Young Fife minds ponder big question of independence

Pupils inside St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy
Pupils inside St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy

Over 400 Fife school pupils gathered in a Kirkcaldy church for a debate on the Scottish referendum.

Seventeen schools were at the event in St Bryce Kirk on Monday, when senior students were given the opportunity to question representatives from four political parties on Scotland’s future and how it could be affected by independence.

The panel was: Fiona Hyslop MSP representing SNP; Ruth Davidson MSP for the Conservatives; Anas Sarwar MP for Labour and Patrick Harvie MSP for the Green party.

The Referendum Debate for Fife Schools was organised by Forth One FM, and was recorded in full for a one-hour radio programme.

It was chaired by Colin MacKay, political editor of Forth FM and commentator on STV, and consisted a panel of four Scottish politicians answering questions from the pupil and teacher audience about the Independence Referendum which is due to take place in September this year.

The event came about after Marie Penman, a college lecturer, contacted Forth One FM about hosting the event because she believes every young person deserved to hear a fair and balanced debate about September’s referendum, which will ask the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

Marie said: “For the first time ever, 16 and 17-year-olds are being allowed to vote, and no pressure, but it’s in a referendum that will decide the future of their country!

“The event went very well — it was lovely to see so many young people from across Fife getting so engaged with politics.

“The fact that the poll results changed before and after the debate indicate that teenagers just need to be presented with more information to make up their minds.

“It was a great day all round and I want to thank all those who took part.”

The two representatives from Better Together and two from the Yes Campaign, answered questions submitted by the teenage members of the audience, on subjects ranging from university tuition fees and the pound to border controls and immigration.

The debate will be broadcast on Sunday, February 16 on Scotland’s Talk-in from 11.00 a.m. on Radio Forth.

A poll was taken of students before and after the debate:


Yes 71 (21.8 per cent); No 201 (61.7 per cent); Undecided 54 (16.6 per cent) total 326.


Yes 81 (24.8 per cent); No 219 (67 per cent); Undecided 27 (8 per cent) total 327.