The coast of Scotland's Cromarty Firth. Photo ©2012 by Mark Gillespie.

February 9, 2014 – On September 18, Scots will vote on whether to break away from the United Kingdom and establish Scotland as an independent nation for the first time since 1707. The rhetoric from partisans on both sides of the issue is already at a fevered pitch, and promises to only get even louder as the election approaches. The pro-independence and pro-Union sides are arguing over everything from whether an independent Scotland will be eligible for European Union membership immediately to whether border checkpoints will be established along the remnants of Hadrian’s Wall. Of course, the impact on Scotland’s whisky industry is a key issue, though it’s hard to decipher facts from political posturing at this point.

I’ve had a number of emails from WhiskyCast listeners asking whether we will be covering the independence issue, and thought it was about time to state our position. To be blunt, we will take neither side in WhiskyCast’s editorial coverage. I don’t have a vote on independence, and while I have many friends who do, I think it’s best to stay out of the debate. I suspect my friends come down on both sides of the vote, and are quite capable of deciding their position without my opinion. If there’s a debate over the impact of independence on the Scotch whisky industry, we will cover it in a balanced, neutral way — just as we cover other whisky news. That includes the impact of trade agreements, EU membership, Scottish tax policy, and minimum pricing, along with any other issues that may develop over the next several months.

However,  you will not see an endorsement for either side coming from us, nor will there be any other commentary on the issue.

We have also amended our Advertising and Editorial Policy statement to include political campaigns and candidates on the list of advertisers we will not accept business from. That’s a small list, and while I hate to include politics on the same list as online porn, gambling, and tobacco, one could make the argument that overexposure to any of them can be hazardous to one’s health.

Scots will make the decision on independence, and they don’t need our help to make that decision.

-Mark Gillespie