Big question is not so simple...

IT should be a simple enough question.

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Should Scotland be an indepen­dent country, yes or no?

But with each passing week it is becoming more complicated for the undecided, with conflicting accounts, interpretations of statistics and the statements of third parties subject to spin and selective quoting.

The campaigners are throwing as many issues and arguments into the mix in the hope that one or a combination is enough to secure a vote.

What will be the determining factor of how you cast your vote in the referendum?

Will it be because you think you will be financially better off in the immediate future?

Would being up or down by £500 a year for a few years really be enough to convince people one way or another?

It could be nuclear weapons and you want them taken out of Scotland's waters or you take comfort in the deterrent and influence in world affairs they offer.

It may be that the welfare state does it and you are attracted by the idea of being able to reverse the Tory cuts and reforms or maybe you like the security of more people paying into the pot for our benefits and pensions.

It is not just the currency question that has two sides of the same coin. There are two scenarios for every issue and for the eventual outcome, and while you might veer to Yes on one, another may take you closer to No.

Charles Dickens doesn't have a vote, because he is dead, but he might have surveyed this debate and concluded: 'It was the best of times it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom it was the age of foolishness.'

But right know who can be sure which is which.

Above all the issue based arguments is the big one, national identity. Many countries have become independent over the last hundred years as the political map of the world has altered considerably.

Larger states have broken up for various reasons and former colonies have gained freedom from their European 'masters'.

Few, if any of those countries, such as Ireland, Norway, Slovakia and certainly all the colonies considered the issue of being a few hundred pounds better off. For them it was about more than that. It was about identity, self determination and nationhood.

The absence of that simple question as a stand alone in this debate suggests that Scotland doesn't need to be independent for people to be Scottish and Scotland as a distinct part of Great Britain is enough for many.

Nobody, but those who might paint their face blue and white and shout freedom at the moon, really thinks Scotland has been colonised in the way Africans and Asians were. But unless you are truly independent are you a real nation?

The question on the ballot paper appears to be a simple one. But in reality it's much more complicated.

Local government

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