Scottish referendum splits families, beer drinkers

By Mark Phillips/CBS News
September 16, 2014

EDINBURGH, Scotland – In the lead up to Thursday’s high-stakes referendum in Scotland, everything is political — even drinking.

A bar in Scotland is holding its own independence opinion poll.

At the Twa Dugs pub, you can order a “Yes” beer if you’re for independence. A “No” beer if you’re against it. It’s pub owner Bob Shields’ private opinion poll.

“I am calling it vote with your throat,” Shields laughed.

At the bar, the yes vote is ahead. But across Scotland polls show the vote is too close to call.

Alex Salmond, the Yes campaign leader, feels history is on his side.

“This is an example of a country which has been progressing on a road to full self-government for a hundred years,” Salmond told CBS News.

But it’s a potentially bumpy road.

“I am very, very, very, very concerned,” said Mike Younger, the finance director at the distillery, who fears the uncertainty of a separate Scotland that can’t even say what currency it would use.

“I think the optimism is utterly misplaced.”

Not just business is doubtfull. Several foreign leaders including President Obama have said they’d prefer the UK to stay whole.

In an uncertain world, the U.S. may have a lot of reasons for wanting to see its most consistent ally stay united and strong. But there’s no greater reason than the HM Naval Base Clyde, also known as Faslane, where Britain’s nuclear missile fleet is based. And in an independent Scotland, it would be gone.

Former NATO Secretary General, George Robertson, has called independence a calamity.

“We move into very uncharted and dangerous waters if we go down this route,” Robertson said.

The debate has split Scotland and split families. Maureen McCormick is a No. Daughter Catherine is Yes.

“The United Kingdom is a big happy family and I don’t think we should break it up,” said McCormick.

“I don’t think we are such a happy family at all, no,” Catherine rebutted. “I think absolutely we could stand on our own two feet.”

They have one more day to convince each other who’s right.

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