Vote is your choice, but don't fear the referendum

IT'S been two days since the big live debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling took place on STV, hosted by the wonderful Bernard Ponsonby.

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Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling took part in television debate
Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling took part in television debate

I'm still wondering how much of an impact it had on voters, not to mention how disappointed I was not to have heard the First Minister address the former Chancellor as 'Darling' in true Blackadder style at some point.

Joking aside, for those of us who have already made up our minds how we will vote on the September 18, it probably made little difference but for those of us still undecided did it really provide the answers and reassurances they were looking for?

I always try to avoid discussing politics publicly because I am not a political person and I don't feel I'm really qualified or equipped to deal with such issues.

I do however feel confident enough to talk about the referendum because for me the vote in September isn't about politics, that comes afterwards, but it's simply a question of change.

Allow me, if you will, to share with you my thought process when it comes to independence, without sounding like a madwoman.

In my head I imagine a sort of flow chart with the top question being "are you happy with the way the country is being run at the moment?"

If you answer yes then you should vote No on September 18 simple as that.

If you answer no, you're not happy, then the next question would be "do you want change?"

Again if you answer no, then it's simple - you are voting No in the referendum - but if you answer Yes then the next big question is surely out of the two campaigns who can best offer you the change you are looking for.

Once you have decided which campaign inspires you, it should make it easy to cast your vote at the ballot boxes. That's why I'm slightly concerned that Tuesday's live debate didn't really do anything to sway those undecided voters either way.

I wouldn't for one second try to convince someone on which way to vote but what I would say is please don't waste your vote and go unheard when it comes to this massive decision for our country.

I under-stand its hard to decipher and cut through all the political mumbo jumbo being bandied about but with exactly six weeks to go there is still plenty of time to look at both campaigns and find out what they are really offering us a nation.

It's entirely your decision on how you vote and for most people it's a very personal choice which I utterly respect but please don't be scared of this referendum or its outcome and make sure you spend the next few weeks really doing your homework to guarantee your voice is heard loud and clear and that your vote counts in shaping the future of our country.

For more information on both the Yes and the No Campaigns log onto www.yesscotland.net/answers and www.bettertogether.net

HAPPY Birthday tomorrow to my darling mother Helen. I asked her what she'd like for her birthday. After a few minutes of saying she didn't want a thing as she had everything she could ever possibly want or need, she suddenly changed her tune.

"Actually now that you've asked I'd really love to fly first class to Las Vegas for two weeks and stay in a suite in one of the top hotels out there."

Note to self, next birthday just make sure I come prepared with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocs.

THE wait is over and it's time for me to dust off the feathers and diamonds for this year's Edinburgh Festival.

Michelle McManus' Reality: The Musical kicks off a two-week run on Monday at 7pm in the stunning new Stand in the Square venue in St Andrew Square Gardens.

It's a great wee show of comedy and musical sing-along so if that sounds like something you'd like to see why not come along as I'd love to see you there.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the Stand ticket office in a Edinburgh.

Log on to www.tickets.edfringe.com. There will be no column for the next two weeks but I'll be back on August 28 with all my festival gossip.

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