Church puts faith in Scotland after final independence dialogue

The Moderator of the General Assembly said Wednesday's final independence referendum dialogue to be hosted by the Church of Scotland demonstrated that people from both sides can work together for the betterment of the nation.

Rt Rev John Chalmers with Lord Wallace and Mr Swinney MSP Rt Rev John Chalmers with Lord Wallace and Mr Swinney MSP

Rt Rev John Chalmers chaired a respectful dialogue at St George's Tron in Glasgow with Finance Minister John Swinney MSP representing the Yes campaign and Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC putting the No case forward.

Earlier this week Mr Chalmers had expressed fear that public discourse on the independence question had been permeated with "something ugly".

After Glasgow's Church of Scotland hosted event, he said: "What tonight has shown is that people from both sides can be together and share opinion in a respectful manner.

"Whatever the outcome on September 18, we will have to work together to ensure a better future for Scotland.

"My thanks go to all of those who took part here and around the country.

"It's important that we can hold such a discussion and disagree without denigrating each other.

"Even in our differences we remain part of the same community bound together by much more than separates us."

Mr Swinney said he wanted to see greater equality in education after being inspired by his time at a comprehensive school.

He also said the rise of foodbanks and the presence of nuclear missiles in Scotland suggested the need for a change in priorities.

Lord Wallace said economic disruption caused by independence would be felt hardest by the disadvantaged.

He also questioned the validity of the nuclear disarmament argument with relocation elsewhere in the same landmass being the alternative.

Also on the panel were Convener of the Church and Society Council, Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, and Rev Martin Johnstone who is Priority Areas Secretary.

10 satellite events were hosted around the country at Church of Scotland venues in conjunction with Glasgow's centrepiece in what has been one of the most innovative independence referendum debates so far.

Afterwards, Mr Chalmers announced that a post-referendum event, 'Imagining Scotland's Future Now', is to be held on November 5, also in St George's Tron.