IT is not difficult to agree with Iain Macwhirter that registering Scottish-born voters resident in the rest of the UK for a second independence referendum would be problematic (“It would be wrong to make Indyref2 about ethnicity”, The Herald, June 23).

However unfair it might seem to those voters (and I was once one of them), the practical arguments must favour those who are resident, work and pay their taxes here. There is, though a wider and more telling point.

Pollsters advising the UK Government apparently believe that including these non-resident voters would add several percent to the No vote. What the UK Government should be much more concerned with is why the Yes vote is regularly around, or even over, 50 per cent. Strange to relate, there was a time when the SNP vote did not often rise above 30%.

If the UK Government could properly understand why the Yes vote is where it currently stands and adopt policies to return it to those lower levels, I feel confident that any concern it may claim about the say of non-resident Scottish voters would vanish. But as such policies would run quite contrary to the prevailing strain of Conservatism, we can be confident that they are of no interest to the UK Government.

Cllr Alasdair Rankin (SNP), City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh.


I CAN see (if I squint) that a case can be made for allowing residents of the rest of the UK who were born in Scotland to vote in any future Scottish independence referendum. It's not one I agree with, but it's an argument. However, that case would clearly also mean those born in other UK countries (or outside the UK) and now resident in Scotland not being allowed to vote in it.

This seems thoroughly abhorrent to me, that people who have made their lives here should be denied the opportunity to vote on the future of the country that is now their home. The added bureaucracy of vetting the electorate to ensure only those born in Scotland were permitted to vote is a minor detail. However, if you are to base the right to vote on birthplace rather than domicile it would at least be logically consistent.

A situation where birthplace was made the criteria for some and domicile the criteria for others on the basis that it suited your side would, on the other hand, be simply corrupt gerrymandering, no better than the voter suppression tactics used by Republican state legislatures in the United States.

David Clinton, Hamilton.


WHILE I tend to agree with much of Iain Macwhirter's article, I have a few issues.

First, the SNP has already changed the franchise itself by allowing impressionable 16 and 17-year-olds the vote, seeing this as obviously in its favour. Before the argument about fighting for country and marriage kicks off I don't believe they are old enough for that either.

Secondly, Nicola Sturgeon is on record as stating she wants to create an independent Scotland for all Scots. What then are those Scots-born people living in the rest of the UK? Non-Scots by decree of Holyrood with non-Scots residents and, dare I say, it felons preferred? We can't accuse Westminster of trying to rig the vote while not discussing the SNP's actions.

Alan Shepherd, Forfar.


ANGUS Robertson, the SNP’s newly-appointed Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, recently described the idea of allowing the 800,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK to vote in any future referendum on separation as "half-baked".

Normally keen to virtue signal its concern with rights and identity, the SNP has legislated to allow prisoners, 16-year-olds, and recent immigrants to vote and tried to make it easier for people who self-identify as a gender other than that stated on their birth certificates to legally change gender. Anxious to ensure that EU citizens in the UK would be able to vote in the EU elections in 2019, SNP MP Joanna Cherry tweeted: “Today I asked @theresamay to make sure all #EUcitizens living in the UK can vote tomorrow by making the UC1 form available at polling stations. As PM she could do this but has refused. I wonder why?”

Yet they want to avoid Scots whose birth certificates declare them to be born in Scotland, who self-identify as Scots, but live elsewhere in the UK, having a say in the future of their country. I wonder why?

It also raises the question as to what would happen if Scotland were indeed to separate from the rest of the UK.

Page 16 of the pre-referendum White Paper Scotland’s Future says that “British citizens habitually resident in Scotland on independence will automatically be considered Scottish citizens” while “Scottish-born British citizens currently living outside of Scotland will automatically be considered Scottish citizens”.

This would mean that up to half Scotland’s population, documented and identifying as British, will have their nationality changed against their will. Meanwhile the 800,000 newly "reinstated" Scots living and paying tax in the rest of the UK will have rights in a country that just denied them the most important vote of their lifetime. Deciding which country’s facilities and entitlements these trans-national or nationality-fluid people can access will make the trans rights issues around use of public toilets, changing rooms and the like seem simple. The SNP’s plans are not even half-baked, but are a full recipe for disaster.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen.


THE response delivered by the First Minister in response to perfectly legitimate comments made by Michael Gove when questioned about a potential independence referendum in this UK Parliamentary term was little short of childish and demonstrates a complete lack of respect towards any alternative opinion to her own ("Sturgeon hits back at ‘sneering, arrogant’ Gove over Indyref2", The Herald, June 24). The First Minister belittled her position as national leader and, as usual when she is confronted by somebody who does not follow her nationalist beliefs, she resorts to petty, small-minded personal attacks.

However there might just be another reason for her intemperate language and perhaps it was designed to grab the headlines away from easyJet’s sad decision to cancel its proposed flight links between Manchester and Edinburgh/Aberdeen following her travel “ban” between the two regions. This decision, pretty much unenforceable by law as admitted by the police, was the First Minister showboating at her best.

This showboating has serious economic consequences for a supposedly outward-looking Scotland. The Scottish economy and its wealth creators can ill afford any reduction in UK connectivity and once again, the First Minister demonstrates the unpleasantness, parochialism and divisiveness of her brand of separatism to the detriment of the Scottish people.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


SCOTLAND crashed out of Euro 2020 with a dismal performance, two losses and a draw. Despite this Nicola Sturgeon has congratulated the team and told them that they have done Scotland proud.

This is hardly surprising given their record at the Euros was on a par with the SNP's record in government, where Ms Sturgeon thinks she’s doing Scotland proud.

The First Minister claimed education was her priority and asked to be judged on this. The delayed OECD report finally released shows that Scotland has failed a generation of children. Scottish education used to be the envy of the world, that’s no longer the case.

Sadly there are far too many people in Scotland who are willing to celebrate a 0-0 draw against England with the same intensity most countries use to celebrate winning the World Cup and equally as sad is the fact that there are too many who continue to vote for a Government that continues to fail Scotland at every opportunity.

Whether it is our national football team or our Government, Scotland needs ambition, because ambition is critical.

Matt Davies, Inverness.


I NOTED with interest that the Scottish Greens want to reintroduce the lynx to Scotland as part of any co-operation agreement with the SNP ("Greens urged to include rewilding in any co-operation agreement with SNP", The Herald, June 23). I’m in favour of rewilding schemes. However, to seal the deal, all the Greens need to do is to tell the SNP that lynx can vote in a future independence referendum.

David Bone, Girvan.


A SHORT response to the Andy Burnham issue: the coronavirus shall be over when Burnham comes to Dunsinane.

John McAulay, Kirkcudbright.

Read more: Tories' ethnic nationalism has no place in Scotland