Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Portree referendum debate round-up

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Ahead of Scotland's 18 September independence referendum, BBC Scotland hosted a debate on Skye giving voters the chance to quiz politicians and commentators at the heart of the debate.

But the event wasn't just for the audience facing the panel - through social media, using the '#bbcindyref' hashtag, plus email and text - you told us what you thought.

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

The place

Image copyright Getty Images

Name: Portree

Where: It's the biggest town on the island of Skye in the Inner Hebrides

Something interesting: There was one unexpected consequence of the opening of the Skye Bridge in October 1995 - it resulted in new residents setting up home on the island. Thanks to the crossing, the pine marten (a member of the weasel family) soon spread nine miles (15km) south and west from territory near the bridge. Apparently, pine martens aren't very good swimmers - they can't cope with the tides of the Inner Hebrides.

The panellists

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Media captionTwo politicians, an actor and businessman face audience questions at a debate in Portree

Keith Brown: The Scottish government's transport minister

Jenny Marra: Labour MSP at Holyrood

John Boyle: Scottish businessman and pro-Union backer

David Hayman: Actor and supporter of the Radical Independence campaign.

The questions

1. John Stoddart asked: "Why are people so focused on the financial effects? Is that all people care about now?"

2. Cameron Tallach asked: "Is pressure put on Scottish businesses to remain neutral in the independence debate tacit recognition that Independence may hurt businesses?"

3. Keith Mackenzie asked: "What prize is independence from Westminster if it is replaced by centralisation of powers to Edinburgh?"

4. Robbie Dempsey asked: "Would an independent Scotland be better placed to tackle poverty and inequality?"

5.Carole Inglis asked: "We are constantly told that an independent Scotland is a leap of faith. What certainties are there if we stay in the Union?"

6. Bryan Clark asked: "Are the BBC biased in their referendum coverage?"

That other thing

The referendum debate was the big show on BBC Two Scotland - but there was something big happening on BBC One too. World Cup watchers saw Brazil get walloped by Germany in the first semi final. Score at 90 minutes - 1-7!

Image caption .... passions ran high in Portree with actor David Hayman and businessman John Boyle making their points.....
Image copyright AFP
Image caption ..... but hearts sank lower and lower for Brazil fans who couldn't face watching their team concede yet another goal....

And you told us how you were keeping up with the football and the debate...

@ElginMorayScot tweeted: Germany are 5-0 up, and I missed it listening to Jenny Mara!

@ChrisRonBurns tweeted: Game over! Might be able to watch the #WorldCup *and* #bbcindyref

@robmurray11 tweeted: Dilemma... #bbcindyref / @ScotlandTonight or #Bra vs #Ger #WorldCup

What you said

Image copyright PA

Alasdair tweeted: Scottish Scottish Scottish Scottish! WHO CARES! It's not about your heritage. It's about democracy #indyref #BBCindyref

Victoria Craig tweeted:Jenny Mara has earned my respect with the most concise and valid points on #bbcindyref

Paul Renwick tweeted:John Boyle and David Hayman are a breath of fresh air on this panel. Passionate, insightful & most importantly not politicians. #bbcindyref

Donna emailed: "The downside of the SNP vs the Better Together campaign is that it means, as far as a prospective vision of an independent Scotland, the SNP is the only show in town. We have no idea what an independent Scotland might look like with any of the other parties at the helm."

TEXT: "Well done David Hayman - your comments have been so sensible and spot on! What a lively debate!"

TEXT (from Craig): "We aren't an occupied nation. We are united and not ruled. Mr Boyle has done well!"

TEXT: "Why do TV always have actors on the panel? They always speak rubbish. His world is fantasy as is SNP."

The arguments

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How the panel responded to Robbie Dempsey who asked whether an independent Scotland would be a better placed to tackle poverty and inequality.

Keith Brown: "Scotland is a very wealthy country and the idea that we can't, we shouldn't, we are too wee, we are going to be isolated - would we in Scotland have introduced the bedroom tax, introduced by the Labour party and kept by the Tories? We wouldn't have done that."

Jenny Marra: "I don't think so because there would not be the money to do it - there would be less money and all the independent economic analysis says that you need the money to do it - the sums do not add up."

John Boyle: "If we are going to tackle inequality we should more or less mandate companies to, over a period of time, move toward a £10 minimum wage. That can only be done where we take on take on these companies, global companies."

David Hayman: "If government is about the humane and creative and progressive management of the resources of a country for the betterment and well being of its people then definitely in an independent Scotland, where the priority is right and with the ridding of weapons of mass destruction, and the need to police this world, we can then put resources into eradicating poverty much faster and much more effectively then on a UK level."

The iPlayer

If you missed the referendum debate from Skye, 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.

For our next programme on 12 August we'll be travelling to Inverness.

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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