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College referendum debate

STUDENTS and staff at Shetland’s colleges and high schools will be debating Scottish independence on Friday.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and one other will be taking on Shetland Arts chairman and SNP member Danus Skene and the Scottish Green Party’s youth convener Ross Greer from Glasgow.

Students and staff from the college will be joined by others from NAFC Marine Centre, Mareel and local sixth forms, to debate the impact independence would have on youth, especially with young people aged 16 and over having a vote on 18 September 2014.

The debate, one of the first of its kind to be held in a college in Scotland, is designed to help students understand the issues and to improve their citizenship skills.

Yes Scotland will also be hosting an informal session at Mareel with Greer on Friday night in the café/bar from 7 to 9pm.

Meanwhile the Shetland branches of the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative parties have joined forces to argue the benefits of Scotland remaining in the UK under the Better Together banner.

The three parties issued a joint statement stressing the uncertainties that Scottish independence would bring.

“Serious questions remain unanswered about Scotland as an independent country: what currency would be used, what interest rates would result, what security for pensions, what access to the Continental shelf, what impact on English, Welsh or Northern Ireland companies who operate in Scotland and Shetland, what immigration controls would apply, what impact would result to the oil, fishing, agriculture, tourism industries and the economy, etc.

“Global security, international trade, a stable currency, low interest rates, the strongest social, cultural and economic bonds with consistent welfare across the nation are examples of the UK in action.

“It’s no coincidence that these are the very things the separatists and secessionists want to argue will not be lost. But the best way to avoid that risk is to reject separation and remain part of the United Kingdom.”

The group said they would welcome comments and contributions on the “most important decision ever on Shetland’s future”, adding that they supported Shetland Islands Council’s constitutional reform initiative.