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Expat Scots to miss out on independence vote

Source: Expatriate Healthcare - Wed 3rd Jul 2013
Expat Scots to miss out on independence vote

There has been much debate recently about whether longterm expatriates should retain their votes in the UK.

A recent case upheld the position to say that those living outside the UK for 15 year or more could not vote in elections.

Now the spotlight is being cast on Scotland as it gears up for a referendum on independence next year and many expats will not have their say.

Only people living in Scotland on September 18th 2014 when the poll is due to be conducted will be given a vote.

This discounts non-resident Scots living in England and other parts of the world, whether they intend to move back to their native land in the near future or not.

While Labour MSPs have branded the move "massively unfair", Bruce Crawford of the SNP, who convened the referendum bill committee, argued that any other approach would make the process too complex.

There are currently around 400,000 non-Scottish Brits living in Scotland and approximately 800,000 Scots living in other parts of the UK.

If these non-resident Scots were counted then the 5 million-strong population would be increased by 16% for the ballot.

However, the British, Irish and EU citizens living in Scotland will be allowed to vote on the future of Scotland.

The referendum will be based around a simple yes or no question that will be phrased thus: Should Scotland be an independent country ?

Another issue has been put forward by Baroness Symons in the House of Lords, suggesting that the whole of the UK should be allowed to vote, as the outcome will affect everyone.

The British government rejected this proposal and pointed out that only 11 referenda have been staged across the whole of the UK since 1973.

The Spanish Government and the Catalans alike are watching the situation with a keen eye, with rumours that they would veto the entry of an Independent Scotland into the EU.

Recommended Reading

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"Catalonia is not Scotland" : Rajoy

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Click here to read More News Stories by Expatriate Healthcare?

Comment on this Story

So if Scotland does become independent from the rest of the UK, and therefore has to reapply for membership of the EU, where does that leave Scottish Residents of Spain ? Would they have to re-apply for Resedencia as a Non-EU National ?
Tyler - Thu, 4th Jul 2013
I shall be delaying my Autumn trip to Spain next year so I am in Scotland and able to cast my "no" vote, although to some extent I shall do so through gritted teeth, not because I have any sympathy with the SNP whatsoever, but because I object to the use of the word "independent" in the referendum question, as in my view Scotland already is "independent" as a partner nation within the UK. The correct word to use, in my opinion, would be "separate". On a hopefully more positive note, it seems that the decision to allow 16 and 17 year old people to vote may backfire on Salmond (people had assumed, probably correctly, that he wanted this because he thought they would be more supportive of separation than older people) because recent polling evidence seems to indicate this age-group is actually more negatively-inclined than older people, perhaps because of the higher unemployment rates and lower job-prospects for them - a lot lower than in Spain, fortunately, though.
Bill Cameron - Wed, 3rd Jul 2013

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