I am nae chuffed.
Let me put that another way. I’m crabbit. Awfy crabbit. So I’ve come on here to have a wee blether about it.
I don’t know if you’ve been paying any attention to the stramash around the Scottish Independence referendum? In my corner of the world, it has been hard not to. There has been a lot going on. David Cameron has been sticking his big old neb in, the Scottish Government have released a draft consultation document, and the tartan blogosphere is talking itself round in circles.
There are countless uncertainties about the referendum – when it’s going to take place; who is going to run it; whether it’ll be a straightforward single question (yes or no to independence) or whether it will give three different choices (stay in the union, become independent, or devolve further powers to Holyrood).
I have been paying close attention. Because, y’know, I’m Scottish. I don’t tend to paint my face blue or get my kilt out too often – I am one of the quietly proud, self-deprecating, occasionally sweary Scots rather than the fiercely nationalist Braveheart-loving ones – but I am Scottish nonetheless.
And I feel that when the time comes to vote, it’s my duty need to make a well-informed and thoughtful decision. At this point, I know that if devo max were an option, I would definitely vote yes. But if it’s a straight yes or no…. Well. Hmm, that is a little trickier for me. I honestly don’t know yet.
But here’s the thing. Here’s why I’m crabbit.
Based on the current proposals as set out in the consultation paper, I won’t get to vote. I won’t get any say… because I’m not currently resident in Scotland.
*Blows a giant disdainful raspberry at the computer screen*
I was born in Scotland. I got married in Scotland. My son was born in Scotland. My family are still in Scotland. My bank accounts are with Scottish banks. I have a case of Irn Bru in my fridge, for goodness sake! Our postal redirection is still set up! But because we’ve had to leave Scotland for a few years, for work reasons, I won’t get a vote.
I have lived in Scotland for nearly 29 years and out of Scotland for eleven weeks. But if the referendum were held tomorrow I – along with 800,000 other Scots who live in the UK but not in Scotland – wouldn’t get a vote.
What a pile of pishy auld nonsense that is. What an insult to those of us who plan to come back to Scotland when we can, and are being denied a say in the most important decision to take place there in 300 years.
I am sure the Scottish Government will have their reasons. Some other bloggers have suggested that the decision is politically motivated; that Scots who have left Scotland are more likely to have a broader worldview and are more likely to vote against independence. Others state that it is purely an issue of logistics; but that seems disingenuous. If I were a Scot who had been living abroad for less than 15 years, I would still get to vote for the Scottish Westminster MP in my constituency. My husband has not been resident in the US for nearly seven years, but he will still have a say in who the next US President is. There are precedents on this kind of issue.
If it’s too much of a challenge for the Scottish Government to work out some guidelines to determine which ex-pats should and should not be eligible to vote, then that does not inspire me with confidence in their ability to run a country.
I am not impressed, Mr Salmond. I think you are a numpty. And an eejit. And I would like a vote, please. Hell hath no fury like a Scottish woman scorned, so maybe you could give it some thought.