HASTINGS might be more than 500 miles from Scotland but the message from residents here is ‘let’s stay close’.
A group of Old Towners have joined together to launched a heart-felt petition to keep our Celtic cousins in the union ahead of September’s historic referendum.
There are more than 860 signatures already and the numbers are growing steadily.
The website www.toscotlandwithlove.co.uk is aimed at giving people in the rest of the UK the chance to say they care about keeping the Union.
It asks the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to sign up to tell Scotland that they care deeply about the UK family staying together and about how sad they would feel if the vote ended up in divorce.
The idea was created last month when a group of friends were having a drink in the Dolphin pub.
One of the group was the former director general of the Royal Horticultural Society, Andrew Colquhoun.
Andrew, whose great-grandfather was Scottish, said: “We were just talking in the pub one day and someone said what a shame it would be if Scotland left the union. We felt like we would be losing a family friend, a real deep sense of loss. I studied at Glasgow University for three years and loved every minute. The thought of having to get my passport out to cross the border is just awful. The people of the UK outside Scotland may not have a vote in the Referendum.
“But they do have feelings. Too much of the debate so far has just been about economics, business and politics.
“The Union is so much more than that. We want to change the terms of the discussion so that people have the chance to express those feelings too. There are about 800,000 people born in Scotland who live outside the country. We have had support from as far away as Australia and America and New Zealand which shows just how important that family is.”
But fellow Old Towner and Scot Malcolm Robinson will not be signing the petition. Originally from Alloa, Malcolm moved to Hastings in 2006 and is urging his compatriots to vote ‘yes’.
Malcolm said: “I was surprised to hear of such a petition coming people from the Old Town. I appreciate their sentiment and wish them well in their campaign but there is a bigger issue here. Being independent means that Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands. Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. This is our opportunity to make Scotland a better place to live, for now and for future generations. I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice, a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations as an independent nation. The Scottish people should stand up and take our country back. If we don’t, we will have to stand accountable to our grandchildren who will ask why we had the chance to do so, but we stood back and did nothing.”