Lurgan woman Caroline Henderson may be a ‘blow-in’ to the Western Isles of Scotland, but that hasn’t stopped her getting as caught up in the referendum debate as her fellow islanders.
Caroline, who moved to the remote Isle of Lewis three years ago with her fiance John Murdo Macleod, predicts the vote on Scottish independence will go “right to the wire” today (Thursday).
The 36-year-old, who worked for the Portadown Times and is now advertising manager on the Stornoway Gazette, has been following the debate closely.
At the beginning of the month, the paper held its own referendum and, amazingly, the result, was a tie.
She explained, “The debate was held in the Town Hall and the 280 tickets were sold out. In fact, we could have sold them four times over.
“We had MP Nicola Sturgeon from the ‘yes’ camp and MP Johann Lamont from the ‘no’camp as well as four local businessmen - two from one side and two from the other - and members of the public. It was very heated.
“On the back of the tickets was a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ and we asked people to fill them in. Not everybody did but there were 99 votes for each.”
As for Caroline herself, she “started out as a ‘no’ but is now almost a ‘yes’. She said, “I think the ‘yes’ side is far stronger while the ‘no’ side are not as certain of their arguments.
“But there is a lot of uncertainty and, no matter what way the vote goes, people are worried about the repercussions.”
Caroline has been impressed by the care she has received from the NHS in Scotland, which she says is superior to that in Northern Ireland - and would hate to see that diminished.
Now that she is expecting a baby in January, this has taken on added significance. Despite being a plane ride away from Inverness, should she need a Caesarean, she has complete faith in her doctors.
Like her fellow islanders, Caroline is holding her breath on the final outcome. “This is definitely the biggest thing that has happened since I’ve been here,” she said.