IF THE people living in Scotland are to have a referendum to determine whether it is to remain within the United Kingdom I would like to ask that I too be allowed to participate.
After all, living elsewhere has not diminished my love or concern for the country. Indeed, it can be argued that any change could have as great an effect on my life as it could do for those living in Scotland. If the people there voted for independence would I suddenly become an alien or foreign national? Would I have to apply for a passport? Would I have to apply for a visa to be allowed to carry on living in England or Wales or Northern Ireland?
Personally, it saddens me to hear so many of my fellow Scots expressing a desire to leave the United Kingdom and go their own way. And for what? Independence from Westminster will not mean independence from Brussels. Let us be clear, a nation the size of Scotland will have as much influence on EU matters as Ireland, Portugal or Greece, for example. What would be the point of gaining independence from Westminster only to find we are subject to greater control from Brussels?
The economic argument is also bogus. There have been many periods where Scotland has contributed handsomely to the UK exchequer. However, we must also remember that Scotland has benefited in harder times from the economic and political strength of the Union.
As part of the Union, we have lost nothing of our identity either within the island or around the world. Wherever I have travelled people have readily identified where Scotland is and, in their own way, what the country and its people represent.
As a Scot I look forward to receiving my ballot paper and exercising my vote accordingly. Failing that then I can only look to my fellow Scots at home and trust in their ability to look at the bigger picture and ignore the false hope peddled by those looking to fulfil their own personal aspirations.
Craig McGowan, Haselemere, Surrey