During the 2014 Referendum the SNP set the bounds of the debate on many issues. Not only did they get to choose the date and length of the campaign, the franchise (16 year olds and EU citizens), the question, the answers, and the words on the ballot paper itself (see below); but they also managed to ensure that people from outside Scotland were essentially excluded from the debate, and felt awkward about entering it.
They successfully "de-legitimised" voices from the rest of the UK.
This meant that people from outside Scotland were reluctant to voice an opinion, even though it was about the future of their own country – the United Kingdom!
Unfortunately, the official "Better Together" campaign did little to counter the notion that everyone else on our Islands was involved and needed to be engaged.
We realised the problem when a woman who lived in Scotland said to us, "I'm from England so maybe I shouldn't have an opinion on this."
We told her immediately, "If you're British, you're involved!"
That experience made us realise that if there is another separation referendum, then everyone in the rest of the UK must be welcome and encouraged to participate. This will be essential if we are to keep our shared Nation – the United Kingdom – together.
Never again can we allow the de-legitimisation of British voices from outside Scotland.