Should Scotland go independent?

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With the announcement of a referendum on independence for Scotland, Scots and other nationalities are thinking about the implications of the break-up the Union which has survived for more than 300 years.

John Douglas, Corby’s Mr Scotland, is proud of his Scottish heritage and culture but isn’t in favour of independence.

Mr Douglas, 87, of Stadpeine Close, Corby, moved to the town in 1955.

He was a stalwart of the town’s Highland Gathering and raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity, dressed in his kilt and entertaining audiences in Corby.

Mr Douglas, who was born in Glasgow, said: “I came to Corby for a house and a job and the town has been good to me and my family.

“I’m a Scotsman to the core but I really believe Scotland should stay part of the Union.

“I’m passionate about my heritage and Scottish culture but I think Scotland’s future prosperity would be better served by remaining a part of the United Kingdom.”

Corby writer and playwright Paula Boulton is the author of the book and play Women of Steel, which tells the story of the first influx of Scots to Corby in the 1930s to work in the steel industry, up to the fight to save the works.

She said: “I have no Scottish connections but I am interested in the question of independence from the point of view of how it would affect our nuclear deterrent which is based there. The Scottish people don’t want it and yet the matter is being determined by Westminster.

“I am interested in how that might change if there was independence.”

Stewart Campbell, a leading trade unionist in Corby, said Scotland spends £12bn a year more than it collects in taxes and that in his view the country could not afford to be independent.

He said: “I believe that the Scottish people are more worried about their livelihoods and their children’s future.

“The challenge for any party which claims social democratic credentials is to develop a policy agenda that delivers growth, raises employment levels and pay, improves living standards and invests in education and the NHS. It is the party which offers the best vision of these issues and the means of achieving it, through, if necessary, further powers for the Scottish Parliament that will have the best chance of winning the Scottish people’s endorsement. I don’t think that this will be achieved by the SNP calling for an independent Scotland.”

Corby borough and county councillor John McGhee said: “With devolution Scotland has provided some services better but independence would be a mistake. Remaining in the Union would be the best way forward.”