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Scottish independence referendum: Decision day approaches

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael outlines why deciding how to vote in the referendum is not a decision to be taken lightly.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

saltire and clouds

After a long campaign, decision day is nearly here. In just a month, voters in Scotland will go to the polls to decide our nation’s future.

It’s an irreversible decision and not one to be taken lightly. Nor is it one to be made on a whim or without thought of the consequences – and these could be far-reaching.

This is not like a general election. There will be no second chances and no trial run. We can’t go back into the polling booth in five years’ time and vote to return to the United Kingdom. If Scotland votes yes, the rest of the United Kingdom will continue without Scotland and the union which has served us so well for 300 years will be no more.

Because it’s such an important decision I really feel it’s incumbent on all of us to make an informed choice. Future generations won’t thank us if we make the wrong decision.

And it’s not hard to get the facts you need. There’s a wealth of information out there and leaflets from both sides of the debate have been delivered to every Scottish household as well as an impartial guide from the Electoral Commission.

Here are three questions which I think everyone should ask themselves before they head into the polling booths:

  1. Do you know what currency you would have in your pocket in the event of an independent Scotland? All three main UK parties have already ruled out the possibility of a currency union. What would this mean for you? The currency is not like a CD collection to be divided up at the point of divorce.
  2. How would your pension and mortgage be affected by a vote for independence? The UK’s broad shoulders and strong financial position mean lower interest rates and more secure pensions. You’ve been paying for these major assets most of your life so it’s vital you are confident what will happen to them.
  3. Are you confident that you’re making the right decision – not just for Scotland’s future but for your children and grandchildren and generations to come? Voting for independence is a one way ticket and there will be no going back.

As we prepare for the final push in the independence referendum campaign, one thing which nobody should be in any doubt about is that we are standing on the brink of history. The clock is ticking and our date with destiny is drawing nearer.

Published 18 August 2014