Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Kirkwall referendum debate round-up

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Ahead of Scotland's 18 September independence referendum, BBC Scotland headed to Orkney to give voters a chance to quiz politicians and commentators at the heart of the debate.

But the debate isn't just for the audience facing the panel - you let us know what you thought think through social media, using the '#bbcindyref' hashtag.

Here are some of the highlights from the on-air discussion, and the pick of what you said about our debate, from Kirkwall.

The town

Name: Kirkwall

Where: The biggest town and capital of the Orkney Islands, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland.

Something interesting: The hard-drinking, hard-fighting Simpsons cartoon character William Willie MacDougal III - aka Groundskeeper Willie - is said to be from Kirkwall. Asked about the independence referendum for Channel 4 News, he responded: "No matter which way the vote goes, I'll be angry."

The panellists

Alistair Carmichael: Secretary of state for Scotland and Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland

Angela Constance: Scottish youth employment minister and SNP MSP for Almond Valley

Brian Wilson: Former Labour MP and UK energy minister

Lesley Riddoch: Broadcaster and independence supporter

The questions

1. Leslie Burgher asked: "Would Scottish independence be cataclysmic for the Western world?"

2. Meg Telfer, a retired art teacher, asked: "Will Nicola Sturgeon's call to the Scottish Labour Party to 'reclaim' their socialist roots by voting 'Yes' fall on deaf ears?"

3. Sally Inkster, chief executive of Orkney Housing Association, asked: "A recent poll shows less than a third of women support independence. Does the panel have any theories on why this might be?"

4. Amy Liptrot, a writer asked: "Would the future for the renewable energy industry be more secure in an independent Scotland?"

The tweetgraph

BBC data journalist Marc Ellison said: "There was a total of 1,164 tweets posted during last night's debate in Kirkwall - a continuation of the slight decline in engagement by the Twitterati."

"The total number of tweets for the previous two debates were 1,187 (Kirkcaldy, 18 March) and 1,228 (Kelso, 18 February).

"There were three distinct surges in tweets during the Kirkwall debate, but online chatter peaked following a question asking why less than a third of women support independence.

"The other issue which caused the second largest spike in Twitter activity was Nicola Sturgeon's call to the Scottish Labour Party to 'reclaim' their socialist roots by voting 'Yes'."

You can explore last night's tweets and see what got people talking using this tweetgraph tool.

The tweets

Image copyright PA

"I've started stockpiling tinned food for when the cataclysm happens. #bbcindyref"

mjaei on Lord Robertson's warning over a referendum "Yes" vote.

"I love the way the Left keep citing the Nordic nations, especially when they all have centre-right governments."

Andrew Morrison on the debate over what an independent Scotland might look like.

"Could it be that less women want independence because they are the more intelligent sex? #bbcindyref #agnostic"

Caz Dodds on the issue of female voters.

"Wonder what Wilson and Carmichael would cut to pay for childcare reform under the Union. #bbcindyref"

Liam Donnelly on one of the key issues in the referendum debate.

The arguments

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionScottish youth employment minister says female support for independence is: "Often about the practicalities of life"

How the panel responded to Sally Inkster's question on support for independence among women

Alistair Carmichael: "I think that women are more drawn to arguments of the head rather than the heart."

Angela Constance: "Irrespective of whether you're a woman who stays at home to look after your children or whether you're a working mother, quite often you've got quite a lot on your plate as it is in terms of childcare."

Brian Wilson: "I think women are better at recognising bluff, bluster and bad patter."

Lesley Riddoch: "The utter game-changer that surely must come, whichever vote, 'Yes' or 'No', wins and whichever party wins the next election: we have to get childcare, affordable childcare as an absolute benchmark of society in Scotland because we're lagging so far behind."

The iPlayer

If you missed the referendum debate from Kirkcaldy, check it out on BBC iPlayer.

Join in

If you've enjoyed tweeting, texting and messaging on the Scottish independence referendum, you might now like to be in the TV audience, putting your questions directly to the politicians.

We're taking a wee break before the next debate, being held in Portree, on Skye, on 8 July.

Following that, the programme is travelling to Inverness, on 12 August.

If you would like to be in the studio audience for either of the two debates, email your details to or fill in this form to apply.

1. Name and address

2. Which programme location are you applying for?

3. Which two issues would you most like to discuss?

4. How old are you?

5. What is your gender?

6. What is your occupation? If you are retired, what was your occupation before retiring?

7. Which ethnic group do you belong to?

Other (please specify)

8. Do you consider yourself to have any disabilities?

9. If disabled, do you require wheelchair access?

10. If there were a General Election tomorrow, which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

11. If there was a Scottish Election tomorrow which political party would you be most likely to vote for?

Other (please state)

12. If there was an independence referendum tomorrow how would you vote?

13. How did you vote at the last General Election?

14. How did you vote at the last Scottish Election?

15. Are you a member of a political party?

16. If you are a member do you take an active role?

17. Are you active in any campaign groups?

18. Are you active in any referendum campaign groups?

Other (please specify)

19. We contact applicants individually - if any of your friends or family are applying with you please supply their names and telephone numbers so that we may contact them to discuss their applications.

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