Electoral Commission

CofS Moderator calls for respect in Independence debate

Wed 03 Sep 2014
By Antony Bushfield

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland says he’s been "disturbed" by recent acts of aggression on both sides of the Scottish independence debate.

The Rt Revd John Chalmers was speaking out after a no campaigner kicked a female yes supporter in the stomach leaving her curled up in pain on the floor.

Last week eggs were thrown at the pro union Labour MP Jim Murphy.

Revd Chalmers told the BBC: “I fear something ugly may be beginning to permeate the debate.

"I have faith that, despite divergent views, most Scots are behaving courteously during the run-up to the referendum. However, it has become clear that some are not.

"I am delighted to be hosting a dialogue which is highly unlikely to feature aggression or smirking. The participants will be asked to listen to each other with respect.

"Like most, I am repelled by the name-calling and rancour we have seen in recent weeks. We need to behave as though we are paving the way for working together whatever the outcome."

Scots will be asked the yes/no question 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' on 18 September.

Meanwhile the Church of Scotland is holding a Scottish independence debate tonight.

It says it's maintaining neutrality ahead of the vote in just over two weeks’ time but will provide a platform for discussion.

Turnout is expected to be around 80% with the Yes campaign edging ever closer to victory.

The latest poll showed 'no's' lead had narrowed to just six points.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney and Advocate General for Scotland Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC are among the speakers at Glasgow's Tron Church.

At the weekend the Catholic Church in Scotland urged its members to use their vote.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow said: "The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away.

"Along with the Bishops of Scotland, who are deeply conscious of the importance of this referendum, I encourage and urge all those eligible to vote to do so with complete freedom of choice and in accordance with their prayerful judgment of what is best for the future.

"May God guide us and bless us in whatever choice we make in good conscience."

No Christian denomination in Scotland has publically come out in support of either side.

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