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    Former First Minister: Scotland to Take 'Long Time' to Recover From Independence Debate

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    Scotland on the Eve of Independence Referendum (210)
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    Scotland will take a long time to recover from the "division" within the society that has been brought about by the Scottish independence referendum, the former Labor First Minister of Scotland, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    GLASGOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – Scotland will take a long time to recover from the "division" within the society that has been brought about by the Scottish independence referendum, the former Labor First Minister of Scotland, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    "Scotland will take a long time to recover from this," McConnell, who was First Minister of Scotland from 2001 until 2007, said.

    "My concerns about the division in our country have been set out before. They have not changed," McConnell added.

    McConnell told RIA Novosti that he was not opposed to the changes, but did not believe independence was the answer.

    "I want to see radical changes in the relationship between UK government and institutions and the nations and regions of the UK," McConnell said.

    "There have been mistakes in UK foreign policy, but again and again the UK is a force for good in the world," McConnell added. "For democracy, human rights, development, conflict prevention and women's empowerment, there is no more consistent voice among the major powers."

    On Wednesday McConnell criticized the Scottish police for not doing enough to crack down on referendum campaign related crime, such as vandalism and alleged intimidation.

    Brian Docherty of the Scottish Police Federation hit back in a statement yesterday saying, "It was inevitable that the closer we came to the 18th of September passions would increase, but that does not justify the exaggerated rhetoric that is being deployed with increased frequency.

    "Any neutral observer could be led to believe Scotland is on the verge of societal disintegration yet nothing could be further from the truth," Docherty added.

    Meanwhile turnout in the Scottish independence referendum is expected to reach between 85 and 90 percent, which would make it the highest ever recorded turnout in British political history.

    In 1997, when Scots last held a referendum that established devolution, the turnout was 60.4 percent.

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    Scotland on the Eve of Independence Referendum (210)
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    United Kingdom, referendum, Scottish Police Federation, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, Scotland
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