Expat Scots barred from voting in independence referendum

Expat Scots barred from voting in independence referendum

Expat Scots barred from voting in independence referendum

Scotland’s controversial referendum on independence from the rest of the UK is not likely to represent the views of all Scots as those not living north of the border are banned from voting.

Expatriate Scots, whether they’re living just across the border in England or working in distant countries half-way across the world, are all unhappy about the ban. Many migrants working abroad say they intend to return home eventually and want a say in their homeland’s future.

The ballot is due to take place on 18 September and, although it seems unlikely that the separatists will get their way, the possibility of forming the world’s newest independent state should surely be open to all true Scots, no matter where they live. Over 700,000 Scots live and work in England or Wales, and many thousands more are working abroad in oil and other industries.

Scotland’s already semi-autonomous government was landed with the decision as to who should be eligible to vote, and opted to run the referendum similarly to local elections in which only current residents are allowed their say. It’s possible that the government, noted as pro-independence, is now regretting its stance.

Scots communities the world over are some of the most loyal to their heritage and culture of any of the multitude of ethnic groups formed by migrants. Born-and-bred Scots living overseas have strong feelings about the future of the country outside England and Wales, especially since the UK government’s veiled threats about the need for a different currency.

Even famous Scots such as Sean Connery and Andy Murray, living in the Bahamas and England respectively, are reputed to be not best pleased about their exclusion from voting. According to a representative of the Scottish contingent in the House of Lords, it’s a source of regret that expatriate Scots are being disenfranchised at this time.

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