannot be guaranteed to go through. They say in the event of a No vote, the atmosphere would change, that there are grumbling Conservatives on the backbenches of Westminster who distrust new powers for Scotland.

    Supporters of this plan say that all of that is trumped by the fact that it is the three big parties at Westminster - Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour - jointly agreeing to put this forward.

     
  17.  
    18:12: Newsbeat debate Ben Mundy Newsbeat reporter

    tweets: On air!! @BBCNewsbeat gearing up for #bbcindyref

    Newsbeat
     
  18.  
    17:54: Referendum Tonight

    Referendum Tonight on BBC Radio Scotland is your late night round-up of the day's events from the campaign.

    Andrew Black will be looking back on today's stories, speeches and debates and looking ahead to what we can expect from the final day of campaigning.

    We'll also have perspectives on the debate from Iceland and from Ayrshire.

    Referendum Tonight is on 810 medium wave and on digital radio between 23:00 and midnight.

     
  19.  
    17:47: TNS poll

    Over 60% of adults in England and Wales think Scotland should remain part of the union, a new poll has revealed.

    The TNS poll asked 1124 people over the age of 18: "Do you personally think that Scotland should become an independent country?"

    18% said Yes, 63% said No and 19% said Don't Know.

    55% of those who took part in the poll say they care about the outcome of the referendum, while 47% say Scottish independence would have no impact on their lives.

     
  20.  
    17:44: 'Bit perturbed' David Porter Westminster correspondent

    There have been a number of Conservative MPs at Westminster who are a little bit perturbed - let's put it no more strongly than that.

    They are a little bit perturbed that they see these extra powers being offered to Scotland when it has not been discussed in the Westminster parliament and they think that not enough consideration has gone into this.

    That said there are some MPs, such as the Labour MP Graham Allen, who has done a great deal of work on looking at constitutional change - in fact he heads a select committee at Westminster which looks at constitutional change.

    When I was speaking to him this afternoon he said he believes that the extra powers which are being offered to Scotland are a very good thing because he thinks it will lead to extra devolution throughout the rest of the United Kingdom.

     
  21.  
    17:32: Reinvesting in the NHS

    Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil told the BBC that the reported £400m to £450m in cuts to the Scottish health service was "not being contemplated".

    He said: "What is being contemplated are 3.5% efficiency savings so that we prioritise where we spend the money. So any money saved will be reinvested in the frontline services of the NHS in Scotland.

    "We have been doing that for years. They have been doing it down south but they don't reinvest the money in frontline services. We do."

     
  22.  
    17:27: 'Not lying to people'

    The Scottish Government's Health Secretary Alex Neil told BBC News: "We have not been lying to people at all.

    "We are not going to be cutting the NHS budget. We have passed a budget for this year and we have published a budget for next year and both of those show a substantial increase in spending for the NHS.

    "We are under pressure because of the cuts in London, which is why the budget for the NHS should be set in Scotland and not determined as a percentage of the health budget in England."

     
  23.  
    17:25: 'Wriggle room' David Porter Westminster correspondent

    There are very few specifics in this pledge but I think it is more important that it is the three leaders signing a pledge which is on the front page of the Daily Record newspaper this morning.

    That gives them very little wriggle room if there is a No vote to try and in any way resile from that in the future.

     
  24.  
    17:22: NHS row

    Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie told BBC News: "Just imagine if you woke up on Friday having voted Yes to then be confronted by a substantial package of health service cuts delivered by the SNP."

    She added: "What we are promising, if people vote No on Thursday, is a package of powers that is far safer than risking independence. Within those powers is the power to raise income tax. I am genuinely of the view that guarantees the funding of the NHS."

     
  25.  
    17:18: The future of the NHS

    Labour's Jackie Baillie told BBC News: "What we have seen today is the SNP's biggest lie of the entire referendum campaign completely exposed.

    "They make claims that you have to vote Yes on Thursday to protect the NHS yet quietly in secret back-deal rooms across Scotland what we have is the SNP secretly planning £450m-worth of cuts.

    "That's cuts to frontline services. That's emergency services in my local hospital and in hospitals across Scotland."

     
  26.  
    17:14: Business for Scotland

    Yes campaigners Business for Scotland say they have reached "a membership milestone".

    The organisation said 500 more people had signed a declaration backing its stance in the past month, bringing the total to more than 3,000.

    Recent signatories, it said, included Airlink founder John McGlynn, EnerMech chief executive Doug Duguid, Aberdeen businessmen Mike Wilson of Epic Group and Allan Porter of the Searoute Group.

     
  27.  
    17:07: Tea and talk

    BBC producer Scott Holdaway tweets: Tea and #indyref talk with Esraa at Popeyes in Portobello.

    Filming
     
  28.  
    17:02: Political parties make power play Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Perhaps it might help if we took a little look at the pledge of more powers set out by the pro Union parties today.

    The one that was trailed last night by Gordon Brown and covered on the telly and the wireless.

    Firstly, it would appear to confirm the prime minister's acknowledgement that any notion of deferring the issue of more powers - conceptually if not yet in agreed detail - has been abandoned.

    No more talk of settling the question of independence then turning to more powers. The pro-Union parties have seemingly concluded that they must be more upfront, now, about their plans.

    Read Brian's full blog here.

     
  29.  
    16:59: On the radio

    On BBC Scotland's Newsdrive from 1700 - Reaction to promise by main UK party leaders to devolve more powers to Scotland, if there is a "No" vote

     
  30.  
    16:53: More polls

    Scotsman senior reporter Martyn McLaughlin tweets: ICM #indyref poll for The Scotsman will be published at 9pm tonight

     
  31.  
    16:48: Miliband scenes

    Severin Carrell of the Guardian tweets: .@Ed_Miliband forced to abandon #Edinburgh shopcentre walk-about in chaotic scenes: media, protesters & Labour crush

     
  32.  
    16:44: Miliband in Edinburgh

    Daily Mail political editor James Chapman tweets: "Bow down to Miliband, your imperial master! Yes, yes, yes," Yes crowds cry. Chaos as Lab leader tours Edinburgh shopping centre #indyref

     
  33.  
    16:34: Miliband walkabout

    Ed Miliband had to abandon planned media interviews in Edinburgh's St James Shopping Centre when he was surrounded by a "melee of pro and anti independence supporters", according to the BBC's Norman Smith.

    Ed Miliband
     
  34.  
    16:29: Weather update

    It looks like voters in the referendum could enjoy a warm walk to the polling stations.

    Keep up to date with the latest weather forecast for Thursday via BBC Weather.

     
  35.  
    16:21: Miliband melee Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    There have been chaotic scenes in Edinburgh city centre as the Labour leader Ed Miliband attempted to do a walkabout amongst shoppers.

    Mr Miliband was surrounded by a melee of pro and anti independence supporters as he tried to walk through the St James shopping centre in Edinburgh.

    Planned interviews with the media had to be abandoned amidst the scrum.

    Mr Miliband played down the scenes as he struggled to meet any voters. He eventually had to be escorted out of a rear exit of the shopping centre.

     
  36.  
    16:13: Newsdrive latest

    Another hectic day in the referendum campaign across the country.

    Catch the latest updates via Newsdrive on BBC Radio Scotland now.

     
  37.  
    16:03: Fair weather voters?

    Could the weather have a role in the referendum outcome? And would bad weather harm or favour one side more than the other? The BBC's Louise Sayers finds out.

    weather
     
  38.  
    haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 15:53: Referendum - Your Views

    Karl, southern Iraq: I live on Tiree, Inner Hebrides, when not here. We now have a united Iraq, why does Scotland even contemplate breaking its unity with UK, it is mad.

    James, Glasgow: Yes won't be easy, of course it won't, but a bit of change is not scary enough for me to meekly accept all the flaws that we accept if we stay in the UK. We are a broken country, we are not at our best and Westminster is the cause of that, not the solution.

     
  39.  
    15:44: The view from Catalonia

    Catalan language newspaper El Punt Avui has called Scotland's referendum process a "universal model".

    In an opinion piece titled "Scotland: An enviable example" the Barcelona-based paper says: "The Scottish process must from now on serve as a universal model to follow by other nations with similar aspirations.

    El Punt Avui

    The article concludes: "No, Catalonia is not the same as Scotland, something which we know and lament, but the objectives are perfectly compatible as is the legitimacy of the aspirations of their respective citizens."

     
  40.  
    #bbcindyref 15:27: Your Tweets

    Finlay Harris: I am not a nationalist, I am not a separatist...I just want to be independent and be allowed to make decisions for myself..

    Stewart Forsyth: I think a lot of voters aren't considering the impact a Yes vote will have in 10-20 years time. And that's scary.

     
  41.  
    15:19: Markets

    In the latest Daily Question, BBC Scotland's Economics Correspondent Colletta Smith asks how the Scottish independence referendum is affecting the markets.

    markets
     
  42.  
    15:09: Checkpoint Charlies

    An artist has set up his own "Scottish Border Agency" checkpoint near Jedburgh.

    spoof checkpoint

    Manchester-based Jon Parker Lees and a group of colleagues set up the spoof checkpoint "to try and take some of the anger out of the debate". He said: "We're not making a point for either side. We've staged this together as a group of Scots and English."

    spoof checkpoint
     
  43.  
    14:50: Facebook figures

    More than 10 million interactions about the referendum have been logged in a five-week period, according to Facebook.

    The company's figures, covering 1 August to 8 September, suggest the "Yes" campaign has a narrow lead in terms of discussion.

    Facebook

    They cover comments, posts, likes and shares and 85% of them came from Scotland.

    Facebook is introducing a function that allows users to tell friends after they have voted in the referendum.

     
  44.  
    14:38: 'Tory bloodbath' over devolution

    The Daily Telegraph reports that Prime Minister David Cameron faces a Tory "bloodbath" over further devolution.

    David Cameron

    The article follows comments from Tory MP Christopher Chope on the BBC's The Week in Westminster in which he said there may be enough Tory MPs to block any additional powers going to the Scottish Parliament following a "No vote".

    SNP MP Angus Robertson said: "The Westminster revolt against any more powers for Scotland is up and running, and exposes the utter deceit at the heart of the No campaign that additional powers would follow a No."

     
  45.  
    14:25: CBI urges No vote

    Leaders of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have appealed to voters in Scotland to reject independence.

    The heads of the business lobbying group's regions and nations council network and the organisation's president Sir Mike Rake said staying in the union was the best way to grow the economy.

    The CBI represents 190,000 businesses, which employ about seven million people.

    A leaders' statement said: "We want Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom and hope you vote to do so. We believe that the prosperity of all people in the UK would be best-served by Scotland remaining part of it."

     
  46.  
    14:13: Beer decision The Press and Journal

    The Press and Journal tweets: Scottish independence: Craft beer drinkers vote 'Yes'.

     
  47.  
    14:07: Barnett 'unfair to Wales'

    A pledge by the three Westminster leaders to keep the funding system for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been criticised by Plaid Cymru.

    Welsh flag

    A letter from David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the Daily Record pledged to retain the Barnett formula in the event of a "No" vote.

    Under the system, Scotland gets more spending per head than the UK average.

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said the formula, determining how public cash is distributed, is unfair to Wales.

     
  48.  
    13:56: Impressionist Rory Bremner, who supports a "No" vote,

    tweets: Barnstormer by GB. AS 'can ignore some of the warnings some of the time. But not all of the warnings all of the time'

     
  49.  
    13:52: Scottish, British or Hebridean?

    Also visiting Lewis ahead of the Scottish independence vote has been Radio 5 Live's Nicky Campbell.

    Nicky Campbell

    He asked islanders how they feel about their identities and if this would affect their final decisions.

    'Scottish, British or Hebridean?' is available here.

     
  50.  
    13:44: Journalist Shaun Milne

    tweets: Beeb currently has its critics but last night's Scotland's Decision by @alittl was top drawer stuff. On @BBCiPlayer

     
  51.  
    13:34: Brown's NHS 'own goal'

    Former prime minister Gordon Brown has been accused of "a spectacular own goal" over future funding of the NHS.

    Alex Neil

    Mr Brown said on Monday that new powers for the Scottish parliament in the event of a No vote must guarantee the power to spend more on the NHS if that is the wish of Scottish people.

    Health minister Alex Neil insisted Mr Brown had "inadvertently made the case for independence".

    He said: "If Westminster parties say that there should be an increase in taxes, they must say now which taxes and by how much.

    "We believe it would be far better to protect Scotland's budget before the Tories get the chance to cut it in the first place."

     
  52.  
    13:24: Allegra Stratton Political editor, BBC Newsnight

    Have to admit just accepted a Scottish tablet from lady in Yes office, Clydebank. Nanosecond impartiality lapse. Yes ppl are having fun.

     
  53.  
    talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 13:15: Get involved

    Dawn and Craig Cameron email: It's already the British AND IRISH Lions. New name may be a little lengthy but at least this is one concept already proven. Never know, we may even get some Scottish players picked next time.

    Julie Ford email: Currently care for older people is free if you live in Scotland, however this is not the case in England (there is a means tested assessed charge), how will this change if there is a YES vote? It is my understanding that the UK government currently subsides this free care?

     
  54.  
    12:51: Nuclear 'uncertainty'

    The boss of the energy company which operates Scotland's two nuclear power stations has told staff of continuing uncertainty about what independence would mean for the power sector.

    Vincent de Rivaz

    EDF Energy's chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said the company is not "policy neutral" and it is his responsibility to defend its interests.

    In an email sent to employees across the UK, Mr de Rivaz lists the key questions which will face the company in the event of a Yes vote.

    They include the regulation of the nuclear industry, the future of Britain's single electricity market and who would pay for the eventual decommissioning of the power stations at Hunterston and Torness.

    Energy minister Fergus Ewing said the Scottish Government has already set out its position on the issues raised.

     
  55.  
    12:40: Odds on favourite?

    "Polling analyst and political gambler" Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB):

    New post. Why Ipsos-MORI's final #IndyRef poll could be the one to watch out for tomorrow night http://bit.ly/1uF8sDA

     
  56.  
    12:36: Climate talks The Press and Journal

    The Press and Journal reports: "SNP environment minister Paul Wheelhouse and Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie announced yesterday that an independent Scotland will bid to hold the annual UN climate talks.

    "The annual talks bring together world leaders and diplomats with climate experts to help tackle climate change.

    "This year's talks will take place in Lima, Peru, in December."

     
  57.  
    12:24: Sturgeon: Yes means jobs

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a Yes vote on Thursday will help Scotland "secure jobs and opportunities for our young people" for years to come.

    nicola sturgeon

    On a visit to Steel Engineering in Renfrew, she said the powers of independence would prevent people having to leave Scotland to find work.

    She said: "If we have our hands on the levers of economic decision-making, if we have access to our own resources, then we are able to design an economic policy to suit our needs.

    "Too many young people in Scotland leave every year. Now, seeing the world is not a bad thing to do. But many people leave because they can't find a job and we need to do something about that."

     
  58.  
    12:15: Tackling sport

    Rugby players from Stornoway, on Lewis, have been discussing how an independent Scotland might affect the future of the British Lions team.

    Alex Cuthbert scores

    One said: "Whatever the outcome, we'll all still be friends the next day - hopefully".

    'Is sport more important than politics?' is here.

     
  59.  
    12:08: John Beattie BBC Scotland

    On air @BBCRadioScot all the latest on #indyref

     
  60.  
    12:04: Sturgeon on 'funding gap'

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has denied that details of a potential £400m NHS funding gap means the health service is at risk under the SNP.

    She said: "This is a discussion document not a decision document. I'm part of a Government that has protected the revenue budgets of the health service and will continue to strive to do that.

    "It's a discussion document written in the context of the status quo, not in the context of independence."

     
  61.  
    11:55: Newsbeat

    Tonight's the night! Switch on to @BBCNewsbeat's #bbcindyref debate at 2100 with @edibow & @itschrissmith

    Newsbeat
     
  62.  
    11:47: More Brown

    Gordon Brown adds: "Nobody should be told that they are any less patriotic or proud of their country.

    "I want the best for this country."

     
  63.  
    11:43: 'Lack of answers'

    Mr Darling adds: "Two days away and Alex Salmond is still refusing to answer basic questions about what independence would mean. He can't explain what would happen if firms start moving their headquarters away from Scotland, south of the border.

    alistair darling

    "And they don't need to do this, they don't want to do this. They are being forced to do this because of the uncertainties created by Alex Salmond's lack of answers."

    Criticising Mr Salmond on the currency issue, Mr Darling says: "He can't even tell us what money we will be using two days before we go to the polls and it's not surprising that people are scared about that.

    "What could be more scary than not knowing what currency we would have if we vote for independence?"

     
  64.  
    11:42: Gordon Brown speaks

    Gordon Brown says: "For months the Scottish National Party has said the issue is independence or no change.

    "For months we have been saying that the real way to change is not to separate off Scotland but to have a stronger Scottish Parliament.

    Gordon Brown

    "Yes we need change but I think people are going to come to the conclusion what they want is the Scottish Parliament as part of the UK."

     
  65.  
    11:36: No answers from economists Robert Peston Economics editor

    Robert Peston warns Scottish voters in his blog that economists have no simple answer about how they should vote.

    "Here is the bad news if you haven't made up your mind whether to vote for Scotland to become independent - economic analysis cannot give you the answer.

    "Scotland" rock

    "That is partly because this dismal science is not capable of giving wholly (and sometimes even partly) accurate forecasts about the future prosperity of nations."

     
  66.  
    11:31: Brown and Darling in Clydebank

    Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Better Together leader Alistair Darling are speaking to activists in Clydebank.

    Mr Darling says: "We are never complacent but we go to the polls with growing confidence.

    "Because our argument that Scotland is better and stronger as part of the UK is an argument that is finding more and more support from the quiet majority in Scotland. That is why I believe we will win on Thursday."

     
  67.  
    talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 11:23: Get involved

    James Adams emails: It seems that we're now being offered a choice between Devo-max (awful name) and Independence lite. Both sides offering greater autonomy within a shared monetary, economic and trading union. Both promises require the backing of the UK government to work.

    Iain Steven, a small business owner, emails: A pledge, a vow, a Promise even a Contract, even signed by the political masters, BEWARE, even though they are the three party leaders, it is completely worthless. They are here representing the NO Campaign, NOT their parties.

    Tony and Oonagh Godfrey email: We are weary of the Murdoch inspired soundbites of the Yes campaign.eg - all is the fault of Westminster parliament or the views of business leaders who oppose Salmond's views are a set up by Cameron... We in England have no say in the matter. Surely in an unstable world we need to unite and not to return to a narrow nationalism.

     
  68.  
    11:15: Money talks Colletta Smith BBC Scotland Economics Correspondent

    BBC Scotland's economics correspondent Colletta Smith looks at what new powers are being promised to Scotland whether there is a Yes or No vote.

    Wake Up To Money can be downloaded here.

     
  69.  
    11:01: Dundee United chairman backs 'Yes'

    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has given his backing for a 'Yes' vote on Thursday.

    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson

    Mr Thompson said he believed Scotland is "more than capable of being a successful independent country".

    He added: "A 'Yes' vote will allow Scotland to maximise its potential on the world stage.

    "One of our biggest exports and assets has been our people from all walks of life, social and political background - and one of the greatest challenges we face is to grow job opportunities so more of our brightest youngsters stay and work here in Scotland.

    "There is no one better placed to make the best of Scotland than the people of Scotland and no amount of negativity from the 'No' campaign or media can change that."

     
  70.  
    10:54: John Pienaar round up

    As Scotland's historic vote on independence nears, Radio 5 Live's political correspondent John Pienaar presents a lively round up of the latest from the campaign trail.

    John Pienaar

    It can be downloaded here.

     
  71.  
    10:36: More Curran

    "Compare that [the pro-Union offer] with the revelations we've had today about funding threats to the NHS - policies and issues and decisions that the SNP has tried to keep secret during this campaign," she added.

    "We have got a campaign of lies from the SNP who are trying to tell us that the NHS is under threat when in fact it is under threat from the SNP administration."

     
  72.  
    10:35: 'Campaign of lies'

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran has accused the SNP of "a campaign of lies" in the lead up to the referendum.

    Speaking to the BBC she said the joint pledge made by the pro-Union parties today had been discussed openly for "many months" and been "thoroughly investigated". And she insisted it was the SNP who were keeping things from the voters.

    margaret curran

    Ms Curran said: "What is particularly new in this campaign is the guarantee of a timetable because we are absolutely sure in our commitment to the Scottish people that you'll get quicker, faster, more effective change with a 'No' vote compared to the risk and uncertainty you would get with a 'Yes' vote."

     
  73.  
    Text 80295 10:33: Get involved

    Jim, Dunkeld: I run a small business, Scotland is made up of 70% small businesses, I had the self belief and confidence. I feel if there's a "Yes" vote it will bring self belief and confidence, it will encourage youngsters to go into business.

    James, Bearsden: I have no problem about who comes here, [but] where are all these people going to live? Housing will be overwhelmed.

     
  74.  
    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."

     
  75.  
    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.

     
  76.  
    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."

     
  77.  
    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.

     
  78.  
    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.

     
  79.  
    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.

     
  80.  
    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.

     
  81.  
    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?

     
  82.  
    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.

     
  83.  
    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.

     
  84.  
    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.

     
  85.  
    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."

     
  86.  
    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".

     
  87.  
    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."

     
  88.  
    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.

     
  89.  
    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.

     
  90.  
    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."

     
  91.  
    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

     
  92.  
    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"

     
  93.  
    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.

     
  94.  
    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.

     
  95.  
    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
     
  96.  
    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."

     
  97.  
    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.

     
  98.  
    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."

     
  99.  
    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."

     
  100.  
    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."

     

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