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5 live's 5 big questions about Scottish independence: Guernsey

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Chris Mason Chris Mason | 22:53 UK time, Monday, 23 January 2012

So Day 1 of 5 live's 5 big questions about Scottish independence brings us to Guernsey. We are about as far away from Scotland as you can get whilst still being in the British Isles. But this place offers some fascinating insights into the constitutional dilemma Scotland faces.

Guernsey has a general election coming up in April.

Guernsey has a general election coming up in April.

As a British Crown Dependency, Guernsey is pretty much independent. Foreign affairs and defence are managed from London, but some mutter the last time that really mattered here the Nazis invaded.

The island uses the pound, even if the notes and coins look a bit different. And the Queen is the Head of State. So if Scotland’s First Minister put a question on the referendum paper there that offered a compromise between keeping things as they are and independence, could Scotland end up like Guernsey?

Several people here have told us privately that there is a fascination when they meet politicians from Scotland about how Guernsey manages its link with London. In short, that link is a thin but sturdy constitutional umbilical cord. It’s been around since 1204, so it’s certainly durable.

As you are reading this we are dashing from Guernsey to Northamptonshire. On Tuesday we will be reporting from Corby for Drive. It is known as Little Scotland and we will be heading for the Grampian Association. What will people there make of the prospect of Scottish independence? Would they like a vote themselves?

You can listen to our first piece for 5live Drive here.

Our second piece, featuring Guernsey's Bailiff, is here.

Our report for Radio 4's PM programme is here.

And our article for the BBC News website is here.


Chris Mason is 5 live’s political reporter. You can follow him on Twitter: @ChrisMasonBBC.

Chris is travelling with 5 live senior producer Chris Brindley.



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