Facing many grey areas (Dorothy Harcus)
If you are acutely aware of the weary issue of independence and lengthy epistles, please take time to read this.
A former shipmate from Holland moved to England in the 1960s. He applied for British citizenship and this was granted in 1989.
For Pietur, this was a major decision. After an absence of 15 years, he returned recently, bringing his wife. They set up home just north of the border.
Grey areas that now face them are:
• Whether to stay British or become Scottish should there be a yes vote.
• If he becomes Scottish, what will happen to his state pension and how will its future value change in relation to the British state pension?
• Would he be allowed to remain British?
• What would happen to his NHS status; which country will pay his medical expenses?
• Would he be able to vote?
The answers to these questions concern us all, in particular, obviously, any English-born people now domiciled here.
What about those born here like this family’s offspring, who now live elsewhere? Are they allowed to choose, Scottish or British, and what implications for each?
The family has used a Scottish bank and wonder if after a “yes” vote their money would be guaranteed as at present by the government of UK? Would it be moved all to an English-based bank.
At present when a family member flies in to a Scottish airport from Holland or France, it is obligatory to show one’s passport.
Should an independent Scotland join the EU it will have to honour the Schengen agreement, we are asked to understand, which means there ought not to be borders between EU countries.
That would mean when flying between Amsterdam or Paris to Edinburgh, no show of passport would be necessary.
However, after arriving by air from those countries into London, passports will need to be shown at the UK border, just as at present.
UK border checks are made for good reasons. For this reason, should persons who live close to the border wish to take advantage of a supermarket on the English side they will require to produce their passports.
Finally, if Scotland votes “yes” (and God forbid it) and goes on to join the EU, will the Scots be given an in or out vote as our English or Welsh neighbours may get. Or will we simply have to accept what Earl Alick decides is best for us.
We should be truly thankful to our educators for the sensible attitudes of (at least) wir Shetland students.