Glasgow Uni Students Reject Independence

A mock indepedence referendum by Glasgow Uni has found almost 2 thirds are against an independent Scotland.

Organisers of the Glasgow University poll said 63% voted No when asked the question: ``Should Scotland be an independent country?'' 

The remaining 37% voted in favour of independence. 

The university's Dialectic Society, which ran the mock vote, said 2,589 students voted, with eight spoiled ballots. 

Polling took place throughout the day at three university sites. The result was announced following a debate at the student union with Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins and Labour MSP Jackie Baillie. 

Mr Jenkins said: ``The students who worked hard for a Yes vote fought a very positive, optimistic and efficient campaign. 

``While I am disappointed for them, we have to remember that some 2,500 out of 20,000 students actually cast votes and this undoubtedly reflects the fact that a large section of the student and general population has yet to make up their minds. 

``We have made considerable progress in recent polls and we will continue to work tirelessly to convince people, including our students and younger citizens who have the biggest stake in securing a better future, that we have nothing to fear and everything to gain from being a normal, independent country.'' 

Carys Hughes, a representative of the Glasgow University Better Together campaign, said: ``Our campaign was led by the students and wasn't consumed by party politics. 

``We talked about the issues. The other side seemed to think that having (Deputy First Minister) Nicola Sturgeon on the campus for a whole day would win them the day. 

``I think the opposite happened. It was because they did this, because they took the campaign away from the students, that they lost.'' 

Duncan Crowe, who is on a law conversion course at the university, voted yes. The 27-year-old from Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, said: ``At the moment the debate is pretty balanced. 

``Voting maybe wasn't an option so I thought I'd vote the way that would be most efficacious for furthering the discourse.'' 

Catriona Boyd, 21, from Peebles voted against independence. The law student said: ``My vote could change, it is still really early. ``I think we do well being part of the UK, but I'm going to put in some research before the vote next year. ``It's such a big decision.'' 

During the debate Ms Baillie faced booing and shouting from some of the around 300 students packed into the gallery of the debating chamber, while Mr Jenkins received several rounds of applause and cheering as he spoke. 

Mr Jenkins told the students that the vote constituted a ``fantastic opportunity'' for the younger generation and that the best future for Scotland was as an independent country. 

``This is an opportunity to think about what kind of country we could be and should be,'' he said.

In her speech Ms Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, spoke out against the SNP, telling the audience the party had no consistent economic policy. A man in the gallery shouted: ``It's not about the SNP, it's about independence.'' When the politician went on to list the achievements of Scotland as part of the union, others in the gallery shouted ``Iraq'' and ``Afghanistan''. 

Also taking part in the debate were independent MSP Jean Urquhart, who underlined the importance of discussing a national constitution for Scotland in the run-up to the 2014 vote. She said: ``If people in this country are to have a say politically and change Scotland for the better, then I'd be voting yes.'' 

Labour MP William Bain and journalist Lesley Riddoch also gave their views in the debate. 

Speaking after the results, Ms Baillie said: ``The Glasgow University students have spoken quite emphatically and said that yes they prefer a strong Scotland, but one that is firmly within the United Kingdom. ``I think tonight's result is actually mirrored in most communities across Scotland.'' She said of the heckling: ``I am used to being shouted down in parliament by the SNP. ``Perhaps Holyrood is slightly more sedate than this evening but I have to say that I loved every minute of it.'' 

Liberal Democrat MP Charles Kennedy, who is rector of the university, said: ``First and foremost, the real winners today are the democratic process itself and the historic reputation of the University of Glasgow in the lineage of the national debate down the generations. ``So my congratulations to the student bodies who showed such a lead here - and to the 2,500 students who voted. ``The real lesson is the extent to which students wanted to hear more of the detail and the arguments involved. Both sides need to campaign positively.''