Vans with slogans telling foreigners to Go Home are to be deployed in London after Scottish independence. The Border Agency has recently agreed to remove the vans which have caused widespread offence to immigrant communities but it has now been revealed they will be stored and brought out in the event of a Yes vote next September.
London Scots, of whom there are several hundred thousand, will find the vehicles in their streets, displaying a constant reminder that they are only in England under sufferance and should register to become English or return to Scotland.
The Home Office justified the plan saying it struck the right note for English people who were happy to have immigrants in their midst so long as they were there legally.
“The sad fact is, and this is being confirmed throughout the referendum campaign by Unionist politicians including Labour, that Scots will be foreigners in England. As such they should be treated the same as anybody else seeking to make a life in this country rather than their own. That is the consequence of being foreign.”
Scottish-born staff working for UK companies will receive forms asking for details of residency and offering them the chance of surrendering their Scottish national identity to be replaced with an English passport and voting rights.
“Of course, they will have to meet the criteria,” said an official. “They can’t just say they want to be English. They will have to answer questions about English history – kings and queens, that sort of thing – and display a thorough understanding of how English taxpayers have financed their country of origin. They will have to denounce the aims of the independence movement and Mr Salmond. We don’t want some unassimilated presence in our communities which can be used against this country’s national interest.”
The vans will have on their sides the message: In the UK Illegally? Go Home to Think Again…or Face Arrest.
Protestors said the message might provoke retaliation from English people who resented Scots in their cities. “What else can you expect when the elected government makes plain its revulsion at these foreigners in our midst?” said a spokesman for the English Defence League. “They’re making it clear they don’t want these immigrant types in this country and since they are also making it clear that Scots will be foreigners, the same applies to them. That’s what happens when the government follows racist policies that we support.”
There was confusion about how commuting Scots, like the broadcaster James Naughtie, will be regarded. With homes in both countries, he may be able to claim dual nationality. A spokesman for the Scottish government said it was not automatic that someone in that position would qualify for a Scottish passport. “The point is that people who have made a career out of being both Scottish and British will have to make up their mind,” said a spokesman. “We’re not sure what Jim would choose. But the British are making clear that if you remain Scottish in England and therefore foreign, you will be arrested.”
Mr Naughtie was on the shuttle and could not be contacted.