Editorial - Looking over the sea

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In the past it was often said that the people of Derry and Donegal were more familiar with the streets of Glasgow than they were with Dublin or Belfast.

While the traditional links, based mainly on seasonal employment in Scotland, are not as strong as they were in previous generations, a strong cultural link remains.

Unlike many cultural identities, it is also one which spans traditional political allegiances, with both ‘sides’ finding common cause with their Scottish neighbours, albeit on differing and often opposing issues.

For these reasons the referendum on Scottish independence is likely to be watched with interest by many in the north west. The prospect of contemporary constitutional change, brought about by a democratic vote, holds obvious attractions, and indeed fears, for people on both sides of the border on this island.

The issues may differ and the standard of political debate may even be higher, focusing on practical matters rather than traditional squabbles, but no doubt the battle lines will be drawn here as well and opposing sides are supported.

The outcome may not have a direct impact on life in the North but the fact that a legally binding vote of constitutional change is being held within the same wider political system is of enormous significance to us here, 15 years after the prospect was established in law with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

No doubt it will lead to many arguments here, but any serious discussion of constitutional issues can only be good for all causes.