July 23, 2014
Scottish leaders call for unity ahead of vote
Political leaders locked in a bitter fight over Scottish independence have urged all Scots to reunite whatever the outcome of a referendum in September as the national church voiced concerns over rifts in society.
Both sides in the campaign have called for an end to rising levels of abuse and personal attacks and stressed the need to work together after the vote over the 307-year tie to England.
As the race tightens ahead of the September 18 vote, the Church of Scotland said there was a danger of deepening division over whether to leave the United Kingdom and invited leaders of both sides to a post-ballot reconciliation service.
Opposition Labour's foreign spokesman Douglas Alexander, in a speech in Edinburgh on Monday, stressed the importance of ensuring Scotland does not divide more deeply after the referendum and a debate marked by "rancour and bad tempers".
"The result of the referendum on September 18 will leave Scotland divided, with a significant minority of the population feeling disappointed," said Alexander.
"The obligation and the challenge will be to ensure that Scotland - whatever the outcome - comes together and does not divide more deeply in the aftermath of this historic choice."
His comments came after the incoming moderator or chairman of the Church of Scotland, Rev John Chalmers, unveiled plans for a service at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh on September 21 to talk about healing and unity to overcome hurt and division.