40 musicians answer the Scottish independence question

With just 500 days until Scotland’s independence referendum takes place on September 18, 2014, The Pop Cop asked 40 musicians from the Scottish music scene the same question that will be on the ballot – “Should Scotland be an independent country?” – giving each of them the choice of ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Undecided’ and inviting them to explain their answer.

From the 40 surveyed, the results were: 13 Yes, 7 No, 20 Undecided.

Jamie Sutherland, Broken RecordsJamie Sutherland – Broken Records (09/04/13)
A bit of a head and heart thing here. The heart says ‘Yes’, absolutely, as to have the chance to have a completely independent national dialogue with no outside influence is in many ways the dream. However, the head says that I have never seen a set of figures or old-fashioned business plan that has convinced me we have what it takes to truly be a success as an independent country, and indeed I can’t see the brain drain of Scottish ingenuity stopping if we were to become independent. We would still lose our best people to London and other big financial/cultural centres of the world, yet now receive no benefit for it. Also, the tone of the independence campaign, and specifically the SNP, has left me cold in the purity of its ideals. To paraphrase that renowned philosopher Slaven Bilic (Croatian football coach) when referencing his own country’s problems with its neighbours, you should define being Scottish by what you are for, not what you are against. To simply want to throw two fingers up to those down south seems like the ultimate form of shooting ourselves in the foot.

Dan Willson, Withered HandDan Willson – Withered Hand (09/04/13)
It’s a rare thing for nations to be joined in a Union of peace and relative prosperity to be neighbours for such a long time and if we ever lose that, it’s likely to be gone for good. I have yet to be convinced that independence will automatically be a good thing for Scotland. I often think it’s more helpful to think in terms of what we have in common with our neighbours in England than what we have apart. I will admit, however, that the current truly pitiful state of the coalition UK government and the lack of serious leftist political opposition in Westminster has recently led me to reconsider my stance on independence on those grounds alone. Therefore I am currently undecided.

Kenny Anderson, King CreosoteKenny Anderson – King Creosote (10/04/13)
For lack of a compelling argument.



Katie SutherlandKatie Sutherland (11/04/13)
It makes sense to me. It’s wise to take this opportunity and place this country in our own hands. Scotland elected one Tory MP in the last general election yet still there is a Tory government in power. We need a fairer future. Surely we want to build the type of country we want our children and further generations to live in?

Craig B, The Unwinding HoursCraig B – The Unwinding Hours (11/04/13)
It seems quite clear that we need an alternative to what is on offer right now. My faith in the potential for public engagement was completely trampled by Tony Blair and the Labour government’s decision to enter into a completely unjustified war in spite of widespread protest. I will never forget the lies and flimsy reasoning used to connect this country with the invasion of another. The Conservatives have just continued in their predictably distasteful pursuit of personal gain, looking after the financial sector over and above the concerns of the greater public, with so little concern for the vulnerable or how most families live on a day-to-day basis. I see independence for Scotland as a possible alternative but I’m basing that on the failure of other parties. I don’t want to swap one government for another that disregards the needs of the people in an attempt to cosy up to the requirements of powerful businesses or financial institutions. I want a clear commitment from Scottish independent candidates that there will be a different approach. If an independent Scotland is to become a reality then it must be with open, transparent intentions and clearly defined economic strategies. I’m happy to remain undecided so that those wanting power have to convince me this is the right way forward for everyone and not only the elite few.

Rab Allan, GlasvegasRab Allan – Glasvegas (11/04/13)
At the moment, Scotland is run by a government that the majority of us did not vote for. Until we have independence we will never live in a fair, democratic society. Every country should have the right to make its own decisions based on its own values. It has been made apparent time and again that our priorities, our needs and our values are not always the same as people living in the rest of the UK. Yes, we are a small country but we have always been a country of pioneers who have led the way in science, engineering and so many other fields, not least music and the arts. We are an intelligent country full of character and determination with wealthy natural resources and are more than capable of shaping our own future. The future that we want, not the future someone else decides we deserve.

Sanjeev Kohli, The Grand GesturesSanjeev Kohli – The Grand Gestures (15/04/13)
Reasons? Politically and fiscally, there are too many undecided variables – will Scotland get ALL the Caramel Wafer revenue? Will it be backdated? Culturally, I like to flip between Scottish and British; when I hear Belle & Sebastian or Chic Murray or Ivor Cutler I’m proud to be a Scot; when I hear Portishead or Jarvis Cocker or the work of Chris Morris I’m proud to be a Brit; and whenever I see Piers Morgan’s face I’m proud to be a Lithuanian. I do feel, though, that Scotland projects enough of a sense of Scottishness without independence.

Dave Hook, Stanley OddDave Hook – Stanley Odd (15/04/13)
I take exception to decisions regarding Scotland being decided by a parliament in Westminster and I have concerns about issues such as taxation and revenue generation being centrally controlled and handed out to the Scottish government, but I am not sure whether complete independence is the answer or whether further devolved powers within the UK would be sufficient. The stability and success of other small European countries such as Norway and Sweden are encouraging and I find the equality of wages in Scandinavia to be very appealing in terms of quality of life for all of society. However, I also have concerns with regards to Scotland’s GDP. I am not clear on how the oil revenue would be distributed were Scotland to vote for independence and it is not apparent to me what our major exports would be. I feel I need to see more hard facts regarding what would happen with the country economically in order to make an informed decision. I am completely in favour of scrapping Trident and removing nuclear arms from Scotland, so that would certainly be another reason I would consider a ‘Yes’ vote.

Barrie-James O’Neill, KassidyBarrie-James O’Neill – Kassidy (15/04/13)
I’m not really convinced anyone would notice much of a difference if it did happen. I’m sure it would be beneficial to the ghosts behind the scenes. I see voting as like an illusion – an imaginary change, people feeling like they are involved in things going on in their country when really it’s always out of our hands. It’s a lot like writing a letter to Santa Claus. Better to have an imaginary friend.

Ross Leighton, FathersonRoss Leighton – Fatherson (16/04/13)
If people are looking for a stronger feeling of national identity then independence is probably for them. I just wouldn’t want to see us bite off more than we can chew. There’s always going to be a risk in this kind of situation but I really don’t know enough about the ins and outs to give an educated answer. But I do know that for bands touring the UK, getting caught up at customs going into England from Scotland would become a total nightmare!

Kerr Okan, The LaFontainesKerr Okan – The LaFontaines (17/04/13)
From what reliable information I can gather we would thrive as an independent country but it comes down to representation and the lack of voice we currently have in the UK. It’s demonstrated year after year how little say Scotland has in electing our Prime Minister. How can we expect to progress and better ourselves as a nation or have our views represented at an international level when we’re under the thumb of a party practically no one up here wanted or agrees with?

Susie Smillie, Olympic SwimmersSusie Smillie – Olympic Swimmers (18/04/13)
I haven’t decided yet, because I don’t need to – not for another year. When it comes to voting I want to feel confident I’ve made an informed decision, that I’ve read as much as I can (and I don’t mean other people’s Facebook updates), that I’ve tried to understand what both decisions would mean not just for Scotland but for the other countries of the UK because it’s important to consider the impact on them too. I’m uncomfortable with ‘us and them’. I’ve never felt British, I’ve only ever felt Scottish – but that’s not a good enough reason for me to vote ‘Yes’. I love Scotland, I love its beauty, its history, its culture, its community, I feel connected to it – but that’s also not a good enough reason for me to vote ‘Yes’. I’ve never given my vote to either of the parties that have governed the UK in my lifetime (I’m not even sure I know many people who have), I’ve never felt represented by them, I’ve never felt that their ideology was aligned with my beliefs, I’ve often been ashamed of them and the decisions they’ve made in my name – but that’s also not a good enough reason to make me vote ‘Yes’. Ultimately I want my decision to be based on what seems right for the future of Scotland and the UK, not based on the past. Ask me again in a year and I hope I can give you a more definitive answer.

James YorkstonJames Yorkston (21/04/13)
I believe Scotland is a distinct country and should be governed by the people who inhabit Scotland and have the best interests of Scotland at heart.


Gerard Love, Teenage Fanclub, LightshipsGerard Love – Teenage Fanclub/Lightships (22/04/13)
I’m pro-independence but I’m also aware of the many benefits of being part of the United Kingdom. Maybe as things become clearer in the run-up to the referendum I might be able to form a real opinion but at the moment my mind isn’t made up and I’m still not sure how I’ll vote.

John Cummings, MogwaiJohn Cummings – Mogwai (22/04/13)
Countries should be independent. Scotland is a country.

Emma PollockEmma Pollock (23/04/13)
I’ve never really been one for politics. The whole thing reminds me of being back in the school playground trying to negotiate my way through endless shifting seas of loyalty, betrayal and the occasional fist fight when blood ran high. Everything about it seems utterly confused and diluted by ulterior motive, manipulation and underhand tactics. The Scottish independence debate has, however, grabbed my attention. The devolved Scottish parliament has achieved a lot of great things, and I like the fact it can represent a country that has a subtly different way of looking at things when compared to its Union neighbours. We are becoming more at ease with taking control over national issues and this control is now jealously guarded as we witness increased division between approaches in England & Wales and Scotland with regards to health care, education and elements of social reform. To be continually dictated to by a party we did not choose will be harder to bear as the years progress. I am, as I suspect many are, nervous of voting ‘Yes’ just because it’s a nice idea to rule your own roost and it is of course human nature to want to divide and then subdivide geographical areas of power into smaller and smaller areas to give more localised control. We still have no real understanding of the fiscal and economic impact and given the recent currency row I can only imagine what other complications will be thrown up by both sides between now and the referendum. No-one, therefore, can tell us exactly what we will be walking into but on balance it seems increasingly worth taking the chance on.

Rachel SermanniRachel Sermanni (23/04/13)
The reason I think ‘Yes’ is curiosity. I’m curious to see what happens. I know enough of history to know that this would be a very pivotal event. I’m not very confident in our Scottish government. They would really need to work for things to work. But I’d be intrigued to see how strong the communities become with a stronger sense of self-reliance and identity. I’d like to see if becoming a smaller ‘company’ brings more focus and understanding, and makes the government’s grounding more human, personal and innovative. Curiosity. That’s it for me.

Karine PolwartKarine Polwart (24/04/13)
I’m not sure if the question ought to be whether Scotland should be an independent country. I think an independent Scotland could be – and needs to be. Better than this supposedly ‘together’ UK that seems hell-bent on driving us apart from each other. But it’s up to the people who live here to make it that way. There’s no certainty, only a once-in-my-lifetime opportunity. Visceral alienation from Westminster – and from neoliberal policies that engender cruelty, indignity and inequality (the abandonment of the NHS, welfare reform propaganda) – is the heart of it for me. I observe a profound and permanent erosion of communitarian values amongst the political and economic elite at UK level. And I sense something different here: an opportunity, with extended powers to a parliamentary infrastructure that already manages a whack of our affairs, to reassert those values as the underpinning for a whole country. Of course, the taxes we need to support a caring, compassionate, creative and sustainable society depend upon a thriving economy. But it’s not all about whether each individual or family will be better or worse off. The American songwriter Si Kahn sums it up for me:
It’s not just what you’re born with
It’s what you choose to bear
It’s not how big your share is
But how much you can share
And it’s not the fights you dreamed of
But those you really fought
It’s not what you’ve been given
It’s what you do with what you’ve got

Justin CurrieJustin Currie (24/04/13)
I don’t like the Scots. I don’t like them at all. They’re close-lipped, tight-fisted, pass-remarkable and bad at football. They’re cold-hearted and hot-tempered, they’re mottle-fleshed and pig-headed. They’re drunkards, cowards and traitors. They’re lily-livered, if you like. They’re bad losers, ill-mannered, foul-breathed and mean-spirited. They’re past caring, they’re beyond reprieve, they’re the snot on England’s sleeve. They’ve ruined everything, left us wanting. They’ve taken all that’s good and made it tawdry, they’ve spoilt the country, closed their ears to the plight of many, they’re blinded by the smell of money. They’re pigs-in-shit, you’ll never hear the end of it. Fucking Flower Of Scotland, stupid tartan tea-cup morons. They’re everywhere, the little shits, trying to stir it up, get their little bit of something rotten. Do you want a country of your own ­ with a queen and an army and a god maybe to treasure and inspire when it’s time to go to war? Are you ready to be told by some fool who talks like you but has the morals of a goat? Well, I’m not and I don’t and I won’t, I won’t, I won’t.

Gibran Farrah,There Will Be FireworksGibran Farrah – There Will Be Fireworks (25/04/13)
The reason I’m undecided on independence is pretty simple: I’m very indecisive. However, no-one has yet made a genuinely convincing argument for or against independence. The ‘No’ campaign is hopelessly negative. The essence of their campaign is that Scotland can’t survive independence. That we rely on being part of the UK, and that we ‘get more than we put in’. I haven’t seen it articulated quite as bluntly as that but it’s definitely implied, and I hate that. Not only do I think it’s not true but it plays to the cynical side in all of us. In saying that, I feel the ‘Yes’ campaign is a little too positive. I’d be more convinced by arguments which addressed some of the current problems our country faces and suggested why independence would make them easier to tackle. There is a reason I’m leaning towards a ‘Yes’, though. The one argument I do find appealing is that Scotland should be governed by its own people, and that this could mean more policies created from a Scottish outlook. As a nation, we’ve shown ourselves to be far more socially democratic than the rest of the UK so, as a bit of lefty liberal sort, I’d hope we could create a more liberal and socially aware society than we ever could as part of the UK.

Stuart Murdoch, Belle & SebastianStuart Murdoch – Belle & Sebastian (26/04/13)
Mmm, I don’t know. I used to know. I was for the Union. Back in the day when it felt like Scotland proudly kept the UK leaning left, I was for the Union. What would happen if we left and took our 40+ Labour seats with us? Our poor brothers and sisters in England would be left with a Conservative government for all time. That was my simple assessment. But as Scots, are we in fact as groovy and righteous as perhaps we think we are? And are we all that socialist? Could it partly be an easy anti-London/UK/establishment thing we have going on? Our bluff is about to be called. It’s ‘piss or get off the pot’ time. And please don’t let it be said that we wouldn’t somehow ‘make it’ as an independent democracy. We would. It’s really not that hard. We did it before and we’d do it again. And would we be better off? Frankly, I don’t care. I hate that question. You might be down or up a few quid at the end of the year, but is that worth getting passionate about? I feel like I’m ready to fall in with whatever the country wants to do… BUT… when a body of people votes overwhelmingly against the people who make the laws and spend the taxes, something’s got to give. We’ve got a vote, and we should keep debating. And it should go beyond flags and currencies, teams and armies. What sort of country do we want? Are we happy that the gap between poor and rich keeps getting bigger? Are we happy with the UK’s brand of unbridled capitalism? Could we come up with something better? We’re certainly no better than the English, or the Welsh or the Irish. We just might be a bit different.

Stewart Brock, PridesStewart Brock – Prides/Kitty The Lion (26/04/13)
I’m originally from Stoke-on-Trent but both my parents are Scottish and I’ve lived here for nearly 10 years. I don’t see a particular Scottish/English distinction with the people I know. I regard myself as British more than English. I don’t see how separating is going to solve anything. Scotland is a beautifully patriotic country but a lot of people take that a little too far. I know people who have said they’ll vote ‘Yes’ because “England were bastards to us a long time ago”, but it’s not really a good reason. They are going on a gut reaction about how they feel about England rather than how they feel about, say, economics. The problem is that most people don’t know enough about the issue. I’ve certainly not had the benefits explained to me. A lot of people see independence as some kind of solution to something, but they’re not really sure what.

Kobi OnyameKobi Onyame (27/04/13)
I was born in Ghana, raised in London and have lived in Glasgow since 2004. My experiences are of a unified Scotland. I believe there will be advantages of an independent Scotland just as much as there are advantages of a unified one. At present I can only relate to those of a unified Scotland. It’s been great so far.

Steve MasonSteve Mason (28/04/13)
I am a Scot. I live in Scotland. I have no idea what independence will really mean for Scotland. So, for that reason alone, if the people who want to run Scotland can’t even get a clear message out to me, how can they govern the country? This does not mean my mind is made up! The biggest problem from what I can see is currency. Three choices: Apply to the EU / Carry on using Sterling / Print our own. The only sensible, truly independent option is to print our own. But any country printing its own currency without establishment approval is in trouble from the start. Big trouble. The people of Scotland need a global outlook and to understand how this world we live in works. True independence could mean the start of the fight of our lives. Look to Iceland. What started with them telling the UK to shove their debt, jailing the bankers and beginning a beautiful new journey has quickly turned into many problems. Then there is the oil question. This is such a can of worms it’s hard to get into, but to imagine if we gained control of all Scotland’s natural resources we would suddenly be living in a Utopia is incredibly short-sighted. Ultimately, though, nationalism of any kind leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I am a citizen of the world. I live by my rules and no government I have yet lived under represents me and my views. Would an independent Scotland manage this? I’m not sure but my mind is open.

Bill WellsBill Wells (29/04/13)
As a general philosophy, it’s simply more efficient to work together rather than to be separate, so I’ve never been very keen on the idea of independence. That said, there are occasions when another party acts in such a way that you feel you’d be better off without them.

Scott Hutchison, Frightened RabbitScott Hutchison – Frightened Rabbit (30/04/13)
I haven’t made up by mind yet. We have been asked to contribute our music and stuff to the campaign, but I don’t really have enough information yet. I’m totally interested in it and the initial reaction is, ‘Yeah, of course!’ but that wouldn’t really be based on facts. So I’m trying to gather them because it’s important not just to focus on a sense of national pride where this is coming from. Can we actually make it work? Economically, it’s potentially viable. There are a lot of great strings to Scotland’s bow where that’s concerned.

Emma Gillespie, Emma's ImaginationEmma Gillespie – Emma’s Imagination (30/04/13)
I would like to see Scotland become independent. Culturally we are very different from England and we are yet to fully explore that. I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs, but it would create a greater sense of community and we would have control and responsibility over our own future. It would be good news for Scottish music and film as we would have more control over our own broadcasting and be able to provide better platforms for bands, artists, producers and directors to create a more thriving scene up here. Hopefully we’d get better phone signals and internet speed too! We would keep the NHS and welfare state which is unfortunately becoming privatised in England and it would have a positive effect on our education systems. It’s time we went out respectfully on our own and were neighbours to England rather than “under the wing”. This bodes for a better relationship between the two countries in the future.

Louie, Hector BizerkLouie – Hector Bizerk (30/04/13)
There is too much misinformation being peddled by the various parties and by individuals who have a self interest. I am unsure who to believe. I am trying to give each side of the debate a fair and balanced hearing but can’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of alienation. The main questions we need to ask are quite simple. Who will benefit from independence? Will an independent Scotland create more jobs for the long-term unemployed? I don’t believe so. Will our country have better living conditions for 250,000 Scottish children who live in poverty? I’m not convinced. The idea of getting into bed with independence sounds appealing but the harsh reality is that we may wake up without our beer goggles in the morning. The main flaws in our ugly economy would be largely unaffected. The obesity epidemic won’t disappear overnight and chronic alcoholism and addiction will still need to be subsidised. Will our fearless MSPs get a wage rise? You can bet yer ex-cooncil hoos on it!

Julian Corrie, Miaoux MiaouxJulian Corrie – Miaoux Miaoux (01/05/13)
I’ve always considered myself from the UK, having moved around a lot, and Scotland doesn’t feel like a completely different country to me. Although there’s a perceived stigma around being English, I haven’t really seen it, and it’s only manifested itself through my own occasional paranoia. That said, there is a difference here, a feeling, something that’s hard to put into words. I’ve found a greater sense of community here in Scotland, less of the poisonous ‘what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours’ attitude that persists in the English home counties. Nearly everyone I’ve met in the music industry have gone out of their way to help and support me, and I try to do the same. The current Westminster government is physically and ideologically a long way from Scotland. I’m a fan of small government, there are fewer places to hide. It was encouraging to see countries like Iceland take their politicians and bankers to task directly over the financial crisis, and it would be great to see an independent Scotland do the same, and more. What’s disappointing to me is that the SNP are not pushing the practicalities of independence, they’re pushing it as an ideology, which is canny as it will win votes, but when the dust settles where do we go? Where are the plans and grand ideas for the country? What happens with the police force, the broadcasters, the currency, Europe, the border, passports, immigration, right to work? I’m sure a lot of this has to be settled after the fact, but the discussion is being motivated by the opposition. There isn’t much talk about an independent Scotland post-vote – it seems like it’s just an idea – an attractive one, yes, but an idea just the same. For me, it needs some more weight behind it – I need to be won over with head as well as heart.

Siobhan WilsonSiobhan Wilson (01/05/13)
I’m voting ‘Yes’ because Scotland is in need of change, and it seems like a good one to make.

Ross Clark, Three Blind WolvesRoss Clark – Three Blind Wolves (02/05/13)
I find myself on the left-hand side of the political spectrum but for the eight years I’ve been able to vote, I have never felt that one politician truly represents me in either Scotland or the UK. Therefore, I find myself disconnected with the issue of independence and, as ignorant as this sounds, the amount of propaganda on both sides really puts me off making a decision. I am in full support of Scotland being governed by a fully devolved Scottish parliament but I don’t have enough inspiration or facts to make my choice. I love Scotland and my Scottish identity but, at this moment, I would say I am more unconvinced than undecided. There’s a fence and I’m going to sit on it until nearer the time.

Colin Macleod, The Boy Who Trapped The SunColin Macleod – The Boy Who Trapped The Sun (02/05/13)
I feel I’m in a diminishing group of people who don’t want or see a need for independence. Maybe it’s just my geography, living in a bit of an SNP stronghold. It actually seems a bit of a scary proposition, an economy based on an oil field that was supposed to be close to running dry 10 years ago. There’s too much contradiction and misinformation to take anyone seriously about the whole thing and I’m not sure I’d trust Alex Salmond to make my breakfast let alone run an independent country.

Dan Muir, Bwani JunctionDan Muir – Bwani Junction (02/05/13)
As a band, we try to be as independent as possible and can very much relate to self-determination. We are also very patriotic and would like to think that our core Scottishness is reflected in our music – obviously with more than a nod to certain international influences. However, when it comes to going it alone as a nation, the band is split down the middle for the following reason: if we discount blind nationalism (with ‘heart ruling the head’) for a moment, as young guys growing up in Scotland, with our futures hopefully still ahead of us, there is still a serious lack of easily understood information about the financial pros and cons of full independence. In short, we need more reassurance about the prospect of a stable future. Of course, if Scotland were to adopt the previous Irish model of zero taxation for working artists, then no debate… FREEDOM!

Rod Jones, Idlewild, The Birthday SuitRod Jones – Idlewild/The Birthday Suit (02/05/13)
I am as British as they come: Welsh descent, brought up in England and living in Scotland for the past 17 years. While Scotland has a strong national and cultural identity – as do England, Wales and Northern Ireland – I feel this flourishes well as a part of the United Kingdom. We are part of a greater whole which makes us what and who we are today. Economic and historical arguments, while important to many, are less of the point to me on reflection. I feel British and I don’t want to put up imaginary barriers between us all. We should be working together with others, not moving away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as opposed to Tory power over anyone as much as the next man, but I think we are all in this together. Maybe a tad sentimental but I’m an old softie.

Michael CassidyMichael Cassidy (03/05/13)
For me, the independence question is one of national identity. My nationality is Scottish and if we were to vote for independence then I wouldn’t necessarily feel any more Scottish as a result. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was attracted to a romanticised view of an independent Scotland. This feeling is heightened when I hear a lone piper playing Highland Cathedral or watch a film or documentary celebrating Scotland’s history. In an economic sense, I’ve heard so many pros and cons that not only does it confuse me, but I feel no one actually knows how Scotland will fare under independence until it happened. I spend a lot of time playing down in England and have many friends and family there. The notion of independence also raises the issue of separation and its various implications. This does not sit easily with me. I would prefer to see Scotland press for further devolution. If this was achieved I feel it would be the perfect outcome for Scotland, but I still would not feel any more Scottish as a result.

Fergus Cook, DiscopolisFergus Cook – Discopolis (03/05/13)
An evening in with my fiercely nationalist grandparents and I’m one deep-fried Mars Bar short of being fully converted. The bus ride back into town is coloured with sickly romantic images free to reign over a mind that’s all but moulded. I approach the pub, armed to the teeth with what appear to be rock-hard facts and figures. Pints hit the table. Keen to kickstart proceedings, I weigh in. After a few minutes, I’m thinking to myself, “Hey! This is going great! I’ve got everyone’s complete and undivided attention. I might just have cracked it!” – I’m now a half lager shandy away from proposing that we end our night up Arthur’s Seat, bleary-eyed and overly affectionate. I ready myself for a premature victory sip. My lips barely touch the glass when Rab stands up – who I know doesn’t wear a Scotland strip as much I like to think he does, but for all intents and purposes, let’s say he was wearing one tonight. I’m sure I’ve cinched it, Rab will tie this one up neatly and I can start on the next round of uninformed bitching. Think I’ll tackle Trident… I eventually tune back into the debate and to my horror I find Rab dismantling – with clear success – the very foundations of my argument. Dreams of a midnight hike are swiftly flattened and the following week turns into a total haze. I wander the streets a lost soul. ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ are amongst the questions that rattle round my brain as I prepare myself for another evening with granddad.

Joe Black, Washington IrvingJoe Black – Washington Irving (03/05/13)
I have a lot of concerns about the independence campaign. At some levels it has been anti-English which is disgraceful. I also think the man-made and historically shifty Scottish border is not that culturally significant. I’ve spent a lot of time in the north of England and the amount I have in common with cities such as Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester et al is pretty staggering. Culturally then, I’d draw a line somewhere above Birmingham. As much as I love London and a lot of the southern towns, I don’t feel like I have a lot to do with them. Thatcher’s death and the coalition have united the north even more. I have never felt more disenfranchised than when I listened to the garish tributes paid to her and her wicked ideology in Westminster. So far the SNP have promoted a society based on the socialist principle that, first and foremost, a government’s duty is to the most needy and vulnerable. That to me is one of the only legitimate reasons for which we should allow ourselves to be governed. If I thought we could form a country where this principle is enshrined and the systemic poverty in Scotland is tackled once and for all, I would definitely be voting ‘Yes’. The signs have been encouraging and if the vote was tomorrow I would vote for independence. But I’d prefer it if all the amazing northern English towns were in with us too and Glasgow was the capital. And Chris, our drummer, was elected King.

Janine Shilstone, VukoviJanine Shilstone – Vukovi (03/05/13)
I’m all for independence. I’m not sure things could get any worse and talk that the NHS might not exist in the next few years is worrying. For me, the Conservatives stand for “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. We wouldn’t want to see Scotland missing out on the bigger picture, but at the same time I think Scotland has missed out on a lot of things as a country. Scotland could stand for something in the way that Norway has done. There is an opportunity for something innovative and visionary. In a small country like Scotland, modern-day issues could be sweetly represented in terms of trying to tackle violence, crime and unemployment.

Craig Parker, Make SparksCraig Parker – Make Sparks (05/05/13)
When it comes time to place my vote to decide whether Scotland should be independent I hope I have a better idea of what’s for the best. At the moment it’s a bit like watching two separate Michael Moore films, each one ramming their argument down our throats. I’ll keep asking questions and try to make up my mind but I’m holding out hope that people will stop frothing at the mouth over the subject long enough to help me decide.

Isobel CampbellIsobel Campbell (05/05/13)
I would love to see Scotland flourish, prosper and blossom in her independence. It’s important for us as Scots to acknowledge our roots and remember where we came from, but even more important to shake off the old belief systems that no longer serve us and embrace all possibilities and newness in order to realise the fullness of our potential. Each of us can make a difference. It’s time for Scotland as a nation to heal and let go of grudges or hard done-by feelings about the past. It’s time for us to take great care and respect and nourish each other. The glory days of Victorian colonialism, Britannia and the Empire are long gone. As Scots we are steeped in a unique, abundant history and culture all of our own. Moving forward, it’s imperative for each of us to remember who we really are. We are a nation of industry, of world-renowned builders, inventors, craftsmen, engineers, writers, poets, philosophers and artists. If we do this right we’ll go from strength to strength and thrive as a nation because we always have had, and always will have, so much to share with the rest of the world. And if independence happens we’ll need to choose our official national anthem because right now we only have unofficial ones. Unless anything more dazzling presents itself I think it should be Auld Lang Syne.

24 Responses to “40 musicians answer the Scottish independence question”

  1. Tam balloch Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 13:40

    I don’t think voting Yes will seriously affect record sales or gig attendances.
    So calm doon .

  2. Andrew Galea Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 14:52

    You didn’t ask Biffy Clyro?!

  3. Richard Gibbons Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 15:36

    What I would say to the No Voters and the Undecideds is this: “If Scotland were independent now, would you vote for Scotland to join the UK next year”. Think about it.

    Also, Scotland voted YES in 1979 and that was taken away from us by Westminster, our democracy was traded for 30 years of managed decline!

  4. Douglas Daniel Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 15:54

    There’s certainly a difference in attitude between the Yes and No voters – those voting Yes are optimistic, whereas many of those voting No are simply peddling the usual myths about being utterly dependent on oil, Alex Salmond running the country, and I have no idea if Justine Currie is being serious because I find it hard to believe someone could be so bitter.

    But the undecided folk are the really interesting lot. Some of them sound like they just don’t want to commit yet, but will vote Yes when the time comes. But amongst the others, there’s an overwhelming sense that they WANT to vote Yes, but just haven’t heard that one killer argument yet. If they vote No, it won’t be because they have any particular unionist sensibilities, but because Yes campaigners have failed to convince them.

    It’s almost like a rom-com where someone is queuing at an airport, waiting to board a plane to move to another country, but they’re just waiting for their partner to come running over, telling them not to leave.

    That’s important, because if this is in any way representative of the wider population, it shows you why one side are doing their best to give people positive arguments to vote Yes, while the other side is just intent on scaring or confusing people into turning off from the debate.

    Oh, and considering how we’re always told that women are more sceptical of independence than men, it’s interesting to note that every woman here is voting Yes, barring one who is undecided, but seems to be leaning more to Yes than No. That’s very surprising – and very encouraging!

  5. Stuart Black Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 16:15

    Thank god for the girls! Reasoned and intelligent, thoughtful responses, in contrast to some of the guys who, I don’t want to slag anyone but, seem to be musing from a position of ignorance. I mean, border controls? FFS, have you never gigged in Ireland? For any of those undecided that want to see a side of the debate that you won’t get from the mainstream media, you could do worse than having a good go at http://wingsoverscotland.com/ All your questions and fears are addressed here…

  6. Kiko Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 17:33

    @Sutherland: Slaven Bilic is a fascist ustasha so he’s not one to take as model. Actually you should read more about what happened in Yugoslavia, because I think you don’t know much about it

  7. David Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 17:55

    Many more opinions here. http://nationalcollective.com/2012/08/30/50-artists-creatives-who-support-scottish-independence/

  8. rod Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 18:55

    How does Justin Currie qualify on this list of musicians!?!? His attempts at music are as pathetic as his opinions. Nice try to adopt an Irvine Welsh-style put down on the Scots you twat but sadly I’m afraid you just can never be cool. Your opinions reek of the middle-class, capitalist-loving garbage that has destroyed this country for years,
    “Are you ready to be told by some fool who talks like you but has the morals of a goat?” Yeah, its much better with the trustworthy and moral examples we have at the moment eh Justina? Going to war? Again, spoken like one of Maggies children. Who exactly will we be going to war with? The last wars were great for the UK, especially Iraq that Scotland wanted no part of. Would have been terrible if a voice that sounded like ours had been listened to then eh?

  9. tartanfever Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 21:54

    Some seriously ill-educated notions of what independence might mean for Scotland out there. Highly disappointing to read some of these responses that are no better than the hysterical rants we see in the gutter press.
    Get off your arses and do some research, you have to engage with this debate and find out for yourselves.

  10. Dave Mackay Says:

    May 6th, 2013 at 22:10

    Yip, some of them thar musos need to get a rooting around the Internet to get up to speed on whats happening.

    There’s no excuse for staying ignorant about the issues of the most important thing to happen in any of our lives.

    Vote YES for a better Scotland.

  11. Stuart Black Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 06:04

    @ Isabel Campbell – I see from your FB page that you are worried about leaving the English to perpetual Tory rule, this is not an issue strangely enough, and the full story can be found here, and I hope this will put your mind at rest.


  12. Stuart Black Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 06:29

    @Isobel – I do apologise, got your name wrong first time round.

  13. Elaine Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 08:53

    I think the problem for a lot of undecideds is neatly illustrated in the comments section. Dare to say you’re not sure because the arguments haven’t been put across yet and be lambasted by the tireless Internet campaigners.

  14. Dave Mackay Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 09:38

    Hi Elaine

    This is an enormous opportunity for Scotland to forge a new future and its one that will not come around again if we vote No.

    Its entirely understandable that people are hesitant and, dare I say, uninformed, but there is SO much information out there to be gleaned.

    Of course, we still have to be presented with the SNP’s full vision of what that entails and, until then, there will remain unanswered questions.

    You do realise, though, that the No campaign have just as many questions to answer?

    Its an exciting time and I hope that we vote for the Scotland that we deserve.

  15. Stuart Black Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 10:44

    Good morning Elaine. The word ‘lambasted’ surely isn’t relevant on this thread, is it? This is starting to become a real problem, anyone from the YES side who makes a comment in any form that can be construed as critical, is branded as a swivel-eyed, bat-shit crazy loon, posting in a string vest and knotted hankie. You never hear this about the NO campaigners, and I would invite you to contrast the comments here with the vileness of the tweets on this link. http://wingsoverscotland.com/those-vile-cybernats/

    However, it is important that we do not get bogged down in finger pointing, each side will have their own set of unhinged supporters, but it is equally important that, in the lead up to the most important vote in 300 years, we be allowed to point things out to undecided people, especially as those of us who follow this debate realise how much the mainstream media are mis-representing and leaving unreported. But we’ll be nice 8) Cheers!

  16. Stuart Black Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 10:49

    Buzz: Repetition. Too many ‘important’s in that last para, sorry!

  17. The Pop Cop Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 10:55

    @Andrew Galea – I did ask Biffy and I got a polite email back from James from the band saying that they’d already made a couple of comments about independence and didn’t want to add to that. You can read what they had to say previously here: http://www.nme.com/news/biffy-clyro/68446

  18. Mary McCabe Says:

    May 7th, 2013 at 20:59

    So many who say they’re “waiting to be convinced by the arguments”. Well the arguments come by various routes: A…The traditional media (newspapers, the airwaves) – the Unionist Establishment has total control here. They decide the headlines (which everybody sees when entering a shop) and although the report under the headlines often concludes with a different message only the 1% who still read newspapers will absorb that. They decide which stories to lead with and which to suppress. They suppress a lot. B…The internet. This is area which worries the Unionist side as they have no control of it. Because so many reports and statistics supportive of the independence cause are killed at birth (from the McCrone report getting its 30year suppression back in the 1970s to the discovery of new oilfields and Scotland’s place in various world league tables today)websites (e.g.newsnet,wings over Scotland) have been created to put out the news that the traditional media won’t publish. The Unionist Establishment is currently trying to get these sources closed down or at least discredited – hence the current demonisation of so called “cybernats”. (The cyberbrits are just as bad when it comes to name-calling but of course it’s not really the name-callers that the Unionists have in their sights. They did manage to close down the site which leaked the war criminal links of the main donor to the No campaign and the fact that as Tory donor he had been lambasted by Labour) C…Political leaflets – with the No side controlling the public airways, the YES side are more reliant than the No side on volunteers putting out out leaflets for publishing their facts and statistics. Of course this suffers from the same disadvantage as the political websites and blogs – that only those interested in politics in the first place are likely to read them. Also, people may dismiss leaflets produced by one side as propaganda, while accepting the misleading headlines in the newspapers as facts. Anyway Dan Muir wants “reassurance about the prospect of a stable future” – Dan, this unbiased crystal ball DOESN’T EXIST, particularly with regard to the UK economy which is in a worse state that Scotland’s. Julian Corrie asks “What happens with the police force, the broadcasters, the currency, Europe, the border, passports, immigration, right to work?” The police have always been 100% controlled by no change there and for the travel arrangements etc. refer to the arrangements with Ireland. There are plenty of oreccedents out there. Colin MacLeod worries about “an economy based on an oil field that was supposed to be close to running dry 10 years ago.” Does the very fact that the oil fields have been reported to be running dry every since they were discovered and that they’re still discovering new ones not suggest to you, Colin, that the UK Government were and still are telling porkies? Anyway the Scottish economy would only be one-fifth dependent on oil. The Norwegian economy is one-third dependent on oil and on this allegedly volatile resource they’ve become the most solvent, stable, prosperous and enlightened country in the world. Steve Mason says “nationalism of any kind leaves a bitter taste in my mouth” – but this clearly doesn’t include the British nationalism which fuels the “Better Together” campaign and which is all about preserving the UK’s status as America’s Head Prefect throughout the world. Anyway, the information is out there although if you want a balanced view you have to actually look for it. For myself I have a vision of Scotland, left to itself, going down the enlightened European/Nordic route rather than the Anglo-American way of paying for your education and medicine and hoarding nuclear weapons/making wars so as to give your country status.

  19. Stuart Black Says:

    May 8th, 2013 at 06:17

    What Mary McCabe said – and Isobel Campbell…

    Thanks Mary, well said.

  20. ffs Says:

    May 10th, 2013 at 10:34

    Nice to see the upper & middle classes & the utterly stupid are well represented in the scottish music scene. Some of the answers for/ against and undecided are utterly inept. And “Cos I like being British” Isn’t an answer folks.

  21. ffs Says:

    May 10th, 2013 at 10:36

    well done to the women on the list however, informed, concise and intelligent answers, regardless of their positions..

  22. Delia Marjoribanks Says:

    May 15th, 2013 at 11:12

    Nice one Mary McCabe. I too am tired of hearing people complain that they are not being given enough information.

  23. Tom McKnight Says:

    August 9th, 2013 at 21:04

    I was shocked to see in the 2011 census that the population of Glasgow stands at 596,000 down from 1.2 Million when I was at school (Now aged 70)while London and the south east has doubled over the same period. The union has been a disaster for Glasgow with no real investment from Westminster to offset the demise of its heavy industry. The Union has certainly been good for the South of England but not for Scotland. We must get control of our finances before we are no more.

  24. Marc Jansen Says:

    August 22nd, 2013 at 20:41

    Just wondering how is it that after a thousand years of proclaiming, “If its not Scottish, its crap!”, attitude, That England has and continues to treat you like peons, and all your hero’s are all Scots; How can you now not vote for independence?
    Hopefully, after this vote and you decide to stay in the whatever you call yourselves today (England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, Euro lite), confederation. That this will be the last you will hear about all that separates you and begin to describe yourselves as a Nation!
    In America, sure the South still holds strong feelings about the north and makes jokes about us Yankees even today; The Yankees are like hemorrhoids, ok if they come down but a pain in the ass if they stay! However, someone else attacks this nation and you won’t find a more pro American group!
    Whatever way you go, hope it finally puts an end to the resentment their seems to exist.

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