Next Thursday Scotland goes to the polls to vote on whether it should become an independent country. Here two expat Scots explain their views on the debate - and what they think would be best for the country.
(Video by Marc Forster-Pert)
Jim Forrest (pictured) is a former councillor who has lived in Stubbington for many years. Here, he gives his views on why he would vote no and why believes the future of Scotland would be better if it remained part of the United Kingdom
My fellow Scots are being asked to trade the reality of self-government for the illusion of independence.
Scots already have more control over their own affairs – health, education, care of the elderly – than voters in England, tied by an outdated political system and a Westminster stranglehold on local councils.
Even more power is now on offer to the Edinburgh parliament. It’s a pity that so-called ‘Devo-Max’ wasn’t put on the ballot paper – it would have been the overwhelming choice of Scots, rather than the narrow majority they may give to separation.
Yes, ‘separation’… There’s no true ‘independence’ in a world dominated by the power of global corporations.
A separate Scotland would be forced to compete for business and jobs by giving the multi-nationals tax concessions that would make the current austerity look like a picnic.
Alex Salmond (pictured second) tacitly recognised this with his cheeky demand for ‘a mandate’ to keep the pound rather than launch a Scottish currency – as if 2m yes votes for independence in Scotland count for more than the 55m other Britons who haven’t been given a say.
But let me conclude with the positive reason to say No.
Scots’ love of liberty helped to put the ‘Great’ into Britain.
We can make it greater yet by spreading the more mature instruments of democracy that have proved their worth in Holyrood.
Self-government for all the regions, backed by a truly representative Westminster parliament fighting our corner in an inter-dependent world.
I’d say Yes to that.
Caroline Hodges, 40, who originally comes from Dundee but now lives in North End, Portsmouth, is in favour of full independence for Scotland. Here she explains the reasons behind her decision
I moved to Portsmouth after finishing my nurse training at Dundee University in 1998. In England nurses were paid more than in Scotland so I moved to Portsmouth. I met my husband in Portsmouth and we have two children born in England.
Let’s get it straight, I don’t have a vote but I’m a fiercely proud Scot and no matter where I live, or for how long I will always be Scottish.
That does not mean I’m anti-English just because I’m patriotic.
I still spend a lot of time in Scotland and have seen firsthand the impact of this referendum on friendships and families.
People are very passionate about it and it has caused a lot of conflict. There is no escape from it on TV, streets, pubs and social media.
This referendum is a historic event and there is no going back.
Personally my heart has always said Yes and my head said No.
In recent days, if I had a vote it may have changed to a Yes.
The Prime Minister flying up to Scotland and the Saltire flying over Downing Street seems a little too late and a little patronising.
My main concern is the currency issue.
It’s a personal thing as I want to move back to Scotland with my family and I worry about the impact of this on mortgages and taxes.
The Yes campaign offers hope and optimism for the future but falls short on clarity on some important issues but the No campaign offers little hope to many people of Scotland.
Shipbuilding could make city return
LAST November it was announced 940 people working in the shipbuilding industry in Portsmouth would lose their jobs.
BAE Systems said at the time that it would close its shipbuilding operation in the city and move to the Clyde.
Ten months on and the question about Scottish independence has brought shipbuilding back into the limelight.
If the people of Scotland vote Yes for independence, it could mean shipbuilding returning to Portsmouth’s waters.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has refused to be drawn on whether Portsmouth could be an alternative site for shipbuilding if Scotland does go ahead and votes for independence.
It comes as the MoD announced three new Royal Navy patrol vessels will be built by BAE Systems on the Clyde in a £348m contract which will secure more than 800 Scottish jobs.
But defence secretary Michael Fallon has previously said that contracts would need to be revisited if Scotland voted for independence.
Last month, the final block of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier The Prince of Wales left Portsmouth for Scotland, marking the last work BAE Systems’ shipbuilding division will carry out before it heads north.
Prime minister David Cameron confirmed the vessel will be used and not mothballed, as originally feared. The Prince of Wales is set to return to the city at the end of the decade, along with HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Many voters are still undecided
IT’S unclear which way the people of Scotland will vote next Thursday, with some voters yet to make up their minds.
A new poll has suggested the No campaign holds a narrow lead ahead of the referendum on whether Scotland should become independent. Two previous polls suggested the race was neck and neck.
Alex Salmond, the First Minister for Scotland, believes the country should be independent from the rest of the United Kingdom.
He believes it would be better for Scotland to have its own governing powers. He also wants to stop building nuclear weapons and secure oil funds in the North Sea.
He believes that going independent would create more jobs and provide more benefits for the people of Scotland, as well as having more equal wages.
Addressing international journalists yesterday he said: ‘Scotland is on the cusp of making history. The eyes of the world are upon Scotland. And what the world is seeing is an articulate, peaceful, energised debate.’
The UK’s political leaders – David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband – have been campaigning in Scotland this week to encourage people to vote no because they believe the United Kingdom is better with Scotland in it. They believe keeping one society would benefit all countries.
Meanwhile, some firms have already said part of their businesses would be relocated in the event of a Yes vote, including Standard Life and The Royal Bank of Scotland.