On Twitter this morning someone asked:
Alex Salmond? Votes for Scots overseas but not those in England… Isn’t that rather Racist? Do I with English parents get a vote?
Whatever Scottishness is, the Scottish National Party escaped the all-white-with-tartan-troosers definition long ago: if you were born or live in Scotland, and you want to count yourself Scottish, you are. Scots are Presbyterian, Atheist, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh: Scots are born in England, Ireland, Wales, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and come here to live and work: and we are all Scottish because we live here, or we were born here, and we want to be.
If you were born and live outside Scotland, no matter if your surname is MacSomething and you celebrate Tartan Week every year and buy haggis from MacSweens for Burns Night, no, you’re not Scottish. Furthermore, you probably don’t want to be. Membership in the St Andrew’s Society of Washington D.C. is
restricted to “men of Scottish birth or ancestry”, and where its members have actually looked at what the SNP policies for an independent Scotland are, they tend to be against them:
John King Bellassai, former president of the DC St Andrews Society, says Scottish Americans tend to let romance cloud their judgement when it comes to an independent Scotland.
He admits he is in the minority among his friends in opposing full independence, having balked at the SNP’s “pacifist” stance on nuclear weapons and other “left wing” SNP policy positions, despite being a Democrat supporter.
“Americans, I think, are woefully ignorant of what the implications would be from an American point of view.”
If Scotland becomes independent, being Scottish will become a matter of passports and legalities, which I hope will be as broadly defined as possible: but who gets to vote in the referendum is a matter for the electoral rolls:
The people who live and work in Scotland are best placed to decide its future. Our proposal is therefore that eligibility to vote in the referendum should reflect the internationally accepted principle that the franchise for constitutional referendums should be determined by residency. Your Scotland Your Referendum
So if you are genuinely curious whether you are entitled to vote in the independence referendum in autumn 2014, the place to go is About My Vote.
You don’t have to be able to vote in the referendum to respond to the consultations.
And no, it’s not racist.