ACADEMICS for Yes consider evidence to be key to enlightening the referendum debate, so we examined in depth the content of the Channel 4 Dispatches programme broadcast on July 7, with a focus on those aspects of the programme that related to the role of academics in the debate.
Unfortunately the letter from former Principal Andrew Miller and others (Scotland on Sunday, July 13) is short on evidence, fails to withdraw its unsubstantiated and since refuted claims of intimidation of public bodies and university principals, and remains partial in its use of information.
In the programme, Lord Sutherland appears to have missed the hundreds of open meetings across Scotland where our futures are being widely discussed and debated; we have taken part in many of these organised by unaligned community and university groups and societies. Yet he suggests the campaign “does things by stealth, rather than argue them out in public”. The number of withdrawals and refusals to participate by the No supporters in public debate is significant as is their wont to hold stage-managed meetings with vetted audiences.
For completeness in addressing “intimidation” maybe the No campaign could respond to the Dispatches presenter’s criticism of the Treasury’s scaremongering, misuse and misrepresentation of the research of Patrick Dunleavy of London School of Economics. He described their contribution as “a dodgy dossier… it’s very crude, it’s alarmist, it’s not been checked, and it rests on a whole series of false steps that make this a very dubious document.”
Bryan MacGregor, Aberdeen University; Murray Pittock, Glasgow University, Mike Danson, Heriot Watt University; Stephen Watson, Glasgow University – all members of Academics for Yes