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Broadening eligibility for vote to non-residents raises further questions

It is unfortunate that Alan Fitzpatrick cannot accept Iain Paterson's response to the question of non-resident Scots voting in the forthcoming referendum (Letters, December 19 and 21).

In addition to Mr Paterson's arguments there are a number of other points to be considered.

Firstly, how would one accurately compile the electoral register if non-residents were to be included? More importantly, what about the possible outcomes? Perhaps the non-resident vote would make no difference to the outcome. But what if the non-resident vote did make a difference either by ensuring a No majority when the resident vote would have led to a Yes majority? Or, perhaps less likely, the reverse of that outcome.

A situation where Scotland was deprived of the right to negotiate independence on the basis of voters who were not resident in Scotland does not bear to be contemplated. And if the reverse outcome occurred the idea of the Scottish Government being mandated to negotiate independence on the say so of non-resident voters against the wishes of residents in Scotland would reduce the whole matter to farce.

David T Reid,

27 Comiston View,


I have no idea if allowing 800,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK to vote in the referendum would favour the Yes or the No campaign (Letters, December 21), but adding 800,000 to the four million registered to vote in local government and Scottish Parliamentary elections is a substantial increase and would inevitably influence the result one way or the other.

Many of those 800,000 will have put down roots over their years away, social and family, and are unlikely to return to Scotland on a permanent basis.

The consequences of the referendum will have much greater implications for those living here than for Scots living elsewhere and the right to vote should be restricted to those on the Scottish electoral roll.

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road, Kilbirnie.

Like Carol Puthucheary, I am heartened by the news that Tony Blair intends to participate in the independence debate – his personal credibility should help nudge the decision the right way (Letters, December 21). I am even more pleased that some Loyalist Union flag protesters from Ulster plan to get in on the act too, by staging a protest outside a deserted Holyrood. There's nothing like a few stiff-necked unionists from south of the Border and across the Irish Sea for showing we indigenous Scots the error of our ways.

On another matter, when did every British institution become the sole property of those parts of the UK that wish to stay under the control of Westminster? The Bank of England (founded by a Scot) is every bit as much the property of the people of Scotland as it is of England or any other part of the realm. Like all joint assets of the UK, its role will be up for negotiation after the referendum and before Scotland becomes a nation in its own right once again. Alastair Darling and Michael Moore are being either precipitate or mischievous in their assertions about sterling and Scotland's ability to use the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street as its central bank.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale, Loanhead, Midlothian.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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