Colin Campbell's News View

Colin Campbell
Colin Campbell

Pupils give resounding "No" vote

MILLBURN Academy in Inverness held a poll among pupils on the issue Scottish independence. An impressive 80 per cent of the 1100 at the school took part and the result was a decisive 62-38 rejection of the case for independence.

Some people might dismiss this as youthful flummery of no significance. That would be patronising in the extreme. As senior pupil Isla Mackenzie said: “I think a lot of young people are not interested in the idea of politics, but as soon as we started to have debates, it began to take off.”

The Millburn result is part of a trend in which schools which have organised similar polls are finding a majority of young people are voting “No”.

The outcome in Inverness may not have rocked Alex Salmond and the independence HQ to its foundations. But I’ll bet word about it filtered through and it registered with them.

Mr Salmond’s determination to give 16-year-olds the right to vote in the referendum has widely been seen as a move to garner the support of young people who would somehow be swept along by promises of a bright new future of more jobs, more freedom and an exciting sense of a new dawn for Scotland on September 19. The immense complexities of what’s at stake wouldn’t matter. Teenagers would be enthused by the lure of entering a thrilling new era.

The evidence accumulating suggests that’s not how it’s going to be. Around 900 young voters at Millburn delivered their verdict and it's cold comfort for Alex Salmond and co. If they aren’t at the very least perturbed about that poll at an Inverness school they’d probably previously never heard of, then they certainly should be.

Read more on this and other topics in Colin Campbell's News View each week - only in the Highland News

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