17/06/2013 Newsnight Scotland


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special debate. Tonight we're tackling the eternal conundrum -


but now it's a crucial element for both camps in the independence


Good evening. Women seem to be less engaged in the deliberations running


up to the vote - which after all is fifteen months away - but polling


has consistently shown that those who do express an opinion are less


likely to vote for independence than men. Tonight we have an audience


composed exclusively of women - some of whom are firmly in one camp or


the other, and the rest who have yet to make up their minds. They've all


submitted questions to our expert panel - also an all-female zone.


They are: Kainde Manji - Kainde is a researcher at Glasgow University and


campaigner on issues including the gender pay gap. She's a committed


unionist and member of the Better Together group. Next to her is the


actress Elaine C Smith - who's well known in her professional life and


increasingly for her stance as an advocate for independence. Amanda


Harvie is a businesswoman and former Chief Executive of the financial


services industry body Scottish Financial enterprise. She's a


champion of the pro-unionist cause. Before we open up the floor, let's


return to the idea of an independence "gender gap" and how


crucial a factor it is. Recent polls consistently show more men answer


Yes to the question - Should Scotland be an independent country?


- than women. So let's assess the increasing voting significance of,


I'd estimate, just over half of you watching this programme.


If only you what she started. The women's vote has been described as


the most formidable obstacle between the Yes campaign and the dream of an


independent Scotland, but is there such a thing? No, many women vote


much the same as each other in Britain but there are some


differences which can make a difference because we are talking


about 52% of the population so even small differences can have an


impact. Women say health and education is more important, men are


more likely to say economy and Europe. If those issues are


important for the election then gender can be important for the


election. Women are increasingly a political force. In UK general


elections last half-century the number of women voting has risen is


number of women voting has risen is federally. The situation in Scotland


is similar, in the 2003 elections, more But where that is huge


diversity among women, studies show that is the degree of female


collective and is a degree of female collective nurse in one area and


that is fear of the political unknown. It is a situation which


manifests in the closest thing Scotland has two compatible debate,


the campaign in Quebec to gain independence from Canada. In 1980


the result was an overwhelming north. In 1995, the no campaign won


by just over 1%. Women voters were pivotal. There are two main views,


one is that women are more likely to be in trading rules and can have


children, looking at older relatives, and that puts them in


contact with government services. So any problems with services, that can


affect them more than it would mail falters. Then there is the view that


women are overrepresented in groups which are not likely to support


constitutional change, it will with lower incomes and low educational


status. The gender gap is much less for middle-class men and women than


it is for working-class men and women. Working-class women aren't


more likely that it less likely to support change. Hope lies in the


fact that it may be early days in the deliberations of the female


psyche. I think one in's voting will be crucial. Women will probably make


their minds up about later on. Less of them are supporters of the SNP,


so they are among the group which will be more persuadable. It depends


how the campaign firms up. Persuading women that it is not such


a risk could really swing it. number of interesting points raised


their, but above all the importance of engaging with more than 50% of


the population. Well, let's go straight to the first question from


the audience. It comes from Amy Gardner from Strathaven. By does the


panel think fewer women should support independence than men? Let


us go to Jean first. It seems your message is not getting through at


this stage. I am not so sure that is true. Women are undecided and they


will take their time to listen to all the information and think about


the arguments. I would say to the majority of women who are thinking


about this very important decision, think about it on the basis of


choice. This is about the kind of Scotland we want and where we think


the best chances are achieving that country life. I do not think that


lies by continuing to be part of a union which is imposing sanctions


and difficulties and increased poverty on our children,


difficulties for women than men government of Scotland would do. I


think women want all the information they can get. They will engage. They


are engaging now and one of them will do so the closer we get to that


date in 2014. The polls show that among women who have made up their


mind, they are not supporting independence in huge numbers.


not sure about the huge numbers, to be feared. Some recent information


in the press today is that women and young people who were undecided,


more of them are moving towards independence. I was hoping you would


bring that up. This was an article, I don't know if you all saw it, that


said women and young people were big gaming to support independence. We


wanted details on the Paul from the yes for an independent campaign.


They could not tell us who carried it out and they expect us to swallow


it with no names and no information on its? Every side on this debate


will carry out private polling. Everyone does it. Tesco probably


does private polling and they will not release that information. It


forms how they construct their argument. I only know what I read in


the paper this morning as well. What I know from the meetings I've called


and the women I talk to, is that women are undecided, they are taking


their time and our right to do so. They need people like me to persuade


them or indeed Amanda from the other side to put her arguments. More of


them are doing that and moving to independence and aware a while ago.


I think it is fear to give the viewers are background to that


report. Amanda, could it just be that women take more time to make up


their minds? I think in this situation there are so many


fundamental questions that have to be asked and and sowed. At the


moment, we do not have all the cancers to give us comfort. -- asked


and answered. I personally have thought deeply about these matters


and I am convinced the direction is the wrong one. When I speak to


colleagues, they are looking not just the issues affecting Scotland,


but bear thinking about what they are going to do to grow their --


companies in the future and how they will succeed in markets around the


world because we live in a global economy which is highly


competitive. There are number of important questions which need to be


asked. The risks involved in taking this fundamental step and divorcing


ourselves from the rest of the UK, our biggest market, are fundamental.


The effect on our working lives, welfare support, the effect for


generations to come, it is a major issue and I am glad when taking time


to think and I am glad that the polls are showing that they are at


the moment. How will you win over a crucial number for the Yes campaign


of women voters? I think generally, in the walk of life iron and we


allowed in the East End of Glasgow, I see that women are interested. --


the walk of life I am in and weird I live. Women are more reticent and


they want to take more time about their decision. The work I have done


with zero tolerance regarding domestic violence, we have often


seen, even in the worst situation, women take a long time to leave and


move and decide to go on with a different part of their life. I


certainly in my own politics, it has taken me many years to get to this


position of yes. I have felt the anger and fear. To say that any of


us just woke up and said I will vote yes, it takes a long time to get


there and to get through the arguments. We do not have one


newspaper in Scotland supporting the Yes campaign. That tsunami of


negativity which has been thrown at us all for a long time to


frighteners makes women more hesitant. It is also interesting


that some of the research done into the banking crisis for instance, has


said that if women had been involved on 50% of the board us towards the


financial crash, had women been involved we would not have taken the


decision is those banks don't we would have been less likely to those


decisions. Generally women are risk averse, we are more risk averse than


men, we see the downside. I also think there is a reticence in women


at this point, the debate is Emile debate, it is about men in suits


arguing with each other. We live in a country were less than 20% of our


judges and lawyers are women. There has never been a women head of the


BBC. One woman editor in my lifetime in a newspaper in Scotland. We do


not see sales reflected back and if we do not, how can we get to a point


of feeling that we are independent? What about the Quebec experience


which was fascinating, where they found that women, especially


working-class women, had a relationship with the state and


welfare and where the most risk averse? I can understand that.


a businesswoman but I live in the East End of Glasgow which is very


working class. I can see that reticence and they talk to me about


it. They are the ones at the sharp end. They will be looking after


elderly parents, they are care workers with low PE. Those are the


women I am interested in. People like Amanda, wonderful women doing a


great job in Scotland, they have been successful. They have great


careers, they go out there and probably went to the best private


schools. Of course they will vote no. So independence is a class


issue? I think to an extent it does. It is a very interesting point.


it possible that, also referring to the Quebec question, there was a


certain amount of feeling within the campaign that they had the women's


vote in their pocket? They became complacent and nearly lost it. Is


there not a danger that could happen I have spoken to a large number of


women who are really engaging in our campaign at a grassroots level.


They are telling me in the conversations I have had, that


there is a real fear, there has been a consistent squeeze on living


standards. People are losing jobs. We are living in extremely tough


economic times. And I think there is an natural concern that we are


stepping into the unknown. I would, as someone who has campaigned


equally on the issue of violence against women, be slightly


concerned about the illusion that to draw towards making a decision


about constitutional future and making a comparison with an abusive


relish it, I think it is a slightly worrying thing to draw. -- an


abusive relationship. I think women have serious concerns. Legitimate


concerns. They do need to be met. But the step into the dark of


independence... Aren't you scaring them with saying step into the


dark? But we don't know. We don't know that the union was going to


happen. We know the cuts are going to get worse and the working-class


women apart of that are going to be affected more than anyone else in


this country by the cuts coming from Westminster. And they don't


have any guarantee... You do not have the majority on speaking to


working-class women. I have to -- broken -- spoken to very many women


who have suffered under the cuts. I have spoken to people who are


suffering after what this government is doing. What I say to


them is that the solution is not to vote Yes in the independence


referendum when you do not know. We do not know what the economic


circumstances in Scotland are going to be. What you should do is in the


2015 in the general election, though it for a change -- change


them. Be that across the UK. have to say, that is a good


argument until you get to the point of, where would change comes from


Ind that 2015 election? You have not been listening to what Ed Balls


has been saying, what Miliband has been saying. They are going to


continue what this current government is doing. So there is no


hope there. The hope is in making the decisions for ourselves about


our own families, own children, taking that into our own hands.


very important points are coming out of the discussion so far. The


first thing is we should not descend into party politics here.


The issue that we are all facing next September is whether we want


to break away from the United Kingdom or not. We cannot at this


stage know what party might be elected to Westminster or indeed


worse got them to vote independence, what Scotland party -- what party


would be would be voting in here. The other thing is that the idea


that there is a polarity, it does not matter what class you are from,


everyone has an interest in insuring Scotland prospers. We need


opportunity for everybody. I am interested in what will make


Scotland strong for the future. I would like to keep to the high


level issues because they unite all of us. Let's go to the lady at the


back. We hear a lot from the Better Together campaign about how


uncertain it is if we vote for independence, but nothing stays the


same. I am not hearing only certainty about if we do not vote


for it. I am not hearing any vision about what they have you is for


Scott and's place in the UK, I am only hearing, don't do that because


it is scary. Do you think that is valid? I think that your question


reflects what public debate is focused on at the moment. Because


there is such a deficit of answers to the questions that people want


answers to. My view is that this is not about for negative vision of


the future of being frightened about the future. My concern


personally is what is going to be best for Scotland and how it can


continue to thrive, and be the best, a successful country it can be. If


we all share an ambitious vision for Scotland's future, the question


is, how can we best to deliver that? What is the most solid,


stable platform that we can insure Scotland has to build on his


successes and prosper in the future? Better Together is focusing


on that very concerned. Do we want to pull the rug away and cut


ourselves off from our main domestic market, which is what


independence would mean? Blue wood to create a? Over Scotland's


competitiveness for international companies who are looking at


investing for the Long Tom? Du Li wants to -- for the long term? To


we wants to put the border in? lady in the couple. I am going to


come back to what Kainde Manji was saying about the fair and the dark


places we are going into. I think maybe there has been an exclusion


from politics, women especially have not felt that politics was a


part of their lives. It is time to bring people into the fold and do


away with that fear, instead of encouraging it. Let's do just that.


Let's get another question. It comes from Laura Burnett. I do not


yet feel I can make an informed decision on independence. When am I


going to get all the facts on things such as EU membership,


currency and defence? Before we are so that, and I know there is an


open invitation to debate cyclist, many people in our audiences apply


because they have affiliations to the different campaigns. The


difficulty is to reach people who are not politically committed. I


went to the streets of Glasgow to find them. I don't know about my


bus pass and things like that, the pensions. Is it a case of fear of


the unknown for you? Yes, I think so. Do you know anything about it?


No. Be you know when it is happening? The vote on Scotland's


future? Whether or not Scotland becomes an independent country?


So what should they be doing to captain your attention? Stop


playing politics, and tell the people I delete what it entails for


us. Definitely from us. What are the issues which will determine how


you vote? Financial issues, they are really big. I do not want to


end up with what happened in Ireland, I do not want us to have a


big slump. I feel we would probably be better off independently,


financially better off. I feel Britain needs to be joined together.


we are getting more and more individual, I think there are


strength in numbers. I don't think Scotland can stand up for itself on


its own. Do you think that as voters women are more cautious?


think so, my husband is a cautious motor but I think I'd look into


finer detail than he does. For I don't think I will be into it.


will not be voting next year? woman I think I do not know it


anything about it, I might go what my boyfriend or dad said. Really?!


In 21st century Scott and? I know, it is terrible. If someone was to


educate you about what the sides are offering, how best to good they


do it that would catch your attention? I want to know exactly


what is going to happen, what the changes going to be. There were


gasps in the studio over the views of that last contributor, but she


was being honest. Is that representative of the population as


a whole? Is the problem information, as Laura's question suggested?


Before I tickets to the panel, let's see what our audience here


thinks tonight. Is there enough specific information about the


consequences of independence for the alternatives? Who thinks there


is? Not many. Who think there is not? Pretty overwhelming. Is there


are feeling that this debate, although it is barely days, it


should move away from the constitutional minutiae of that we


had so far into the big issues that matter? I think the big issues are


hugely important but I think we also have to say, had you get your


information? How do get your information about politics? Where


do women get it? And if you have not won a newspaper in the country


supporting the yes campaign or even putting out the information that


the Yes campaign would like to get out there all the Scottish


government, I am not a member of the party, how you get thief


information to people? -- how do get the information to people? I


have daughters to say the same, I am not hearing it. You are talking


about it but no one else. I find that quite depressing, that is


where a lot of people off. We still live in a country where women


cannot go into certain golf clubs, you cannot play bowls until it is


between four and six on a Thursday, there is a self-policing and small


conservatism among its women as well. A woman who is an outspoken


and goes up there and says what she thinks within working-class


communities, can be censored in many ways. She is seen as being a


bit too lippy and having a bit too much to say for herself. That does


not exist in the same way amongst middle-class women. I think we


really have to think about if we want that information, of we have


to demand it from our broadcasters and newspapers. To let us know and


not only one side, it feels to me as if there has been, the


negativity that has come... If you don't know, for there is a No camp


and a Yes camp, they have made up their mind. If you're in the middle,


it feels like it is a square but thrown up. Work that out. It scares


and terrifies people. There is not a platform for the answers to


conceive. Five let me ask you about information from the Better


Together group, about the various forms of evolution that might


follow a no vote. -- forms of devolution. It is not just


broadcast media, people have been asking questions, and instead of


being presenting honest answers, they are being accused of


scaremongering. I think that does a huge disservice to the democratic


process which is supposed to be taking place. We are going to go to


the audience. I have moved from London to join the Independent's


campaign because I do know would be part of the state that goes to wars


in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to know what the Better


Together campaign says about foreign policy and what the yes


campaign is going to say about their vision about how to make


Scott and more progressive in the world so we live in a more -- how


to make Scotland more progressive so we live in a more peaceful world.


I think there is quite a straightforward question that the


parties have to address, or what difference will your preferred


constitutional option make for women? What you going to do about


equal pay, child care, gender based violence? We are starting to hear


that tonight but we are also hearing about the fact that women


it is the problem rather than making the debate about women.


Firstly, you suggest that we should be getting our information from the


news channels and newspapers. I think we should be getting


information from the party who is the proponent of the Independent's


campaign. This white paper is not supposed to be published until the


autumn. I think everybody has a right to be reticent until then. I


think secondly, Elaine, you focus a lot on inequalities between women,


we do not feel represented in politics and in the media. I do not


see how this will change in an independent Scotland, has the


campaign address that? Let's get some questions. Women are still


vastly under-represented in politics, even in Hollywood today,


so do you think independence could give more prominence to women?


20% of Scotland businesses are owned by women, with that figure


increase with independent or sticking to the status quo? Heel of


a business woman -- she wore a businesswoman, sticking with this


gate -- status quo, is it a there? My view is that potentially, it


could, could change, in the wrong direction. I think if we have


independence in Scotland, the competitiveness for Scotland will


be vastly reduced. I think potentially in the long term,


start-up spire of men and women, I do not think the constitutional


set-up makes a difference to the number of people involved -- women


involved in starting businesses. I have been a champion in business


for a long time and I believe in Scotland, we are behind the curve


and more people can get in -- more people can get involved. For I do


not think that is true, to be frank. I think independence can increase


the number of women who are involved in starting their own


businesses. I am getting to it. The reason is because we can choose


what we do with tax. We could for example used tax income to invest


more in start-up, we could use it to reduce VAT in certain areas, we


could use it to do away with air passenger duty. We would have the


choice about what we would do. The prices that we would have would be


about choices that fit the Scottish economy. What we have at the moment


is economic choices about the UK as a whole which do not fit in with


the Scottish economy and play most to the Scottish -- London and the


South and East. The other question was about equality. One of the


things that we will have if we have an independent Scotland is a


written constitution. And in that written constitution, we can


write... This is not a debate about party politics. This is our debate.


I am not a political party. This is our debate. We can write into that


constitution, lobby for it, argue for it to have constitutional right,


for example, to equal pay, a living wage. It is up to us. Let's go back


to the audience. I work for a business support organisation which


is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. I have Mashru


concerned about what support there would be for start-up businesses if


the funding were to disappear. There is little certainty about the


membership of the EU. Pan the Panel on so what the financial situation


would be for business support in Scotland for any other programmes


get help starting up but desperately unhappy to find there would be no


funding. I would do this more as the issue of self-determination, whether


or not funding is there, I feel that the Scottish people have the right


to determine what happens. At the moment we do not have a democracy.


On the issue of political representation, I do not think you


can write political representation into the Constitution you are


planning. We already have the equal pay act. We have had this for over


40 years and we have equality within the United Kingdom. And I'm


Pankhurst campaigned for votes for women many years ago. We know it


takes more than having things written on paper to achieve equality


and representation for women. There is only one party which has taken no


steps and that is the party I am proud to be a member of. I am not


ashamed to say I am a member of the Labour party. When the Scottish


Parliament was created, we need a real effort to ensure that the


representation of women was up there. We came really close, we had


the highest representation level of women across Europe. Sadly, that has


fallen back over the last few years. The party which is leading the


independence debate has a wall full record on women's issues. Alex


Salmond has only just realised when the poll numbers look Paul -- for


there was an issue of child care in this country. We're talking about


the real issues that affect women in this country. Let us get a response


from Elaine. I do not think we should get into that tribal staff.


Women get tired of it. When you get to, I am just going to see what my


party does, we can all trade those insults and that is what turns many


people away from politics. On the Europe PE and buying as well, -- on


the European thing, there is complication but that is even more


uncertainty in the next few years, we will be out of Europe anyway


because the south-east of England will vote that anyway. A point of


clarification, economic development policy is currently devolved to


Scotland. We can decide how strategies and policies are devolved


to support business start-ups. The key issue is the funding pot which


will be available in the future. the audience again, our next


question. We will bring in some questions about finance. Alana


Cochrane. As a working mum of two young children, can the panel tell


me what would happen to tax credits, help with childcare costs and other


important benefits in an independent Scotland? Claire Heuchan.


Supporters of independence talk about a fairer Scotland. But they


seem to think this can only be achieved by a large state. What can


they offer people who don't want a tax and spend Scotland?


I think it is fair to say that the yes Scotland vision seems to be for


a large public sector and generous welfare benefits, who will pay for


it? I'm not sure I do agree with that. The first decision we make is


whether or not we want to have independence. If we choose that, we


will then choose the kind of government we want. A lot of the


issues people are talking about will be down to that second choice


about, do you vote for which party and their manifesto. The Scotland


campaign is pointing out that the current situation that working


mothers, mothers with children, people with disabilities, are


currently facing, the bedroom tax, we will have 50,000 more children in


Scotland and poverty by 2020, it is those choices this current


government are making but they do not have to be like that in


Scotland. We are the eighth wealthiest country in the world,


Scotland is, but we are part of the UK which is the fourth most unequal


country in the world. It is not about if we can afford this but


about what choices we make about how we use our income and how we support


our citizens and how we support economic prosperity and growth.


Those choices may come to others if we fought for independence. If you


advocate the status quo does that mean you're happy with the situation


as intense, with the city at the moment and some of the benefit


cuts? No, I am not happy with the situation at the moment. I am fully


in favour of having a large state that provides for its citizens. I do


not think having independence is the only way to achieve that. The people


who are suffering in Scotland as a result of the benefit changes and


the welfare cuts are experiencing the same challenges of people living


just across the border or further says. I would like to see a Federer


United Kingdom, are more equal United Kingdom. I United Kingdom


where we share the risk and provide for the most honourable people in


society. I believe we should do that for the entire country. I think it


would be terrible for the North of England is to be abandoned by


Scotland's when it is that the most vulnerable stage of these welfare


reforms. I think it would be a real tragedy. I listened sympathetically


to these points. I would love to believe in UK and Westminster


Government which would fairly represent the population of the


country what it does not. The heading towards hung parliament


after Hong parliament. Wearing coalition in Westminster and the


heat it. We do coalition well in Scotland. Why would we not want to


jettison Westminster who are against electoral reform and cannot work


together in a cross-party we? moment, as you say, people being


affected by the welfare reform implementations, is going


independent not a chance to undo some of this decision and move


forward to be the Scottish culture we are where we were after our own?


The young lady in the second row. You say that if we have a


constitution, we can make the decisions about Scotland, but who is


going to write that constitution? The people who are in power now


should make those negotiations before we decide who we have in


power. How will the influence that? The SNP and the Yes campaign is not


just about the SNP. Many other parties are involved. People like


myself and Elaine are not in parties. They will not write the


constitution and make the decisions on policies unless they win the


election in 2016. What they will do between 2014 and 2016 is negotiate


with the UK Government to get those powers back on tax and benefits and


on a range of other issues. We will be negotiating on our behalf but


they will not be making decisions about the kind of policies we will


have. The written constitution, my personal view is that we should


start writing it. We should start lobbying for it. As women, we have


lots of views and opinions. Why don't we start doing that now and


see to the parties, that is the constitution we want. We're hearing


this evening about a number of aspirations in the audience and


frustration about current policy be it UK policy or Scottish policy will


stop we had a question about the size of the public sector in


Scotland. The fundamental thing is to move Scotland forward in an


aspirational methods, you need money, you need infrastructure and


funding. You have to decide how budgets will be spent and how they


will be prioritised, tough choices have to be made. If we do not have a


solid budget and solid infrastructure behind us in


Scotland, if we cannot afford to look after our sick and ageing


population, none of these things can be realised. I support the aims of


Better Together. I do not speak for then nor a political party. I


operate for Scotland around the world. I have champions Scotland for


25 years. I want Scotland to succeed. We need a strong


foundation. It is lunacy to cut ourselves off and build for the


future. We will not have the funding, investment will go. I was


involved with the highly prestigious financial institution foreign number


of viewers. It was my job to ask people to give us their money to


invest on their behalf. We were told from day one of our training, on


pain of instant dismissal, you can never project a potential return,


you can only talk about past performance. I would suggest to you


that it would be lovely if we could sit here and say, everybody's house


will be filled with gold and we will live in a land of milk and honey,


that would be great but we cannot say that. We can look at past


performance of what has been inflicted on Scotland by Westminster


and say, is this what we want in our children? I certainly do not want it


for my grandchildren. If you honestly think that Ed Balls, Ed


Miliband, Joanne laminate, honestly are going to have our road to


Damascus experience and time round, you are self delusional. Thank you


very much. We just have time for one more question. Isobel Campbell.


Would women benefit more from independence or staying with the


current arrangements. I think women would benefit from seeing with the


current arrangements because we have the best of both worlds, we have a


strong Scottish Parliament in Holyrood and we had opportunity to


vote for a new government at Westminster in 2015. That is our


democracy. We have the best of both worlds. I would obviously as I have


stated, believe that women would have opportunities if we could write


our Constitution and decide on what the policies on Scotland would be.


believe in my heart and head that the opportunities for women would be


better. I have a lot of sympathy for what you have been saying, I come


from that persuasion as well from supporting labour for many years. I


do not think the people of Scotland believe it any more. The corrupt


institutions of the British date will not deliver to those who need


it the best. -- the British state. More jam in a couple of years is not


good enough any more. Amanda. Scotland is enough and classic


position. It is doing very well in many areas and has a tremendous


platform from which to build. That situation has been done as being


part of the United Kingdom. That will provide greater opportunity to


women. Amanda made my case there. The fact of why Scotland is doing


well and has a great platform to build on is because Scots have done


that. If we can do that as part of a union which does not affect us any


more, how much can we do if we have the power in our own hands? Sadly


we've run out of time. Thank you to our panel and our studio audience.


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