Do Scots living on the Fylde support second referendum on independence?

Glasgow fortnight in the 1960s
Glasgow fortnight in the 1960s

Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon was yesterday backed by MSPs in her call for a second independence referendum - but do ‘ex-pats’ in Blackpool support it?

Blackpool has long been a favoured holiday destination for people from Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Glasgow weekend was once legendary in terms of the amount of folk who crossed the border to enjoy themselves in the resort.

The strong links between Blackpool and Scotland remain to this day and mean many Scots have settled on the Fylde coast.

Ms Sturgeon says the Brexit vote has changed the landscape for many Scots.

The motion now allows the Scottish government to open negotiations with Westminster on the timing of a fresh poll.

Ms Sturgeon wants the referendum to be held between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

But Prime Minister Theresa May says it is not the right time, and the focus instead should be on getting the best Brexit deal for the UK as a whole.

Here we ask a selection of community leaders and business people for their views.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who was born in Ayrshire, said: “Scotland has just had a referendum and people voted by a clear majority to remain a part of the union.

“The SNP said it was a once-in-a-generation vote, yet just two years later they are demanding another one.

“They instead should focus on improving public services and job creation in Scotland, not spending time creating division.

“The Prime Minister has made it very clear the priority at the moment is for us to be coming together to get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom for Brexit.”

Derek Robertson, Conservative councillor for Waterloo on Blackpool Council, is originally from Edinburgh: “I don’t think there should be another referendum and Nicola Sturgeon should keep her nose out of Brexit and let us get on with it.

“But if there was another referendum I think Scottish people would vote to stay with the UK again.

“We are better together.

“There isn’t much work in Scotland which is why a lot of people come down south to places like Blackpool and London.

“At the moment people can move here to get jobs.

“If Scotland comes out of the UK, there will be a border and you’ll need a passport to cross it.”

Jim Elmes, Labour councillor for Marton, was born in Paisley: “I think Scotland would be daft to seek independence.

“They don’t have any money and are supported by the English economy.

“At the moment they get free education and free prescriptions, and those things would be lost if they became independent.

“I don’t think they realise what independence would bring.

“And if Theresa May said Scotland could have a second referendum, you can imagine the people who voted Remain in the EU referendum would be screaming for a second one as well.”

Alan Mackenzie, Scottish owner of The Anchorage guesthouse in St Annes: “I feel I am British, European and Scottish, but Scottish first.

“I am a patriot but I don’t believe independence is necessary because I feel Scotland is already an independent nation.

“It stands on its own feet culturally, historically and politically.

“I do believe in devolution of power, but I don’t think it would be in Scotland or England’s interests to break up the union, and Scotland does well out of the union.”

Craig McOmish, from Crieff in Perthshire, now operates the Fleetwood Beach Kiosk: “I think the UK has done very well for a long time.

“I think up in Scotland it is mainly the younger ones who might vote for independence, but I don’t know how it would affect business.

“I’m all in favour of the union continuing because I think all the countries do well out of being part of the UK.”

Blackpool hotelier John Grierson, owns the Fairhaven Hotel and is from Peebles in the Scottish Borders: “It would be a waste of money to hold another referendum.

“Nicola Sturgeon is just wanting the glory of trying to get the country out of the UK.

“Scotland has no money from oil or anything now.

“We are better together in terms of the economy and everything.

“We get a lot of visitors from Scotland and I’m surprised at the amount of people who want to stay in.”

Tony Banks, hotelier and owner of Blackpool Promotions which operates coach holidays to Blackpool.

He said: “We brought about 60,000 visitors to Scotland last year, and are expecting to bring more next year.

“Between ourselves and smaller operators, there are probably 100,000 Scottish visitors who we bring in staying on average three-and-a-half days.

“So Scotland is still very important to us.

“How possible independence would affect that would depend on the rules.

“If it went as far as border controls, it would become hideous.

“My head office and call centre are in Glasgow and I don’t know how they would be affected.

“We don’t know if the UK government would allow Scotland to keep the pound, and there would be massive tax implications.

“They said the Scottish referendum was a ‘once in a lifetime’ event but now Nicola Sturgeon wants to go through the process again instead of concentrating on what’s important for Scotland.”