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The Referendum Q & A: Shirley Manson

In the first of a new series, eminent Scots explain their attitudes to Scottish independence and how they'll be voting.

Edinburgh-born Shirley Manson, 46, is a songwriter, actress and lead singer of Garbage, one of the most influential rock bands of the 1990s.   

Which way will you be voting in the independence referendum?    

I will be voting to remain as part of the United Kingdom.

What are your reasons for this?     

I'd rather we all work together as one...as complex and fraught with peril as that may be. I believe that this relationship is worth working at and that the many benefits of living under one roof so to speak far outweigh those of living apart.

Have you always been aligned with this view?  

Not during the Thatcher years but I was young and naive and I hadn't lived long enough to know what I do now.

What changed your mind? 

An ever changing, increasingly dangerous world, my own maturity and my experiences travelling the globe.

Would you have a preferred a third choice, eg. Devo-max or devo-plus?  

I always like choice. I rarely see things in black and white anymore. 

How do you define your identity?  

I think of myself as a Scottish woman living in the world amongst a myriad of different races and belief systems.

What are your views on Scotland and the UK’s relationship with the EU?   

I am wary of isolationist politics in general, so as complex and far from perfect our relationship with the EU might be, I remain in favour of staying within it.

What are your views on free tertiary education, health care for the elderly and welfare?  

I believe in the concept that free tertiary education should be available to all who sincerely seek it. I also believe society should take care of those who are sincerely unable to take care of themselves. 

Did the Olympic Games or the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 have any bearing on your opinion?  

The Olympic Games or The Diamond Jubilee in 2012 had no impact on my political thinking whatsoever.

What do you think of Alex Salmond’s plans for a written constitution?

 I am married to an American man who wholeheartedly believes in the American Constitution, the concept of which has led to many heated debates over the dinner table. I can't help but reflect on the struggle to facilitate change that Obama continues to face as he attempts to introduce more stringent gun controls. His actions are seen to be in conflict with what I see as a very basic and inflexible amendment written in the constitution that has wreaked untold damage in gun related violence all over the US.    

Many of my gay friends continue to have to fight for their basic human rights to be honoured as they fight for gay marriage to become legal despite an amendment stating all men were born equal.  A constitution is only as good as the intentions of the men and women in power, both at the time that it is written and throughout the duration of time henceforth. It is not a magic wand nor does it necessarily come with any real guarantees, no matter what we hope for or are led to believe in. 

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