Videobooth – Scottish Referendum

A guest post by volunteer Sarah Taylor

The videobooth at the People’s History Museum allows our visitors to give their opinions on a variety of different matters. However, these videos don’t just disappear off into the PHM atmosphere once recorded – it’s my job to go through them and make sure the rest of the world can hear the wonderful ideas and views of our visitors.

In September, we asked: ‘What are your thoughts on the Scottish Referendum?’. Generally our visitors were happy with the results of the Referendum and felt that the two nations were stronger together. They also saw the Scottish Referendum as a good example of democracy with an excellent turnout.

However, most felt that the result had provided the best of both worlds as although it kept us together, it has also opened up a lot of other issues and unanswered questions that now need to be discussed. These include lowering the voting age to 16 and the introduction of an English parliament – maybe even devolution for Greater Manchester!

So all in all, last month’s Videobooth has shown that although our visitors seem to be in agreement on the result of the Scottish Referendum, everyone has their own opinions and ideas on where we should go next. To watch to the videos for yourself have a look at the playlist on our YouTube channel.

We are now asking visitors about the issues on political parties’ manifestos that are most important to them, so come along, have your say and see if you get chosen for YouTube fame as part of next month’s YouTube playlist!

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Better together or going it alone? Scottish Referendum display at the PHM.

IMG_2922

Today Scotland votes to decide on whether they will be an independent country.  Last year Harriet Richardson wrote this blog post about our collections related to this issue.  Please note that this was originally published on 19 September 2013.  You can see how our visitors voted here.

Yesterday marked one year to go until Scotland will vote to decide the future of their country…are they better staying within the UK or will they decide to become independent and go it alone? In honour of this momentous question, which will inevitably affect all living in the UK today and most people have an opinion on, we decided to search through our collections and review the history of this debate, while presenting material from both contemporary campaigns; Better Together and YES Scotland.

The first stop was our very own Archive and Study Centre to look at material surrounding the history of this story. Since the Act of Union in 1707, groups within Scotland have advocated for a separate Scottish Parliament, known as devolution, or complete independence from the United Kingdom. The first vote on devolution was held in 1979. Despite a majority of people voting ‘yes’ the act required 40% of all people in Scotland to do so, as this did not occur nothing changed. The second vote for devolution took place in 1997and this time Scotland did vote yes. Devolution brought a Scottish parliament with powers to legislate over health, education and housing, but not economic policy, defence or foreign affairs.

We were able to piece together pamphlets, leaflets and photographs from the archive and theIMG_2933 Working Class Movement Library and create a case which charted the long history which will result in the referendum next year.  My personal favourite is this photograph of a lady campaigning for a Scottish Assembly in 1987- she looks to be there for the long haul, despite the bad weather!

To bring the display right up to the present day, the very helpful people at both YES Scotland and Better Together sent us some campaign material including badges, posters, balloons, pens, leaflets and even a bottle opener/ key IMG_2927ring- always something to keep handy! These items were displayed in a separate case and the posters were stuck up on the wall bringing contemporary debate inside our museum setting.

The ‘Yes’ Scotland campaign argues that a future under a social union will result in a much more equal society, because Scotland will be able to prioritise on matters most important to them. While the ‘Better Together’ campaign argue that were Scotland to become independent the country would be worse off economically, politically and socially.

Unless you live in Scotland, you won’t get to vote in the 2014 referendum, although a ‘yes’ voteIMG_2923 would radically alter what it means to be British. We thought therefore that it would be a great idea to use one of our new perspex ballot boxes, and offer our visitors the chance to ‘play their part’ and cast their vote. Visitors are asked the question which will be used next year; ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ and are asked to tick a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box. So far we have had loads of votes, and the display has only been up one day! We’ll tweet what the majority of our visitors have decided to vote for in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for our very own PHM poll.

Scottish Referendum- the votes are in!

 

On Wednesday 18 September, to mark one year to go until the Scottish Referendum, we put up a display looking at this contemporary debate, and how it could be one which would have lasting effects on all living in the UK today.

 

As part of this, we conducted our own poll, and asked visitors the question Scottish residents will be asked in 2014; Should Scotland be an independent country? The display proved to get our visitors talking, with a total of 119 people casting their vote in just over a week.

 

We provided visitors with voting slips asking them the above question, and gave them the option to tell us their nationality, which was entirely optional. We hoped this would give us an idea of the spread of voters, and whether one country was more likely to vote a certain way than another- we were especially interested in how our Scottish visitors would vote!

 

Results- finalSo, without further ado, here are the results. The majority (53%) of our visitors believe that Scotland should not be an independent country, that we are ‘Better Together’ and voted that they stay within the United Kingdom. This is opposed to 31% of visitors who believe that Scotland should be an independent country and voted with the YES Scotland campaign. 13% of our visitors posted voting slips with no vote on at all, whether this was because they were left undecided, whether they wanted to make a stand against the referendum, or perhaps they merely wanted to post something into our lovely ballot boxes without taking part in the vote, we can never tell, so we can’t gain a great amount of information from these votes.

 

The remaining 5% of our visitors left no vote on their slip, but did write a comment to express their views. One visitor interestingly wrote ‘It’s up to them’ when faced with the question, asserting that it should be up to Scotland alone to decide whether they should be independent of the UK.

 

A further few visitors made their vote, but then left comments after it to attest to their feelings on the matter. One voter put a cross in the ‘No’ box, but further remarked “But I’d still get rid of Westminster”, while another voted ‘Yes’ then commented “Then Shetland and Grampian will go-it alone with their oil!”.

 

Nationality- NOAs previously mentioned, visitors were given the option to tell us their nationality upon voting. The uptake on this Nationality- YESwas not as great, but this is to be expected when this is not a traditional part of a voting slip. An interesting observation can be made from these results, that the majority of ‘No’ voters have defined themselves as British, whereas the majority of YES voters have defined themselves as either English or Scottish. This is of course to be expected, but it does suggest that many people already see themselves as living in separate nations, regardless of whether that is legally confirmed or not.

 

 

What do you believe? Do you agree with the majority of our visitors and think that Scotland are better staying within the UK, or do you think they should go-it alone? Cast your vote now on our online poll at the bottom of the page! Whatever your view, this debate has proved to spark diverse reactions from our visitors, and will prove to make an interesting referendum in 2014!

 

Better together or going it alone? Scottish Referendum display at the PHM.

IMG_2922Yesterday marked one year to go until Scotland will vote to decide the future of their country…are they better staying within the UK or will they decide to become independent and go it alone? In honour of this momentous question, which will inevitably affect all living in the UK today and most people have an opinion on, we decided to search through our collections and review the history of this debate, while presenting material from both contemporary campaigns; Better Together and YES Scotland.

The first stop was our very own Archive and Study Centre to look at material surrounding the history of this story. Since the Act of Union in 1707, groups within Scotland have advocated for a separate Scottish Parliament, known as devolution, or complete independence from the United Kingdom. The first vote on devolution was held in 1979. Despite a majority of people voting ‘yes’ the act required 40% of all people in Scotland to do so, as this did not occur nothing changed. The second vote for devolution took place in 1997and this time Scotland did vote yes. Devolution brought a Scottish parliament with powers to legislate over health, education and housing, but not economic policy, defence or foreign affairs.

We were able to piece together pamphlets, leaflets and photographs from the archive and theIMG_2933 Working Class Movement Library and create a case which charted the long history which will result in the referendum next year.  My personal favourite is this photograph of a lady campaigning for a Scottish Assembly in 1987- she looks to be there for the long haul, despite the bad weather!

To bring the display right up to the present day, the very helpful people at both YES Scotland and Better Together sent us some campaign material including badges, posters, balloons, pens, leaflets and even a bottle opener/ key IMG_2927ring- always something to keep handy! These items were displayed in a separate case and the posters were stuck up on the wall bringing contemporary debate inside our museum setting.

The ‘Yes’ Scotland campaign argues that a future under a social union will result in a much more equal society, because Scotland will be able to prioritise on matters most important to them. While the ‘Better Together’ campaign argue that were Scotland to become independent the country would be worse off economically, politically and socially.

Unless you live in Scotland, you won’t get to vote in the 2014 referendum, although a ‘yes’ voteIMG_2923 would radically alter what it means to be British. We thought therefore that it would be a great idea to use one of our new perspex ballot boxes, and offer our visitors the chance to ‘play their part’ and cast their vote. Visitors are asked the question which will be used next year; ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ and are asked to tick a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box. So far we have had loads of votes, and the display has only been up one day! We’ll tweet what the majority of our visitors have decided to vote for in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for our very own PHM poll.