With the Scottish Independence Referendum vote nearly upon us, I thought I’d say a few words.
I have now lived in Scotland for more years than I lived in England, the country of my birth. I love Scotland. I love its hills, moors and sport.
I was first introduced to Scotland by my paternal grandparents as my Grandmother was originally from Nairn. My Grandfather returned from the railways of India to the railway in Dorset and although they settled there, she was always proud of her roots. They were also very proud to be British as were most people at the turn of the century.
I worry about what lies ahead if the result goes to the Yes campaign. English, Welsh and Irish sportsmen who come to shoot in Scotland contribute a huge amount of money to the Scottish economy. Not only does the cost of their shooting fund estate related wages, estate upkeep and wildlife management, but their presence fills hotel beds and keeps restaurants and shops busy and people in jobs. The fact that a Yes vote could eventually lead to the demise of shooting, countless jobs and priceless countryside stewardship, should alarm us all.
Will an Englishman have to apply for a Visitor’s Permit for their shotgun or rifle? It is unlikely that an EU permit will suffice. And will they indeed come? A trip to Hungary, Spain or any other EU country may prove easier.
I live in Scotland and my Son lives 400 yards over the border in England.Will he then require a Visitor’s Permit to shoot with me?
I have a small shoot in England. Will I be OK with my new Scottish certificate?
Will Castle Gunmakers, an English gunshop, require an export licence to sell to a Scottish resident or vice versa? A pretty important question when 50% of your customers are Scottish!
Countless questions arise for shooting and the whole economy. Questions that have not yet been addressed. To all of you who have a passion for shooting, the countryside and the rural economy, think long and hard about how this vote may affect you!
Watch the SBS Australia TV show “Divided Kingdom” to see an interview with the author.
Barry “Gramps” Wilcox