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Tonyfromafar

The right to vote in a Welsh independence referendum

I have just read an article on the BBC website regarding who will be entitled to vote in the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014.  I had not given it a thought before however it would seem that the only people who would be entitled to vote would be those who reside in Scotland. This criteria excludes a significant number of Scottish people who have left home for employment or other reasons and who under normal circumstances be entitled to vote as a result of there blood line. Approximately 22,000 expat Scottish live in Wales. I wonder what you  would think the voting criteria should be if the referendum for independence were offered to Wales? What would be the criteria you would set?
martyn142

Hello Tony

It seems fair enough to me that it is Scottish residents decide this since it is they who will be affected by the result. However, Scottish you feel, if you live in Surrey then Scottish independence or otherwise won't make any real difference to you.
Tonyfromafar

I can see the logic in some ways but a decision that potentially will never be reversed being made by a population that is transient seems a bit odd and the process is different to a General Election because those who live outside the UK still had a postal or proxy vote. Mind you if it were done by blood line how would you be able to prove your identity? I think it is interesting that many of the celebrities that call for independence and claim to be Scottish will not have a vote in the referendum. By that, I mean, the likes of Sean Connery and Billy Connolly.  There is a similarity in Yorkshire where the likes of Michael Parkinson extol the virtue of the county but both moved away many years ago never to be seen again. Its a funny old thing the sense of belonging.
Ian

'Mind you if it were done by blood line how would you be able to prove your identity?'

Think the Scottish RFU have cornered the expertise in this field,they seem to have the ability to find eligible players all over the world no matter how distantly related to a Scot they are. Smile
martyn142

I agree Tony that it would be harsh on someone who has moved away temporarily not to have a say in the future of their home country. But, generally speaking, I don't think that's the case i.e. I don't think the majority return to Scotland/Wales later. I may be wrong on that admittedly, but that's been my personal experience.

And I also agree it's an anomaly that those same people can vote in general elections. I really don't understand why they can. I appreciate for those retired abroad, current government policy has an effect on their pensions, etc, but you can't have it both ways. Except of course, you can in this instance †Laughing
cymrocymraeg123

I agree with Martin. I accept fully that if or when Scotland leaves the UK, and I'm not going to be arrogant enough to suggest the outcome as to be honest nobody knows yet, it will affect the devolution settlement here in Wales. The fact is though those who reside in Scotland will be affected, it will be Scots who will have to live in the Scottish state, not us. Also, if you've chosen to leave then why should vote on something that won't affect you, thus contributing to the changing of the quality of life in a country you don't live in?
Tonyfromafar

But surely by just giving the vote to whoever maybe in the country at the time of the referendum opens up the question of nationality, who has the right to it, and why should it be removed from those who were forced to moveaway to find employment?
Jim Nicholas

It is more than 50 years since I left  Abertillery to accept a promotion in the Midlands but I am still a welshman who has a very real interest in Welsh affairs. I would hope that I would be able to give my vote on any matter which affected the future of welshmen.
martyn142

It depends what you think the purpose of devolution or independence is. I think Tony and Jim see it in terms of national identity?

I'm not sure this is what it is about though. For me this isn't about Welshness. It's about whether Wales has different economic and cultural needs to the UK as a whole, and whether those needs would be better met by a local government.

We wouldn't be voting on whether we are proud Welsh men or women, which I'm sure you both are. We'd be voting on whether we wanted a Welsh government making Welsh laws which would apply to Welsh residents only (because no one outside Wales would be subject to them), raising taxes from Welsh residents only (because no one outside wales would pay them) and so on. I think it would be extremely unfair if you got to vote on something which might cost me money, but not you!

I understand what you are both saying, especially Tony's point that you may only have moved from Wales for a few years but don't get to vote, but it seems very fair to me that only the people living in Wales, who are the only ones who will be affected by the vote, get to vote.
Tonyfromafar

Iím not sure that I see independence totally in terms of national identity however, there is an element of this in my thought process.
In the main my concern would be that there would be members within the Welsh population that were transient and not those who were born, brought up and still live within the borders of the principality.
Let me try and get to grips with this by checking my understanding with Martynís view point. On the day that the referendum takes place it is highly likely that a Welch Regiment will not be based in Wales due to operational requirements.  

Does this mean that the members of the regiment, whoís make up is drawn up from the populous of Wales would be denied the right to vote?

Would this not seem to be undemocratic?

Can I also say that I am really happy that the site has not fallen into oblivion and that I am enjoying this discussion.
cymrocymraeg123

First of all, Wales is NOT a pricipallity. Apologies for poor spelling. As pointed out, we can all come up with pseudo-economic arguments, it's about who we are. I love Great Britain, and our island, but I don't think as an economic and political unit it works. Scotland will vote how she votes, it's too close too call. Personally, I want an independent Wales, with all the British states working together where we need to
martyn142

I take your point Tony, although the right to vote is based on where you are registered of course, not where you happen to be on voting day. In your example, I'd imagine that most members of the regiment would still be registered "at home" and could vote. But you are right, there would be anomalies.
Jim Nicholas

Martyn is probably right in his post on 10th Nov. Why should I in Eastbourne have a vote on things which will only affect the residents of Wales? A compromise might be that temporary emigrants could have the opportunity to apply for a postal vote.
martyn142

That seems fair Jim. And it sort of happens, at least in some cases. For instance, my three children who have all gone to off to university have kept themselves registered here.
Tonyfromafar

Like Jim I wouldn't want a vote in the Welsh independence referendum. My reason for posing the question in my original post was more to do with the high profile individuals who would have been instrumental in getting the Scottish independence discussion into the public domain but would not be able to cast a vote due to their absence from the country concerned. I wondered what the consensus of those on the forum would be.

My apologies to you all for suggesting that Wales was a principality. I have just been reading up on the subject on the ISO website.

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