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Referendum franchise leaves many Scots without a voice

THE SNP passionately wants to remain in the EU if it secures a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum ("Fresh doubt cast on SNP plans to keep the pound", The Herald, December 14).

We can safely assume from this that Alex Salmond thinks the EU is a highly desirable state of affairs. However he clearly draws the line at voting rights.

When it comes to deciding the franchise for the Scotland referendum a huge swathe of potential voters are excluded, yet they would not be if one was voting in the European parliamentary elections Amongst the groups who qualify to vote in said election are "British nationals now living overseas who have previously been registered to vote in a Scottish constituency in the last 15 years."

So my children, aged 26 and 24, who attended school and university in Scotland, but like thousands of other contemporaries moved to London or further afield for work, can vote for an MEP but cannot have a say in their homeland's future.

Just to rub salt in the wound the other categories of people who qualify to vote in the European Parliamentary poll are Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland and citizens of other EU countries who are resident at the time of the referendum.

If I were a cynic I might think that this referendum was rigged and that Mr Salmond had little to learn from the politics of Tammany Hall.

Jack Irvine,

Broom Cottage,

Whitecraigs,

Glasgow.

ANDREW McKie is not alone in clamouring for specific answers about how Scotland will operate after independence is achieved ("Myth and fiction are of no use in creating a state", The Herald, December 17). Most of those doing the clamouring do it not so much to elicit information, but to give the impression that the Scottish Government has given no thought to the practicalities of issues such as customs posts at Berwick or still being able to watch EastEnders.

There is, even now, a White Paper being prepared that will spell out in great detail how Scotland will operate in the immediate to medium term after a successful result in 2014. The longer term, like everything else in life, will take care of itself.

The No campaign is aware of this forthcoming White Paper but, before it appears, it needs to make the electorate believe that the SNP has no plans and is dishonest and shifty. That is why the three opposition leaders in Holyrood appear to have sychronised their attacks on the Government. Nothing else can explain the unprecedented harmony between the Scottish Labour and Conservative parties.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale,

Loanhead.

THE 2011 census report on Scotland's population prompts observations highly relevant to the issue of Scottish independence. Between 1951 and 2001, when the British state was its most centralised, the population of Scotland fell while the population of England rose by 20%. Now, after the first decade of devolution, the population of Scotland has risen by 5% while the population of England has risen by 7%.

We have a long way to go, though, to make up for our relative decline under 305 years of the Union. In 1707 the population of Scotland was 20% of that of England. Now the population of Scotland is 10% of that of England. Only independence – or perhaps a maximum devolution option that is not on the table – can fully unleash Scotland's potential and close the gap.

Hamish Scott,

17 Carlaverock Drive, Tranent.

PERHAPS there is an element of fantasy to some of the SNP's ideas. I certainly hope so. While I voted for the party, I disagree with a lot of SNP policy and my Yes vote is largely predicated on seeing it as the only hope of removing the SNP from Holyrood in my lifetime, taking account of the seemingly terminal decline of our opposition parties. But I'd sooner have Alex Salmond's optimistic, upbeat vision of the future than the two decades of grinding austerity that form the foundations of the Conservative Party, England's natural party of government.

Andrew McKie's pessimism may prove well founded, but at least the SNP aspires to a better future. London Conservatives, who answer to financial and corporate might and act in the interests of a plutocratic elite, are planning a worse future for most of us. Even if I was only minimally informed, the choice would be a simple one for me; hope versus despair.

Martin Morrison,

5 Inverpark,

Lochinver.

FREDERICK Jenkins (Letters, December 14) notes the expenditure on artwork for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, and remarks on the continuing lack of a high quality Scottish anthem. I suggest that the tune which concludes Mendelssohn's 4th Symphony – the "Scottish" symphony – has all the musical characteristics for a successful anthem. It combines a memorable tune, and the capacity to stir the blood at sports events, with the dignity required for formal and ceremonial occasions. Mendelssohn was, of course, a great lover of Scotland and his Hebrides overture, popularly known as Fingal's Cave, is another testament to his ability to evoke Scotland, without descending into the cliches of other so-called national songs. As for suitable words for an anthem, might that task be entrusted to our Makar?

Hugh Morton,

Balgove Road,

Gauldry.

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