Scots with sight loss debate what Independence Referendum issues mean to them

Press release

It’s been called a step in the dark. But what will it be to those Scots who have spent some or all of their lives in the dark…?

This afternoon, Edinburgh will host a unique take on the Scottish independence referendum - by a constituency whose voice is more often heard at the margins.

Just what are the implications - and possibilities - for those with the most pressing need for a stable polity - people who are blind or partially sighted?

Insight Radio - the award-winning radio station of sight loss charity RNIB - will record a ‘Question Time’ debate in the National Gallery in Edinburgh attended by a cross-section of its listeners and members - people of all ages who are blind or partially sighted from across Scotland.

The speaker for the ‘Yes’ campaign will be actress, comedian and broadcaster Elaine C Smith. The speaker for the ‘Better Together’ campaign will be Stirling MP and former disabilities minister Anne McGuire, two passionate proponents of their respective causes.

The debate will be chaired by Insight Radio presenter Allan Russell who is himself blind. Dr Nicola McEwen, senior lecturer in politics at Edinburgh University, will provide impartial background detail to the debate.

For people with sight loss, the implications of an independent Scotland are profound and far-reaching, touching on the services that they depend on much more than most Scots. Services such as health, social services, welfare, transport, and those provided by the 800 cross-border charities, for instance. What, indeed, would the position of a UK charity such as RNIB be in an independent Scotland - could it continue as it does?

The number of Scots affected is not insignificant. 35,000 people are formally registered as blind and partially sighted in Scotland, but around 180,000 have significant sight loss (and the numbers are increasing).

The debate will be broadcast on Tuesday, July 1, at 7pm on Insight Radio. You can listen to Insight on Freeview Channel 730, or if you have satellite television you can listen on Freesat 777 or Sky Channel 0188; online at; on your Smartphone; or on radio on 101 FM in the Glasgow area.