Urge your Scottish friends and loved ones to stay with us

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

This week Scotland goes to the polls in what could be the most important British vote since the Second World War.

If the Scots decide to quit the Union, then the United Kingdom as we know it will be in ruins.

A third of its land mass will be gone, and much of its culture and character too.

The very future of the UK will be in the spotlight, with grave implications for Northern Ireland’s link with England and Wales.

The campaign over whether or not the Scots leave the UK has been going on for more than two years, yet has been low on the radar in this Province. The Scotland debate has also had a low profile in England and Wales, until the last two weeks, when polls began to point to a close outcome.

The apparent lack of interest was not a sign of indifference towards Scotland and its place within the UK, but a reflection of the fact that almost no-one seriously seemed to think that a split would happen. Now there is alarm across these islands.

Given that Scotland, like Northern Ireland, has been a net beneficiary of Treasury funding, it is hard to conclude that it will be anything other than worse off financially if it turns its back on London, certainly in the short term.

As the Queen and every major politician at Westminster has made clear, this will be a decision for the Scottish electorate.

But there is a small thing that people in Northern Ireland can do to influence the outcome — urge our friends and relatives over there not to go it alone.

This might seem like a futile exercise until you contemplate the prospect of Scotland voting Yes or No by a margin of a few hundred votes, which is conceivable in light of the current polls.

Given the long historical ties between the north of Ireland and Scotland, and given the tradition of Ulster students studying at Scottish universities, there must be scores of thousands of people here who have a loved one living on the far side of the North Channel.