Monday, 7 April 2014

Breaking the Union

Some of the questions concerning the Scottish vote for independence are catching my interest. We've had holidays of varying lengths in Scotland ever since I started driving a car many years ago. But now Dh swears if they go independent he will never cross the border again. I'm not altogether sure if he really means it, but the idea of a border control on the top of Carter Bar, or customs barriers across the A74 strike me as fairly ridiculous. But if they vote Yes, then Scotland will no longer be part of the UK, and nor will they be part of the EU. They will have to apply for membership. Since the UK is part of the EU, then Scotland will become "a foreign country" and barriers will be required.

Will they start producing passports? Minting their own money? In the sixteenth century the Scottish pound was worth a lot less than the English pound. Maybe that didn't matter so much back then, but if it happens now, people south of the border will be refusing Scottish currency as too difficult to handle. Holidaymakers still prepared, unlike my Dh, to go north, will be scratching their heads over how to pay the bills.

They'll have to issue Driving licences, too. Will they continue to drive on the left, or opt to be contrary and drive on the right? I can see confusion ahead on the A1 as you leave Berwick. What about the Pennine Way which crosses the border into Scotland? Barriers there too? Do they have barriers on railway lines? I don't know. Will Scottish lorries have to pay to drive on English roads as they thunder down to the ferry terminals?

I read somewhere recently that 83% of the population of the UK lives in England. If that is true, it means 17%  covers Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. People here in England are beginning to ask why they don't have a vote on whether Scotland stays or goes. I think I can guess what they would say! Scots living in England, and there are lots of them, are asking why they don't have a vote. I'm asking why 16 year-olds in Scotland have a vote when the usual voting age is 18. Does Mr Salmond think he needs them to bolster the Yes vote? I wonder.


margaret blake said...

I can't imagine how it will work, isn't the Isle of Man sort of independent and we can just go in and out without any trouble? I must say as someone of Scottish ancestry I will be sad to lose them.

Jen Black said...

Citizenship in the Isle of Man is governed by British law. Passports issued by the Isle of Man Passport Office say "British Islands – Isle of Man" on the cover but the nationality status stated on the passport is simply "British Citizen". Although Manx passport holders are British citizens, because the Isle of Man is not part of the European Union, people born on the Island without a parent or grandparent either born or resident for more than five consecutive years in the United Kingdom do not have the same rights as other British citizens with regard to employment and establishment in the EU. Isle of Man passports can be issued to any British citizen in the Isle of Man (whether or not that person has "Manx status" as an Isle of Man worker under the local Isle of Man employment laws). They can also be issued to Manx-connected British citizens residing in Britain or either of the other Crown Dependencies.

European Union[edit]
The Isle of Man holds neither membership nor associate membership of the European Union. Protocol 3 of the UK's Act of Accession to the Treaty of Rome permits trade for Manx goods without tariffs.[41] In conjunction with the Customs and Excise agreement with the UK, this facilitates free trade with the UK. While Manx goods can be freely moved within the EU, capital and services cannot be.

EU citizens are entitled to travel and reside, but not work, in the island without restriction. And Manx citizens—without the hereditary qualification outlined above—are similarly restricted from working in the EU.[42][43]

Jen Black said...

An interesting observation, Margaret, so I checked and this is what I found.
Man is a British Crown Dependency, with its own Parliament and currency.
Lots of interesting questions!but few answers so far.

margaret blake said...

Thanks, Jan, That is very interesting information. I think I will move to the Isle of Man!
(But will have to win the lottery first).

Ursula Thompson said...

I heard about this whole Scottish independence thing but I never realized how much is at stake. That would be like suddenly declaring e.g Florida as a foreign country.
What do most of the English think? What is the benefit for the Scots?

Jen Black said...

I don't know what most of the English think, but there is a strong contingent that says Go and Good Riddance. Others want the UK to stay as it is. The counties of Cumbria and Northumberland will feel the break most. I dare say southern England will barely notice. As for what's in it for the Scots, you'll have to ask them!