Column: John Mann on the Scottish independence debate

John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3c)
John Mann is celebrating 10 years as an MP (w110610-3c)

Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom? This September Scotland votes on whether to leave the United Kingdom and following the comments by David Bowie at the Brit awards (he said ‘stay with us’) the debate is now full on.

Only those living in Scotland can vote, so an Englishman moving to Scotland gets a vote, but a Scot living in Bassetlaw does not.

On balance I think residence has to be the basis of any referendum, otherwise it would be impractical. According to the Scottish Nationalists, everything will be wonderful if Scotland leaves, but they and their leader, Alex Salmond have been unable to answer the most basic of questions. So let me help him.

Will Scotland keep the pound? No. The main reason being, that a currency union with Scotland does not suit the English economy.

If Scotland chooses to leave then that is their choice, but there is no way that we in the north will put ourselves in a position where we could lose out due to the pressures of the Scottish economy.

I will never vote for currency union and neither can I envisage other northern MPs doing so. If Scotland leaves it will have to create its own currency or enter the Euro.

Will there be border controls? Of course the Nationalists say no, they are not necessary. However they wish to join the European Union and new members are asked to sign up to the Schengen agreement which means no passport controls. We remain outside of this agreement and an independent Scotland would therefore end up with border controls on the A1, the M6 and other border points.

What about the Queen and the British army. An independent Scotland would be accepted into the Commonwealth and could therefore retain the Queen as its figurehead - though most nationalists I know are also privately staunch republicans, so there is no guarantee that this will happen. The British army would exit immediately, as would the Navy and Air Force. Only the Faslane base would take longer to exit. Obviously the Royal Mail would no longer operate, the costs of delivery in Scotland are the most expensive for the organisation and this will leave Scotland having to set up its own postal service. There would also be no requirement for train companies to run to Scotland.

The truth is that Scotland, where many of my family were born and still live, is fiercely patriotic. But the Scottish economy would sink on its own and very quickly. No international bank would base itself in Scotland and the weakness of the Scottish economy is reflected by its football teams, where Celtic and Rangers would love to join the Premier League.