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BBC 6 minute English-Scottish independence

BBC 6 minute English-Scottish independence

BBC 6 minute English-Scottish independence


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Welcome to 6 Minute English with me Rob

Neil: …and me Neil

Rob: Today we’re talking about national independence – that’s when one nation is free from control by another country. Neil, can you think of any countries that have become independent

Neil: Well, Scotland is talking a lot about this at the moment

Rob: Yes, it is. It’s a big political issue which we’ll talk more about soon. And of course we’ll be looking at some words related to independence. But let’s start with a question. How well do you know your history? The Declaration of Independence was made by thirteen American colonies that were fighting for freedom from the British Empire. But do you know what year that declaration – or announcement – was made? Was it

a) 1776

b) 1786

c) 1796

Neil: I am pretty sure it’s a) 1776

Rob: You sound quite confident, don’t you, but I’ll let you know the answer later on. Let’s talk more about independence. We often hear about groups of people campaigning or fighting for independence from the country that rules them

Neil: Yes, like the Basque people in Spain, or the Kurds in Iraq. This is when a certain group of people want their own homeland to preserve – that’s keep alive – their culture or beliefs

Rob: And sometimes, a whole nation wants to break away from the country that rules it because it feels it would be better for its people. That’s what’s happening in Scotland right now, isn’t it Neil

Neil: Well, not quite. Not everyone in Scotland wants to break away from the United Kingdom. This is a plan suggested by the ruling political party in Scotland – the Scottish National Party. But they are asking people to vote on the decision

Rob: And this vote on a single issue – or referendum – is happening in September. Politicians who want Scotland to be separate from the UK are trying to persuade the public to vote in favour of independence. Other politicians are trying to persuade people to vote no

Neil: Independence would mean Scotland would be able to control things like its tax system, its immigration policy and people would have a Scottish passport

Rob: Well, let’s hear from Alex Salmond, the Leader of the Scottish National Party, talking when he first announced there would be a referendum. What words did he use to describe how he wanted the debate – or discussion – on independence to be

Alex Salmond, Leader of the Scottish National Party

Divergent views are the very essence of democracy; robust debate is part of what makes us Scottish. The exchanges, the criticism and the debate must be passionate – how else could it be in Scotland? But let these contributions be based on fact, reason, logic, rather than smears, or allegations or misinformation

Neil: Alex Salmond said divergent views are the very essence of democracy – so all different views are important and that is what makes a democracy. And he encouraged debate about independence

Rob: Yes and he said the debate should be robust – so strong, firm and determined

Neil: …and it should be passionate – expressing powerful emotions

Rob: But most importantly, the debate should be based on real information – facts – not misinformation or what he calls smears – in other words, lies

Neil: Well, Scottish people will go to the ballot box in a few months’ time to vote. And if they vote ‘yes’ for independence, we, Rob, might have to show our passports if we cross the border from England into Scotland

Rob: Imagine that! And the Scottish people might lose the BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation – and get their own smaller Scottish Broadcasting Corporation

Neil: Of course, there’s always been a – let’s say – friendly rivalry between the two countries. And we are used to our nations competing independently in football and rugby tournaments

Rob: Of course, being an Englishman I know who’s best! But seriously, the idea of an independent Scotland isn’t that strange. The Act of Union, which brought Scotland together with England and Wales, only came into being in 1707. Before that, Scotland was independent

Neil: And only last century, Ireland fought for its independence from Britain

Rob: And in 1947, India succeeded in becoming independent from British rule, a day that’s now commemorated – or remembered – as a national holiday

Neil: But, while some countries aim to have self-rule – another word for independent rule – others want to share things which are usually unique to a country. For example, the member states of the European Union work together in trade and some share the same currency – the Euro

Well, this brings us back to your question Rob, when some American states declared independence from British rule

Rob: Yes, that was the Declaration of Independence – but what year was it

Neil: I said a) 1776

Rob: And of course, you were right. It was 1776. This was the beginning of a new nation that became the USA – and Independence Day is now celebrated every year on the 4th of July. I wonder if Scotland will be celebrating its own independence day in just a few years’ time? OK Neil, please could you remind us of some of the independence-related words that we’ve heard today

Neil: OK, here we go

independence declaration campaigning referendum in favour of debate divergent views robust passionate smears rivalry commemorated self-rule

Rob: Thanks Neil. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon for another programme

Neil: Goodbye

Rob: Bye

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