Daily Archives: October 26, 2012
Eligibility to vote
They really haven’t thought this whole referendum thing through!
Mr Salmond and his cronies in the SNP continue to tell us that Independence is what the people of Scotland want. But let’s have a look at the population and who actually are “the people of Scotland”.
When the referendum is held in the autumn of 2014, only residents of Scotland will be eligible to vote. As a result, almost 400,000 living north of the border but born in other parts of the UK will get to take part, while 800,000 Scots living in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will not. Given that Scotland has a population of just five million, 800,000 is a huge number.
In protest at being disenfranchised, James Wallace, a 23-year-old Dumfries native turned London resident, has launched a petition demanding that expat Scots in other parts of the UK be allowed to participate in the referendum. Scots ministers say this simply would not be practical. And, indeed, it’s difficult to imagine how an electoral register of everyone who considered themselves a Scot might be drawn up. Who, after all, is Scottish? Those born in Scotland? People with Scottish ancestry? Anyone who is partial to Haggis and the Proclaimers?
For James Mitchell, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, residency is the only logical definition of Scottishness in terms of political representation. If you want a say over Scotland’s constitutional status he believes you should move back there. “It would be absurd to allow anyone who claimed to be Scottish a vote,” Mitchell says.
So Mr Salmond, after reducing the voting age to 16, perhaps you should now try winning the hearts and minds of those of us who live in Scotland but come from different parts of the UK and are eligible to vote if you are to stand any chance of realising your dream – you’re not achieving this at the moment sunshine!