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I remember when I was a newspaper reporter here in Edmonton I used to be ordered to phone members of numerous immigrant groups in the city for reaction to events in their old home countries. I did it, of course, but I had serious doubts about the value of what they said. Who were these people? Why didn't they live in their own country? Was is possible that they were ex-secret policemen and torturers? Only this morning someone was asking me if I thought the people of Scotland would vote for independence later this week. My answer was the issues are so complex and the nuances so subtle, that you would literally have to be there to give a sensible answer. It's all about who to trust and to work that out a person would have to be a lot closer to the scene of the action than I am.  I know how I would vote if it was the same Scotland I left more than a decade ago. But it isn't. Chatting with friends and family back in Scotland and reading the Scottish papers online just isn't enough to yield an informed opinion. I know enough to know that almost without exception London-based commentators haven't a clue. The most sensible and rational discussion I've heard was on Australian radio. There are a lot of Scots in Australia and though they don't have a vote in the referendum, it has major implications for them; from pensions to the right of return. But, as one of the interviewees on the radio programme told them, they have already voted; voted with their feet when they left.  Of course, even being there isn’t always enough either when it comes to being well informed. I remember one of the Canadian radio stations had a United Kingdom correspondent who never seemed to leave London. Her entire view of life in Britain was based on what she heard at dinner parties in Chelsea, Hampstead and Notting Hill from the Chattering Classes. That was just after I moved to Canada and I certainly didn’t recognise the country she was describing. She may have been living in the UK but she had no idea about what was going on in the country.

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