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State of the debate

How is the debate going?

This is the second of a series of postings that relate to a research project I’ve been conducting on using a model of practical theological reflection in relation to the independence question that is being put to voters in Scotland on 18th September this year. You can read about the project in more detail – including an explanation about the model of reflecting here.

I’m going to share, suitably anonymised, some of the observations made by the focus participants. You’re invited to take part too – online – as the series of posts unfolds.

In the first posting I presented some of the stories that participants told when I asked them to start off the group conversation by giving an example of their own independence. Now we turn to describing what’s going on in terms of the debate.

What I hear at the national level is fairly typical of politics generally, wherever. That is, ‘it’s a waste of time’ actually listening to the people because they are on the whole more concerned with slanging down the other side than really promoting what they are wanting to do. And they will come up with statistics to prove anything they want – on both sides. So what I’m faced with when listening in the national debate now is both sides arguing about the same issues and coming up, using supposedly similar data from verifiable sources, coming up with totally different conclusions. Clive

I think at the moment this debate has inspired and motivated lots of ordinary people – and I think that’s wonderful. And love the fact that if you’re sitting in a café you can hear other people talking about it. Because it just hasn’t happened, we don’t talk about elections like that. Ursula

I think it’s been a very rich debate […] I think it’s making people really think about what it means to live in a democracy. And I think people are seeing what, this discussion is really encouraging people to think ‘you haven’t really lived in a democracy’ . Eddie

[People are] realizing actually if you have choices about [the NHS in Scotland] then there may be choices also about absolutely everything if you have the power to make that choice and the autonomy to make that choice. …A kind of waking up. Edelmira

I think it’s a debate that’s engaging people maybe more than any other political debate I’ve seen. Moira

There’s the parallel universe of […] people who are actually saying in the street and talking like this – totally sane and common sense and level-headed and just down to earth, sensible. You don’t see that in the media – you see this great struggle going on with all sorts of nonsense being flung around. Rob

Questions for you to consider and perhaps post a comment in response:

  • What do you think of the quality of the debate so far? You’re welcome to contribute by posting to this blog.
  • What strikes you from what my focus group participants have said?

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