Scotland’s Sunday Herald became the first British newspaper to openly support Scottish independence on Sunday, a fillip for nationalists ahead of a September 18 referendum.
All Scottish residents aged 16 and over will be able to vote on whether to end the country’s 307 year-old union with England and leave the United Kingdom. If a majority votes in favor, Scotland will become an independent country on March 24, 2016.
The Glasgow-based paper, which has a circulation of 24,000 per issue, declared its editorial stance with a bold front page carrying the words “Sunday Herald says Yes” and incorporating Scotland’s national floral emblem, a purple thistle.
“Having considered the arguments, the Sunday Herald sincerely and emphatically believes that the best outcome is a vote for independence,” the paper said in an article announcing its decision, Reuters reports.
“We view the referendum not as a choice between the status quo and an uncertain future, but as between a bankrupt political structure and the chance to remake our society in a more equal, inclusive, open and just way.”
In recent weeks a range of opinion polls have shown the gap closing between independence supporters and the campaign opposing a split, which is being orchestrated from London by politicians from Britain’s three main parties.
The paper said it believed an independent Scotland was likely to agree a currency union with the UK, despite the British government’s insistence that such a union is not on offer. It also said it was confident Scotland would be a member of the European Union.
Mark Hirst, Scottish Government Minister, during a visit to one of the main border crossings between Scotland and England, has told RIA Novosti that he is “pretty confident” independence will not result in the erection of “border posts” physically separating the two countries.
Transport Minister Keith Brown was visiting the border crossing to unveil a new set of roads signs marking Scotland’s official “Year of Homecoming”, an international campaign aimed at encouraging Scots living abroad to visit their homeland.
“We all know we’re part of the European Union which is about taking down borders, not erecting them,” Brown told RIA Novosti. “Whatever the constitutional future of Scotland will be I’m pretty confident we’re not going to see border posts here.”
The UK Government has already warned that if Scotland became independent a