By Willie Drennan: Editor of The Ulster Folk
On September 18th 2014, a referendum will determine whether or not Scotland will separate from the rest of the UK. While we need to respect the right of the Scottish people to vote how ever they choose on this issue, the rest of who would still remain in the UK after a YES vote, should probably start thinking what that would mean for us.
At the moment there seems to be a lot of confusion, within and outside Scotland, on just what an independent Scotland and the break-up of the United Kingdom would mean. This is undoubtedly the reason why a large chunk of Scottish people are currently unclear on which way they will vote.
I think it reasonable for those of us who could soon be regarded as foreigners to the Scot to start asking questions. A 670-page White Paper on independence has been published but most of us won’t have time to study it to figure out what it means. I plan to contact various political groups and activist groups in Scotland to see if they can provide any insight on the following queries. Any responses will be reported in upcoming issues of The Ulster Folk.
1. Would an independent Scotland be a republic or would it remain connected to the British monarchy? [Assuming the old Jacobite cause is no longer relevant]
2. Would Scotland apply to become part of the EU?
3. Would they plan to join the Euro?
4. Should the UK vote to leave the EU would this influence Scotland’s approach to the EU?
5. Would Scotland have its own defence force: army, navy and air force?
6. Would Scotland remain part of the British Commonwealth?
7. Where would the international border be with Northern Ireland?
8. How would this effect fishing rights/mineral rights etc.?
9. What effect would this have on UK citizens who currently reside, work or attend universities in Scotland: especially if one nation is part of EU and the other isn’t?
10. Should a Scottish region, such as the Orkneys and Shetlands, or even Dumfries and Galloway, vote decidedly to remain part of the UK, would they have the option of separating from Scotland and remaining in the UK?
I’m sure more issues that could impact the rest of the UK will arise.