WHEN Scotland narrowly voted against independence last year the plea to Scots from the south of the border was “let’s stay together” but now for thousands in the North of England it has become “take us with you.”
More than 20,000 have signed the online petition calling for the North to join an independent Scotland and the number is still soaring.
But perhaps the most surprising thing is how well it is being received by Scots themselves. The general consensus on Twitter from Scottish nationalists is that the North of England would be more than welcome.
As one tweet says: “The North/South divide isn’t anywhere remotely near Hadrian’s Wall - it’s somewhere just south of Sheffield.”
The #TakeUsWithYouScotland petition was launched on the change.org website. It claims the politics of Westminister is becoming “increasingly irrelevant to the North where people feel greater affinity with their counterparts such as Glasgow and Edinburgh than with the ideologies of the London-centric south.
It says: “The needs and challenges of the north cannot be understood by the endless parade of old Etonions lining the frontbenches of the House of Commons. The north of England should join the newly independent Scotland and regain control over its own destiny. We, the people of the north, demand that in the event that Scotland becomes independent the border between England and the New Scotland be drawn along a line that runs between the River Dee and the mouth of The Humber.”
It has struck a chord with thousands from the North of England on Twitter this evening.
And support for the idea doesn’t stop there.
Rhod Vaughan tweeted earlier this evening “#TakeUsWithYouScotland Wales wants in too!! As a Welshman living in Sheffield I know what progress we could all make together!”
While Sue Haswell adds: “I’m in Devon, it’s warm here, and beautiful.. But: #TakeUsWithYouScotland.”
For many it has been a reaction to the General Election result and a feeling that the Conservatives are not a party of the North. But among the thousands of tweets and signatures there is also just a sense that the North of England has more in common with Scotland than of anything below the Watford Gap.
One of the petitioners, Martyn Whyte from Whitby says: “I’m signing this because I can’t face another five years of Thatcherism. Plus Scotland is just as cool, friendly and pretty as the North of England. And those Westminster suits don’t deserve it!”
Many local politicians in the North of England will look on enviously at the devolved powers Scotland has been able to secure and perhaps wonder what could be achieved by a huge Northern powerhouse.
And as for Scotland? Well at the very least Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire could certainly help them with their bid to win the Tour De France after pipping them to the post last year.