Alex Salmond wants to disenfranchise millions of Britons. Don’t let him.

by Ian Stewart

Forgive me, this is all going to get a bit Simon Heffer, but in a good way, I promise.

Sometimes it seems that the political class is intent upon the out-and-out destruction of Great Britain. Witness the lack of support for our national broadcaster, even before the Saville scandal, and its supreme lack of care at the ruthless gutting of the welfare state, let alone the NHS sell off. If you value your eardrums, never get me started on education either…

Yes, the political class – a thing that back in the fifties and sixties most of us would have thought near to death – has, by the grace of Margaret and Tony, been placed firmly back in control. I suppose that we should all be glad that we have no need to worry our little heads about the issues of the day, despite that pesky universal suffrage thingy. Let us all sit back and let assorted witless media-types, lawyers, bankers, tame academics, the odd ex-oil company exec and career politicians lull us all to sleep.

Large sections of this privileged, educated elite show supreme indifference as to the fate of the United Kingdom, whether they wield power in London or Edinburgh.

Despite leading the Conservative and Unionist party, and despite presenting themselves as inheritors of Macmillans’ one nation mantle to get elected, Cameron, Osborne, Gove et al have no love for the union. Why should they, when Scotland rejects modern Toryism by such a large degree? Yet a common cynical cause has been made with the fat, failed economist in Hollyrood. An outside observer might possibly see that however unlikely it may have seemed given the SNPs anti-Tory stance at previous elections, for nationalists, they main enemy has been Labour all along.

It goes like this – Labour lost the Scottish parliament because we deserved to. For far too long we practiced the kind of machine politics that belong to Tammany Hall rather than a modern state. Hopefully we are learning the lessons and reconnecting. However the result of the stitch-ups, the graft and the internal censorship has been plain to see.

So Alex Salmond, never one to exhibit an ounce of shame, was given an open goal. Never mind that his policies on the economy were in tatters by 2009, never mind the backing of religious reactionaries, or his blatant courting of dear Rupert, he beat us fair and square.

Yet the referendum in 2014 will disenfranchise millions on these islands, and is definitely not what the British electorate voted for in 2010. Let us ignore the guff about “team GB” that the no campaign will predictably harp on about. Just look at the electoral roll in almost any part of the UK. From the Kinnocks in South Wales, to the Macmillans, Robertsons and Mcleods in the former fishing ports and shipyards of the east coast, the Scottish diaspora are legion.

And what about Corby, the former steel town so full of us that it is known as “little Scotland”?

At a time when the French voters of London have their own seat in the National Assembly, when serious moves are being made to press for a similar accommodation in the Irish Republic, not to mention Sinn Feinn’s mooting of some kind of a say for the wider diaspora, what do we get? Oh yes, the chance to maybe need a passport to visit granny. Perhaps Mr Salmond made his attitude clear to these millions when he organised the great “Homecoming 2009” a while back – when it was clear to all that if your accent was in English rather than American, you had best not bother.

The Scots have played a huge role in the history of these islands, for good or ill (General Haig, Mick McGahey or Keir Hardie, take your pick).  I am sure that in one way or another that role will be continued, yet it would be a crying shame if a small band of men in the pockets of rich absentees could once again sell Scotland short.

Ian Stewart is a Labour party member and blogs at

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52 Responses to “Alex Salmond wants to disenfranchise millions of Britons. Don’t let him.”

  1. DougtheDug says:

    An interesting one Ian.

    Your premise is that if you are an ethnic Scot you should have a say in Scottish independence whether or not you were born there. How are you going to organise the ethnic Scots in the US, Canada and Australia?

    And what do you do about the non-ethnic Scots in Scotland? Do they lose their vote?

    Either the vote is confined to those who have chose to live in Scotland or confined to those who are ethnically Scottish wherever they are and excludes non-ethnic Scots. The SNP go for the first one but Labour apparently proposes the ethnic option.

  2. Peter A Bell says:

    Another representative of British Labour displays his bitter resentment of the SNP along with that disturbing obsession with ethnicity that seems to infect so many British nationalists.

  3. Brian Ritchie says:

    Tut tut tut. What a disgusting load of hate filled nonsense. As a born Englishman living in Scotland with a Yorkshire accent I am proud to support my Scoland’s right to self-determination. And you wonder why the electorate have turned against you when you spout such idiocy? Pah!

  4. Roger says:

    As a half Scot living in London family in Stirling and Perth I feel pretty passionately about this.

    But how on earth are we to be given a vote?

    Are we like the Third Reich to create a special genealogical office which we can submit our family trees back to 1750 to prove our racial purity and get a certificate?

    (And having done my Scottish ancestry back to the early nineteenth century have you any idea how difficult that is given that our ancestors were not exactly imaginative when it came to Christian and Surnames? – and that in fact many Highlanders are descended from English shepherds imported by Georgian and Victorian landlords after they’d expelled the natives in the clearances and replaced them with sheep).

    If so how do Mischlinge like me – 3 Scottish, 3 Irish and 2 English great-grandparents – get classed?

    Does my 3/8 Scottish blood get me 3/8 of a vote?

    And what about disenfranchising ‘immigrants’ to Scotland who might only have been there for months but will get a vote?

    What about the greater Scottish diaspora in Canada, the US, Australia etc (I have multiple relatives in Australia who were born in Scotland and have UK citizenship and actually have a better right to vote than I do)?

    Quite the most ridiculous thing I’ve read even on Labour Uncut.

  5. Roger says:

    That should of course be ‘with family in Stirling and Perth’…..

  6. Galen10 says:

    I am part of the Scottish diaspora, having lived in England almost as long as Scotland. I have an English wife, and a daughter who was born in Scotland, but grew up in England. I have a degree from an English university, and a further degree from a Scottish university. I have family branches all over the UK, although my close family are still in Scotland.

    I have no issue with not having a vote in the 2014 referendum; it’s the fairest solution. If the vote is Yes, I will expect and be entitled to a Scottish passport; no doubt many in a similar position will feel the same, tho some may be happy to keep UK citizenship. My English born brother in law will have a vote,as he lives in Aberdeen and is married to a Scot – seems eminently sensible to me!

    Labour got the gubbing they deserved in 2010 because they they are hopeless, and no longer represent the aspirations of large sections of their former support. Lamont’s latest pronouncements on universal benefits were effectively the death knell of Scottish Labour, provoking (rightly) disbelief in Scotland. she might as well have committed sepukku on the steps of Glasgow City council. Labour, much like the UK, is no longer fit for purpose; independence will happen, even if not in 2014, and in large part it will be due to the cowardice and stupidity of Labour and its nauseating apparatchiks!

  7. RevStu says:

    As with so many others who have already commented, I’m a Scot who cares passionately about independence but lives in England, and I’m absolutely fine with not having a vote, for the reasons already noted by other posters. The natural counterpoint of giving the vote to expat Scots like me is that it should be denied to non-ethnic Scots who actually live there – a disgusting notion.

    Mr Stewart does not speak for me, and I object in the strongest possible terms to his professing to do so. I have not been “disenfranchised”. Scotland’s governance should be decided by the people who live there, wherever they once came from.

  8. RevStu says:

    Also, this is an absolutely despicable slur:

    “Perhaps Mr Salmond made his attitude clear to these millions when he organised the great “Homecoming 2009” a while back – when it was clear to all that if your accent was in English rather than American, you had best not bother.”

    Really? When did he do such a thing? Or rather, what comment is Mr Stewart massively misrepresenting in order to try to pretend he did? Because there is no way in a hundred thousand years that Alex Salmond actually said it. Feel free to direct us to the quote.

  9. HenBroon says:

    What a desperate load of old straw grasping guff.

    “Alex Salmond wants to disenfranchise millions of Britons. Don’t let him.”

    This demonisation of Alex Salmond, the endless circular stream of “SNP accused” Labour press releases gobbled up by the DT, The Scotsman, The Herald and the rest of the unionist compliant MSM, has been the engine of the greatest radicalism in Scottish politics. Articles such as the above are just grist to the mill.

    Whoever heard of any referendum being held in a country that allowed those who are not officially resident there to take part? It is just desperate desperate pathetic nonsense.

    There are 80 million people world wide who claim Scottish ancestry will they also be asked to take part in our referendum?

    This has sod all to do with whoever you think the Britons are. This is Scottish business for the people who choose to live and work here. Sod all to do with London or any other post imperial gang of fascists.

    The SNP gubbed Labour because the SNP appealed to the Scottish voters who want to have say in how this country is run. Labour want that say kept in London, it is not rocket science to see why they are so utterly rejected along with their Tory bedfellows.

  10. Dubbieside says:

    “Yet a common cynical cause has been made with the fat, failed economist in Hollyrood.”

    This is the level of debate that sums up Labour in Scotland. No policies no ideas no brains, just attack Alex Salmond.

    “Never mind that his policies on the economy were in tatters by 2009, never mind the backing of religious reactionaries, or his blatant courting of dear Rupert, he beat us fair and square.”

    Where were his policies on the economy in tatters in 2099? What religious reactionaries? Dear Rupert? did Alex Salmond fly to Australia to address a News International conference? no that was Blair. Did you ask Ed Milliband and Douglas Alexander if they enjoyed Ruperts champagne?

    All Labour have left in Scotland is trying to talk up Lamont, who is even more unelectable than Iain Gray, and you still wonder why your vote is reducing by the day.

  11. Ian Stewart says:

    Well, when I wrote that this post would get a bit Simon Heffer I certainly didn’t expect a Nat version of a Mail online comments stream…
    I will try to reply to you all, if I ca:
    @ DougtheDug: My real argument here is that on these islands, we are so joyously, chaotically mixed up that there will be many who feel real and deep ties to Scotland, yet come the result of the referendum, could find themselves shut out. Ideas of nationality are changing, and rightly so, but there is a case for seeing the diaspora as more than just source of revenue surely?

    It is simply not true that I posed an “either/or” question when it comes to race and ethnicity – it may be a clever bit of sophistry, but it is still a downright lie. I repeat, if France can give French people in London a seat in the
    National Assembly, how is it beyond the wit of man to allow Scots expats the chance to vote on thier nations’ future? France does have its racial problems certainly, but as far as I am aware, voters are not barred by ethnic origin. If the Australian government can arrange for expats to vote across the world, why not Scotland?

    After all, the First Minister couldn’t wait to cuddle up to that “ethnic Scot” Rupert Murdoch, could he?

  12. Dick Muskett says:

    I think your man may have opened a box of worms that he may already be regretting. A substantial number of the Scots who have been prominent in UK politics in the last century or so (leaving aside the de-racinated grouse moor owning aristocracy) have come from the industrial west of Scotland and a good proportion are from Irish families who came across to find work. How many generations of living here are going to be required to prove you are Scots and not really a Fenian? And around 50% of the population of Northern Ireland are of Scots descent and by and large supporters of the Union. But I doubt they’d want to claim a vote in Scotland’s referendum as presumably the large number of Scots, Welsh and English of Irish descent would then be expecting a vote in any future referendum on Irish re-unification… and so on and so on. Sorry pal, whichever way they choose to vote, the franchise in an Independence referendum in Scotland belongs to those who live in Scotland. Just learn to live with it.

  13. Ex-Labour says:

    ” Cameron, Osborne, Gove et al have no love for the union ”

    Am I missing something ? It is Cameron thats calling the fat economists bluff by forcing the issue of independence. Salmond wanted so called ‘Devo Max’ which means he wanted the English money and new powers, but without any recourse for those providing the cash. Now Salmond is on the back foot and being less than truthful with the voters e.g. EU memebership, EU currency etc.

    I have no love for the SNP or their policies, and the same goes for Labour in Scotland who have been complacent for too long. The real problem for Labour is that if the fat oen does succeed, it will decimate Labour in Westminster and what will become of all the champagne socialists in the London chaterati ? The truth is Salmond and the SNP have no chance in the referendum.

    I’m a Scot living in England as is my father and we are both married to English women. I do not feel entitled to a vote and nor should I get one.

  14. Ian Stewart says:

    @ RevStu: quite right, I do not speak for you, nor do I speak for the Labour Party, nor England, nor anybody but myself. I am glad you can speak for yourself too. There is no natural counterpoint to giving expats the vote in taking it away from those resident in Scotland. Or does this mean that when sixteen year olds vote, those over seventy lose theirs? Your point is misguided at best.

    @ HenBroon: so, anyone who disagrees with independence is a “post imperial fascist”?

    @ Everyone: I did write that Labour deservedly lost in 2010, and named a few of the reasons in the same paragraph. Hardly the work of some ultra loyal Labour hack. I doubt many machine politicians would approve of Sinn Feins’ moves towards recognising the voice of firstly the Irish abroad, and at some point the wider diaspora, if they were really were a “British Nationalist”.

    For the record, like most of us across the Uk, I am happy to have a family tree including Cornish, Scots, German, French Heugenot, Russian Jew, English and possibly Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

    Of course, we are all entitled to our opinion, or are we?

  15. Grassy Knollington says:

    Well done to Ian Stewart for raising the standard of debate. Salmond as a fat failed economist and racist has certainly never been explored by a Labour Party supporter before. Johann Lamont needs a better scriptwriter and is committed to having a serious debate, I’d run this gem by her if I were you.

  16. James McLaren says:

    What a load of bilious nasty bile from Ian Stewart.

    I am a Scot living and working in France and I will not have a vote. I am for independence but am well satisfied that only those who live there, regardless of where born should have a vote.

    I guess Mr Stewart is losing the plot as well as the NO side are losing the argument. They really are the BITTER TOGETHER team.

    Keep it up Mr Stewart, as the mask slips downwards revealing the full intellectual majesty of your aspirations for Scotland.

    Love it!

    Carry on!

  17. RevStu says:

    “There is no natural counterpoint to giving expats the vote in taking it away from those resident in Scotland.”

    Of course there is. Why are you giving the vote to people who don’t live in the country where the referendum is taking place? Because they’re “ethnically Scottish”. No other reason. So if ethnicity is the criteria, it must follow that those who are NOT “ethnically Scottish” shouldn’t have the vote. And if ethnicity ISN’T the criteria, expats have no business having a vote.

  18. Ian Stewart says:

    So glad that you all have the time to comment on this post, but saddened that you seem to be unable to spend time actually reading it.
    Not once have I written that the vote in the referendum should be restricted to the “ethnic Scots”, whoever they are, rather I posed the question as to why the franchise could not be widened. Is more democracy a bad thing?
    Neither have I written a word here opposing Scotlands right to self-determination. I have pointed out that Scottish independence will suit the Tories just fine, thank you. Is this an awkward truth for some?
    Interestingly, someone else uses the pejorative terms “fenian” and “de-racinated” here on the comment feed, but I would be the racist fascist imperialist. As to throwing insults at Alex Salmond, of course I have ! In my time I have insulted Mrs Thatcher, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, and many others – why would I leave him out? Is his skin especially thin? Is yours?

  19. Ian Stewart says:

    Interestingly enough, the level of bile here would be approximate to the level my Tory mother in law reaches when discussing anything to the left of Ghengis Khan. She can’t wait for Scottish independence as well…

  20. RevStu says:

    Still waiting to hear when Alex Salmond made it “clear to all that if your accent was in English rather than American, you had best not bother”, incidentally.

  21. Mike McCabe says:

    I would like to ask Ian where do we draw the line .
    I have a nephew in South Africa who is Scottish but considers himself South African , do we give him the vote ?
    I have 2 Canadian cousins whose parents are Scottish , do we give them the vote ?
    I have 2 nephews that live in Devon , consider themselves English but their mother is Scottish and father is English , do we give them the vote ?
    Or how about the hundreds of thousands of people who live in in places like South America , Canada , U.S.A , Australia , New Zealand , South Africa etc who can trace their ancestry back to the highland clearances , do they get the vote ?
    It is a lot easier to keep it the way it is , If you live in Scotland , work in Scotland and are on the Scottish electoral register then you get a vote in the referendum .
    I would just like to add that I was a Labour party member and union shop steward for more than 10 years but no more until Labour rediscovers its roots . I now feel sorry for all off my English relatives as there is now no difference between the main political parties in England . You either vote for red tory , blue tory or for one of the extreme party,s .

  22. James Stewart says:

    As an Ex labour voter I will be voting YES.

    I must thank Mr Stewart for his bile filled attacks on Mr Salmond and the SNP.

    He displays a level of ignorance and hate that has infested the once great labour party who sadly no more exists on these Islands.

    Wee Lamont is also an asset to the Yes campaign.

  23. DougtheDug says:

    @Ian Stewart

    So what scheme do you envisage Ian?

    Is it to be ethnically based with only ethnic Scots getting a vote wherever they live and no non-Scots being allowed to vote on Scotland’s future inside or outside Scotland.

    Or are all residents of Scotland going to be allowed to vote, Scots or not, with votes outside Scotland being based on ethnicity?

    With both schemes that’s racial discrimination right away.

    How are you going to define Scots ethnicity anyway. Born in Scotland, Scottish parents, Scottish father, Scottish Grandparent?

    Under your schemes David Cameron could get a vote as his father is Scots but Ed Miliband wouldn’t.

  24. Allan says:

    “Well, when I wrote that this post would get a bit Simon Heffer I certainly didn’t expect a Nat version of a Mail online comments stream…”

    Sorry….. so what were you expecting when you write something so utterly disingeneous as the title. Even if we were to look at the only grain of truth in the title, then “Scottish” Labour are as guilty of disenfranchising millions of voters for not bothedring their backsides about “Devo max”. Polls constantly this as being the true settled will of the Scottish People.

    As for calling the elected First Minister of Scotland a “fat failed economist”, im sure you were perfectly relaxed about a well known blog refer to the previous Prime Minister as the “one eyed son of the Manse” or the “Prime Mentalist”. Pot… Kettle…

    One last point, if you think that “Scottish” Labour are reconnecting, you will bein for a shock. Your “leader” here thinks that the best way to win votes is to talk about the end of the “Something for nothing” society, and making the case for means tested benefits. Whilst wearing Margaret Thatcher’s cast offs…

    The truth is that the referendum is already lost, thanks to the SNP’s awful performance over EU membership and currency. The real issue discussed here should be the catastrophic result waiting for “Scottish” Labour in 2016. The real issue should be what happens when Independence is rejected by the Scottish people.

  25. Mick Pork says:

    I was unaware that Jeremy Clarkson was writing under the nom de plume ‘Ian Stewart’.

    Just out of interest Mr Clarkson, sorry, Mr Stewart, were you scathing at your leader Ed Miliband when he partied and drank champagne with Murdoch in Kensington as the media was filled with what Murdoch’s papers had done? Did it turn your stomach that Tony Blair was Murdoch’s child’s godfather ? Were you incandescent with rage when you discovered that the Browns had such jolly fun at Rebekah Brooks wedding and at those delightful pyjama parties?

    Never mind, perhaps you can get a job at the Daily Mail with comedy articles such as this.

  26. James Stewart says:

    “After all, the First Minister couldn’t wait to cuddle up to that “ethnic Scot” Rupert Murdoch, could he?

    There you go again Ian , grow up or shut up.


  27. Mick Pork says:

    Labour aren’t filled with ethnically obsessed British Nationalists.

    “British jobs for British workers” was merely a heartfelt plea for tolerance which only a “Bigot” could misconstrue.

    Ed Miliband parroting the stolen tory slogan “One Nation” as well as his happy comparisons between himself and Mrs Thatcher are signs of Labour inclusivity in bringing tory voters into the Labour fold. Something the redoubtable Lamont is also a master at as her own measured words about the “something for nothing” culture were eagerly repeated by that bastion of scottish socialism David Cameron.

  28. RevStu says:

    “Not once have I written that the vote in the referendum should be restricted to the “ethnic Scots”, whoever they are, rather I posed the question as to why the franchise could not be widened.”

    Yes. Widened to ethnic Scots. You might not have used the word, but what else could you mean? How do you determine someone’s eligibility? What are your criteria? Do you really think 80 million people should vote in a referendum whose result will only affect 5 million? What if every person living in Scotland voted to stay in the Union, but 75 million expats forced them out?

    Do at least try to think out your arguments a TINY bit before putting them on the page, eh?

  29. Don McC says:

    “After all, the First Minister couldn’t wait to cuddle up to that “ethnic Scot” Rupert Murdoch, could he?”

    Salmond met and spoke (via telephone) to Murdoch around about a half dozen times, according to official records, over a space of three years. And some of these occasions were as part of a wider group that had nothing to do with Scotland or the SNP. If that’s your idea of “cuddling up” then you must believe Milliband’s relationship with Murdoch is/was positively intimate (I won’t ask which one you think is the stag). And that’s your problem, Ian. You don’t live in Scotland and so haven’t realised that the people of Scotland aren’t as stupid as Scottish Labour relies on, and they can smell hypocrisy at a country mile. That’s why Lamont’s attempts at this line of attack failed miserably. Coz her party, your party, was visibily worse than Salmond. Salmond can at least claim he was promoting Scotland’s interests. When Milliband appeared in the Sun exclaiming “No more Read Ed!”, who’s interests was he promoting? Scotland’s or his own?

    And this line of attack about Salmond’s weight. Are you claiming that fat people shouldn’t be first minister? You do realise that Lamont is hardly Twiggy now, don’t you? Or is the fat thing just the limit of your intellect?

    But the main point, how do you feel about the West Lothian question. Do you think it’s perfectly fair for an MP I elect here in Scotland to have as much say in England’s health and education policies as one you elect in South of the Border? How do other people in England feel about that? Is it not an issue, do people in England not bat an eye-lid at the thought?

  30. HenBroon says:

    @ HenBroon: so, anyone who disagrees with independence is a “post imperial fascist”?

    No you said that not me. I could identify some post imperialist fascists for you if you like but I cannot be arsed as you are obviously of the Iain Davidson school of Scottish politics. Now back to the Daily Mail with you.

  31. Andy says:

    Does Labour wish to keep Scotland because it is a Unionist party? Or does it wish to keep Scotland because without it it will never be in power again?

    If Labour is so against Scotland leaving, why does it persue a policy of trying to ease Northern Ireland into the Reoublic, despite the majority of the population of Northern Ireland wishing to remain in the UK.

    Does Labour agree that policies that concern Scotland (or Wales) should always put their interests first and foremost even if it means the rest of the UK get a bad deal because of it?

  32. Andy says:

    And the article is tawdry racist drivel from start to finish. If the SNP have a problem with English accents, why do so many English living north of the border not only vote for them, but at least one SNP MSP is English and declares himself as such, as are a fair few councillors.

  33. Christian Wright says:

    @Ian Stewart,

    You are of course entitled to your opinion and to freely express it (with alas an ever growing number of exceptions to the rule) .

    It is also the case that we traditionally afford others a degree of latitude when they are caught-up in the rough and tumble of political debate and resort to hyperbole – we’ve all done it, goes with the territory.

    However, none of us are entitled to our own facts, particularly when they constitute a libel.

    You have been asked twice now to provide a cite to an alleged statement wherein the First Minister of Scotland said or otherwise made clear that those with an English accent (or who were English without the accent?), were not welcome and should not return to (or visit?) Scotland – they would not be welcome. You have failed to respond – this is extremely troubling.

    Will you now for the THIRD time of asking, provide relevant citation that will corroborate your claim that Salmond said or otherwise made clear in 2009, that persons with an English accent would not be welcome in Scotland?

    If you cannot do so, with you delete the libel and issue an apology to the First Minister and to your readers for the lie?

    . . Or would you just rather ignore the whole thing and risk civil prosecution?

  34. Galen10 says:

    Given the drubbing you have received above Mr Stewart, and noting you abject failure to justify, let alone defend, the more objectionable aspects of your piece, I won’t belabour the manifest shortcomings of the article or the mind set of the author.

    You do however owe us an explanation of exactly who you think should be entitled to vote, how their eligibility will be proven, and who would be responsible for organising and paying for this task?

    Presumably the only “practical” method of doing so would be to insist on proof of Scottish birth, or that at least one of your parents (or perhaps grandparents?) was born in Scotland? That would appear to be a pretty big task. I can personally see the attraction, as it would mean I would get to vote in 2014, as would my daughter who left Scotland when she was six months old. Would you approve of my English born brother-in-law who has been resident in Scotland for over 20 years having a vote in the referendum, or should he be excluded?

    Until you answer these questions, your motives remain unclear, and even suspect. Post independence (whether it happens post 2014 or sometime later) it will be a relatively simple task to give representation and even parliamentary seats, to those who qualify as and have applied for Scottish citizenship.

  35. Don McC says:

    I suspect the reason for the lack of answers, Galen10, re eligibility of those living outside Scotland, proves beyond a doubt that Ian hadn’t thought his argument beyond the “what puerile excuse can I use to attack Salmond/SNP/nationalists?” stage. He claims it’s nothing to do with ethnicity but on what other criteria could the vote be extended? How about using past voting registers? If you appeared on a previous register, you get a say now (Ian is, after all, talking about disenfranchisement). But wouldn’t that mean that a student from Holland who studied in Scotland for a year or two would get a vote but someone born in Scotland, but whose folks left prior to his 17th birthday wouldn’t? Okay, how about we include both criteria – if you were born in Scotland or appeared on a voting register, you get a say. The admin costs alone for such a scheme would be astronomical but what price democracy, eh? Okay, best go for the honour system – claim you’ve a Scottish interest (coz you’ve either lived there once or your great grannie on your mother’s side visited Edinburgh when she was a wean) and you get the vote. Can’t say fairer than that. Cheap to administer and all inclusive. Ideal.

  36. bob says:

    Why not go for the easy option, ask the English voters if they want to divorce Scotland, saves the problem of deciding who is and who isn’t Scots.

  37. RevStu says:

    I appear to be STILL waiting to hear when Alex Salmond made it “clear to all that if your accent was in English rather than American, you had best not bother”.

  38. e says:

    I can go with Ian’s first few paragraphs, and as an ordinary citizen (non party member) I would say to those across the border, vote no, please don’t split what resistance there is to the deceitful financial and ego centric interests which currently hold sway over the body politic and currency of both lands.

  39. the bunnyman says:

    a fool opens his mouth and removes all doubt.

  40. Ian Stewart says:

    No everyone, the lack of answers would be that I have just finished my shift for the day. If you check out another post on this site, you will see that I work in the catering industry, and therefore I work slightly different hours to (I guess) some of you who get Saturdays off.

    @ Don McC & Galen10: I actually think that past electoral rolls, say going back two parliaments, (arbitrary, I know) and holding a British (for now) passport would suffice. After all there are plenty of Scots working abroad who are not emigrating permanently. If you want to add birth in Scotland as well, fine – it would hardly signify some sort of noxious racial purity would it, considering the multicultural make-up of modern Scotland.
    For the record, I would guess that this would boost the yes vote, but that is not the point. The point is that these people who have left Scotland for work may want a say in the kind of country they come back to. It isn’t going to happen, and given the appalling record of this government in publicising the PCC elections south of the border, if it did, they would fuck it up. This is of course in addition to everyone who lives in Scotland now, and will be eligible to vote in 2014.

    The point about the diaspora is this – for centuries economic hardship and other factors have driven people from these islands, and around them, not least from Scotland. Many of these people have created communities and traditions that celebrate the home of their origin. It is not simply a case of some kind of tartan nostalgia here, some of us are genuinely proud of, say the part played by Scots socialists and radicals, both within the UK and internationally, in the struggle for freedom and workers rights. John Maclean and Hugh Mcdairmid apart, very few were that sympathetic to nationalism. For those of us living in the rest of the UK, the disenfranchisement comes after the yes vote wins in 2014. Having been able to see ourselves as part of a shared nation, we are then told that we no longer share in that tradition. It may be impossible to give any of us an equitable say via the vote, but before stepping into the booth it may be worth considering, just for a second, what independence means to the rest of us. Again, I would guess that even if it were possible to count these preferences and attitudes as votes, then the yes camp would do pretty well out of it.

    @ Don McC: The West Lothian question: I always thought that the counterpart to the long delayed Devolution for Scotland and Wales should have been regional assemblies within England with some power, and a smaller UK parliament. The first part of this was mooted in a 1985 report by John Prescott. Come New Labour, shamefully bugger all was done.

    @ Andy: The electoral history of 1945, 1951, 1997 and 2001 would seem to disprove your point about Labour being unable to win without Scottish seats. Of course, should we in England ever get a more equitable voting system, such as the one used in Scottish elections, the Tory preponderance in certain parts of the South east would also be under threat. But having been given the choice of two piles crap in the AV Referendum, don’t hold your breath.

  41. DougtheDug says:

    @Ian Stewart.

    “…I actually think that past electoral rolls, say going back two parliaments…”

    You started this as some sort of ethnically based vote by declaring Scottish surnames as a qualifying factor for voting and now you’re switching to electoral rolls by grasping a lifeline thrown out in Don McC’s comment.

    You haven’t thought either of these schemes through at all.

    It’s an interesting notion that previous residence anytime in the past 9 years should automatically qualify you to vote. I’ve never heard anywhere else in the world that uses that system.

    Let’s see what happens when you apply it to students.

    From 2005 onwards (two parliaments back) non-Scottish domiciled UK students total about 27,500 per year in Scottish colleges and universities which do a three year ordinary degree and a four year honours degree. That gives 6,875 new students per year if they all do a four year course or 9,166 if they all do a three year course.

    As students usually register to vote when in college or university over 9 years (2005 – 2014) that would give between 61,875 – 82,500 voters who would get a vote in the Scottish independence referendum whose only connection to Scotland was that they had been a student there once.

  42. Andy says:

    Ian Stewart the bias would swing massively to the tories without Scotland and you know it. How many elections since 1945? And Labour would have won how many without Scotland?

    As for AV, as everyone knows taking the first step to changing the electoral system was always going to be the hardest. Once it”s changed people will be more open to change it again. That is why LLabour should have supported it. Yes AV wasn’t perfect, but it would be easier to change it again. As it was, the people of England decided that they preferred FPTP as opposed to starting a process of change. A chance wasted – there will be no referenda concerning this again for 50 years at least. If ever. By opposing the chance of electoral reform just because they didn’t like the proposed version Labour have shot themselves deservedly in the foot.

  43. Amber Star says:

    @ Ian Stewart

    It won’t matter which way Scotland votes because we are not voting for independence, whatever the Nats might imply.

    Scotland is voting to give the Scottish Parliament the power to negotiate separation with the Westminster government. In the unlikely event that Scotland votes ‘yes’, the governments of Holyrood & Westminster will never negotiate separation terms which are agreeable to both sides; thus the separation itself will never happen.

  44. Ian Stewart says:

    Andy, as someone who campaigned for a yes vote over AV with no illusions, I can see your point , yet in Scotland and in London elections we already had two better systems in operation. Plenty of people within Labour supported a yes vote, including the Leader. It was noticeable just how many die hard New Labourites did not, and actively joined with the Tories.

    I do not believe that Labour could not win in England if Scotland goes independent. The elections we have won since 1945 have tended to be won by gaining majorities in England. The preponderance of seats in Scotland hitherto held by Labour become much more important in years when we lose. Now the flip side of this should be that if Labour wishes to win more often in England, we need to have policies, and to act in ways that are attractive to voters in England . In almost every case, I believe that such policies, which need to be much less centrist and more activist, would also attract support in Scotland and Wales.

  45. RevStu says:

    “How many elections since 1945? And Labour would have won how many without Scotland?”

    The only elections since WW2 in which Scottish MPs made a material difference to the outcome were 1964 and the second election of 1974. In both cases they gave Labour a majority, but of just 4 and 5 MPs respectively, ie not a workable one.

  46. RevStu says:

    Ian, why do you keep not answering my question about your source for the claim that Alex Salmond is some sort of anti-English racist?

  47. uglyfatbloke says:

    Amber – if the ‘yes’ campaign wins (and I rather doubt that) there will not be negotiations over separation, but over dissolution of the Treaty of 1707. Neither party will get exactly what they want of reel that they deserve, but that’s rather the nature of political negotiations is n’t it?

  48. swatantra says:

    Don’t forget that their are a lot of English Nationalists who want to be shot of Scotland. And it would not be wise to allow them a vote in a Scottish Referendum.
    THey could actually help Salmond to victory. Then where would we all be? In a hole.

  49. Les Wilson says:

    The first time I have looked at anything this guy writes. He is a another labour dose of poison. Truth is Labour can’t get over the gubbing they got in 2011, and I have no doubt that if there was another Scottish election tomorrow, they would be hammered again but even more.
    They are the most deceitful party, and have secretly worked against Scottish interests many times. As the continue with the bile they only make matters worse.
    Why can they not understand, they are finished as the major Scottish force, and well deserved it is too. Scots now have their number.

  50. Ian Stewart says:

    Great to see that the SNP rebuttal group works. Lovely to witness it threaten someone working on minimum wage with legal action. John Maclean would be proud…

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