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Moray students have their say on Scottish independence

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A Moray school hosted a referendum debate yesterday which emphasised the power that the newest generation of eligible voters have to shape Scotland’s future.

Gordonstoun was the setting in which the 16 to 18-year-old students heard MSPs argue for and against Scottish independence.

A group of 45 students from Elgin High School and three Lossiemouth High School pupils joined their Gordonstoun contemporaries for the hour long debate.

MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead represented the Yes campaign and Mary Scanlon, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, represented Better Together.

The two politicians concluded the debate by answering students’ questions on issues including the economy, health care, oil and defence.

Despite disagreeing on most things, both MSPs commended the informed and intellectual nature of the young voters’ concerns.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Scanlon said she thought the debate was excellent and she stressed the importance of ridding Scotland of the Westminster “blame culture”.

Mr Lochhead said he got really good feedback from students after the event and that independence offered Scottish youngsters a tremendous opportunity to shape their own future.

Gordonstoun former pupil Isabel Oakeshott chaired the debate and described next Thursday as an “incredibly important moment in Scotland’s history”.

Gordonstoun student Erinna Harvey-Jamieson, 17, said: “I’m excited to be able to vote. Personally, I find the Yes Campaign very interesting, and I thought they were both good speakers.

“Mary was very persuasive, but I’m sticking to my guns and following my heart, which says, ‘Yes’.”

Craig Ferguson, a 16-year-old pupil at Gordonstoun, said: “I’m someone who has an opinion, so it’s nice to have a vote.

“My opinion is no. I feel that no is the more conservative option of the two.

“I have two years left in an independent school, and I’m not sure how independence would affect that.”

Simon Reid, principal of Gordonstoun, said: “These are historic times, and we hope that by giving our students access to as much information as possible about the upcoming referendum they will be able to make an informed decision on the day.”

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