Updated: Sunday, 12th July 2020 @ 9:02am

To the wire: Even Manchester is split on whether Scotland will back independence as voting begins in referendum

To the wire: Even Manchester is split on whether Scotland will back independence as voting begins in referendum

| By James Gray

Scotland undertakes its biggest ever decision in history today – whether or not to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country.

North of the border, the referendum is an issue that has split villages, towns, and even families as issues like the economy, the currency, and the NHS rage throughout the country.

However, while the rest of the Union don’t get a vote at all, there’s no doubt that it is still a divisive issue – and one that may affect us all.

We took to the streets of Manchester ask people which way they though Scotland would decide.

Do you think Scotland will vote to become an independent country?

Options Results
Yes 45%
No 55%


Mohammad Bashir, 35, a taxi driver from Castleton, was confident in the economic concerns of the Scots.

“Yeah I think they’re going to get independence,” he said. “They want to get away from England because they think they’re losing money. I’m just a taxi driver though, what do I know? The Scots I get in the back of the cab are all really nice people.  I wouldn’t want to lose them.”

A couple of 18-year-old friends in Piccadilly Gardens thought Scotland would go too.

“I think they’ll go independent: the Scots hate the English too much,” said Rhiannon Coombs, 18, from Old Trafford.

LET'S STAY TOGETHER: Elly and Rhiannon don't know why Scotland would vote 'Yes'

“I don’t really understand why you wouldn’t want to be a part of Britain. No-one really knows the consequences though. Politically it’s so uncertain. I don’t know if I’d be sad though.”

Elly Cramer, from Stockport, said: “It will be a sad thing in one way, because we’re losing part of our nation. Britain won’t be Britain anymore without Scotland.”

Two more students discussed the referendum, and how it would affect them personally. Scot Sass Lafferty, in Manchester to study music, told us he was travelling up on the day to vote ‘Yes’.

He said: “I come from a very deprived area of Scotland; we’re scared living there.  I know there’s economic uncertainty, but something has to change. Even if it’s a no vote, which it probably will be, I hope we can still change something.”

Sitting next to him was a friend he’d only met that week, but already he’d been bending her ear about Scottish independence.

Zoe Norton, an 18-year-old studying English in Manchester, said: “He talks about it all the time, and I’ve only known him three days!

“Before I met Sass, I was worried that Scotland as a country wouldn’t be able to cope, but I was still pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. I do think they’ll probably vote no.”

Zoe wasn’t the only one who thought that the UK would still be whole come Friday.

Catrina Simmons, a 20-year-old nurse, comes from Northern Ireland originally.

“It could go either way of course. I wouldn’t call myself British, but if people want to call me British that’s fine too, so I’m not too bothered.

“If they separated they’d probably be making a mistake, because I always thought in Scotland independence was about the government, not the people, so why would they vote yes?”

BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: Lee Huntly believes Scotland will fear consequences of independence and vote 'Yes'

The concerns of the ‘Better Together’ campaign were echoed on the streets of Manchester. Jonathan Hall, a local government officer in his forties, likened an independent Scotland to a debt-stricken Greece.

“Economically Scotland is a weak nation, and I think they might realise that they’ll have to put up with job cuts, expenditure cuts,” he said.

“We support them economically. It will be close, of course, but I think and hope it’ll be a ‘No’ vote.”

Niklas Jewry, a 22-year-old Dane living in the Northern Quarter, also worried about the economic viability of Scotland.

“I think people will vote yes, but I don’t know if it’s the right choice. Can Scotland attract the right investments from abroad, from Europe? I don’t think so. They’ll have a really hard time, for a long time.”

Lee Huntly, 34, has lived in Carlisle and Newcastle, so knows a bit about anti-English sentiment. Now a sales executive living in Salford, he thinks that Scots will be too worried to vote ‘Yes’.

“A lot of voters are scared of what might happen if they leave,” he said. “They might find themselves out of the frying pan and into the fire. Two or three months ago all the Scots I spoke to through work were saying ‘Yes’, but it seems like I’m getting loads of ‘No’ voters.”

DO WHAT YOU WANT: Sherif Latif believes they will vote no this time but it is not England's business

Sherif Latif, a 62-year-old waiter from Cheetham Hill, wondered if we should stay out of it altogether.

“It’s not our business. As far as I’m concerned, they can do what they want, but it’ll be a no this time,” he said.

This may not be the last time we hear about independence though.

“They have to try again,” said Sherif. “Maybe next time they’ll get it.”

Main image courtesy of Stuart Anthony, with thanks.