Eddie Mair on Scottish independence: I’m a Don’t Know

“Don’t Knows – a rarer sight than Susanna Reid in trousers”

To Edinburgh last weekend, where I was speaking at a rally on the vexed question of Scottish independence. People often ask for my views on whether Scotland should vote Yes, or decide that we’re all Better Together, and I always tell them the same thing: “Mind your business, you nosey git.” But there could hardly be a more important question and so I decided that, as Scotland’s 159th most beloved broadcaster, it was time for my extremely important and influential voice to be heard.


That’s why last weekend I was the keynote speaker at an event on Calton Hill, passionately advocating my support for the Don’t Knows. I’m fed up of the Don’t Knows being ignored. Many opinion polls remove them from their findings altogether. I see politicians going on and on about how Yes is the only way forward or how No makes the best sense. But where are the folk speaking up for not being sure? Not on the TV and radio, that’s for sure!

I’ve written to the BBC – the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, as I like to call it (see what I hilariously did there?) – raging at the complete lack of representation of the Don’t Know campaign. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against Alex “Alec” Salmond and Alistair “thank you” Darling, or any of their underlings. They’re leading two spirited and fascinating campaigns. But they’re never off the airwaves! Sightings of a Don’t Know representative are rarer than Susanna Reid in trousers.

The BBC’s excuse, I’m told, is that whenever they phone up the Don’t Know campaign to invite a speaker onto a programme, the answer is always: “I don’t know.” Pathetic.

And so there I was last Saturday, speaking passionately but with great uncertainty about my firm view that, possibly, Don’t Know is the best option. I wasn’t sure about whether to wear my Don’t Know badge, so I just held it in my hand as a compromise.

I wish you could have been there for my stirring/lackadaisical address. Actually, I wish anyone had been there. A lot of friends in the Don’t Know campaign – including its leader, Mavis from Coronation Street – had said they would definitely appear, but for some reason not a single person turned up.

View from the tram

I hesitate to venture an opinion on Edinburgh’s shiny new tram. Friends tell me of the years of misery its construction caused and the fury invoked by the spiralling budget. Others are so ecstatic about the system they’ve given up their day jobs just to ride back and forth permanently between York Place and the airport. I cannot express a view either way on the history of it all.

What I am qualified to comment on, as a visitor, is how much I enjoyed it. Driving into Edinburgh has never been a pleasure for me: I’m always somehow in the wrong lane. So parking my lardy backside in a shiny new seat on a well-maintained and smooth tram with a cheery conductor clipping my ticket was a treat.

Or was it? Oh, I don’t know.

Sheep lover

This week, I became intimately involved with Shaun the Sheep. My solicitor says everything should be fine: it’s for a future article in RT.


Eddie Mair presents PM Mon- Fri 5pm, and iPM, Sat 5:45am, 5:30pm both Radio 4