Monday, February 2, 2009

Would the "inconvenient relatives" be permitted a say?

At last an opinion-poll on Scottish voting intentions that has employed a decent sample; from a new YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, UK Polling Report has both the full voting intention figures and the changes from YouGov’s last Scottish poll, which was conducted right at the end of October:

Westminster voting intention: CON 20%(nc), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 12%(+1), SNP 27%(-2).

Holyrood constituency: CON 13%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 12%(nc), SNP 38%(-1).

Holyrood regional: CON 15%(-1), LAB 28%(-1), LDEM 11%(nc), SNP 34%(+2), GRN 6%(nc), SSP 4%(nc).

Three things apparent here: despite the turbulent last three months, the figures have remained remarkably steady; Labour is managing to slow down the shift towards the SNP and the massive anti-(Westminster) government swing evident in England and Wales is not being capitalized on by the Conservatives in Scotland.

How much of the SNP vote is an anti-Labour protest as opposed to any real desire for separation is an interesting question- the figures for a potential “independence” referendum have also been included:

29% would vote YES in such a referendum, 55% NO.
In October the respective figures were 31% to 53%.

According to those figures, between a fifth to a sixth of those who would presently vote for the SNP tomorrow would, nevertheless, not vote for the split up of the United Kingdom. What is also worth considering is who would be allowed to voted in such a referendum- only those Scots presently residing in Scotland or also those further afield?
If permitted, which way would these exiles be likely to vote?
This from The Economist’s Letter page gives us a clue:
SIR – It comes as no surprise to the millions of people of Scottish extraction living in England that more Burns night suppers take place here than in Scotland (“Selling Scotland by the verse”, January 24th). We must surely outnumber Scotland’s resident population. You also mentioned that Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, has designated 2009 as a “Year of Homecoming”. We are touched by this, especially as he wants a referendum to undo the union and to make Scotland a foreign country to us. In effect, this would render us stateless. We now await word from Mr Salmond that his offer of homecoming is sincere, and that we will be allowed to vote in any referendum on the issue.
A.J. Lane
East Grinstead, Sussex

Further to last week’s post, a quick google reveals that 800,000 Scots (actually born in Scotland) now reside in England and Wales, a further 30,000 live either side of the Irish border- I wonder if the Salmondistas would be really that happy to let them have a say in the future if their homeland?


The Aberdonian said...

Ah this is a tricky one, and not just for nationalists-----

Lets hop on an aeroflot and head for the old USSR shall we.

Now of course the Baltic States are now independent and in NATO, EU and Schengen.

However what you are suggesting would mean that they would likely be under the rule of that nice Mr Putin who would undoubtedly be in such a position the master of the Baltic.

I think I have told you this story a while back, but I tell you it again---

When I was in the Ukraine for the first time, the driver who picked me up at the airport turned out to be Latvian. He was the son of a Russian soldier who had come to Latvia after World War Two, married a Latvian girl and settled down to have a family. From this union was produced my driver.

The guy joined the Red Army and worked his way up to captain. During his service he met and married a Ukrainian girl and they had a family which they raised in other parts of the USSR. These included Georgia, Kalingrad, Belarus and Latvia itself.

When he was in Georgia the USSR collapsed. The newly independent Latvia revoked the civic rights of all those who lived in Latvia (including those born and raised there) who were not descended from citizens of the inter-war (dictatorial) Latvian republic. This meant about 40% of the population lost their right to vote etc overnight, including the majority of the urban population.

This meant his wife would have no rights if they returned to Latvia after the collapse of the USSR. It was therefore easier for him to move to Kiev with her and become a Ukrainian citizen (Latvia and Ukraine forbid dual-nationality).

Now he needed to save every two years for a an expensive visa for him to visit his homeland and visit his family in Latvia (who through their mother had the right to Latvian citizenship).

Now I doubt that many people are sad about his predicament and scoff "cruel necessity!"

Now that Latvian guy lost his right to visit his homeland and he was not consulted. Think about the Baltic diaspora living in other parts of the former USSR. The few Latvians I know are part Russian and some of their Latvian born relatives live in other parts of the former USSR and have similar restrictions put on them.

Imagine if Gorby had given these people the right to decide on the fate of Baltic states. There would have been outrage in the West.

Recently another member of the Baltic diaspora was in the news. The Patriach of the Russian Orthodox Church died a few weeks ago. Where was he born and raised and lived most of his life. Tallin. Makes you think.

Now before the outrage about the Baltic States, they were oppressed yada yada, the states were oppressed. However life in the USSR in no picnic for the vast bulk of Soviet citizens.

Estonia and most of Latvia came under Russian rule during the reign of Peter the Great. He seized them from Swedish rule. The Swedes in turn had taken those lands from the Germanic Hanseatic league.

Lithuania was in union with Poland from the 14th century. When Poland was partitioned, the vast bulk of Lithuania passed to the Russians and was ruled as part of "Congress Poland".

The Baltic states enjoyed more autonomy under the Czars than most parts of the Romanov Empire.

In 1917 in return for helping Lenin take over Russia, vast tracks of the Romanov Empire were ceded to the Central Powers under the Treaty of Brest Livostik. These included the Baltic lands, Finland, Russian-Poland, most of Belarus, Russian-Ukraine, Moldova and the Caucauses.

After the Central Powers surrender, Lenin launched a war of reunification against the lost territories. He got Ukraine, most of Belarus and the Caucuses back. Moldova passed to Romania whilst the sepratists were victorious in Poland, the Baltic States and Finland.

The sepratists started fighting each other. The Poles launched a war of reunification against Lithuania to enforce the ancient union between the two nations. And why not. The Polish leader Piludski was himself from Vilnius.

The result was that Vilnius was annexed into Poland and Kaunas became the capital of the Lithuanian state.

The Latvians and Estonians fought off German attempts to make them part of the Reich, due to their historic ties with Germany.

The three states settled down and quickly slid into fascistic dictatorships. These were the dictatorships that Stalin invaded in 1939 as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

Afer the Nazi occupation (generally endorsed by the populations), Stalin took the territories back and this was agreed at Yalta. Vilnius was returned to Lithuania and the Poles expelled. The Republics then formally "joined" the USSR.

Some anti-Soviet partisans/terrorists took to the forrests to fight the Red Army. Meanwhile the Soviets industrialised the rural economies of Baltic states (putting them in a good economic position compared to other parts of the USSR) and shipped people from other parts of the USSR to live there to work/keep an eye on sepratists.

(Not of course in these parts we would "bus" people to keep an eye on the "natives". Ireland. Cromwell.)

Thats are my initial thoughts on the matter!

tony said...


What is your thoughts on the millions of recent Ulster extraction(say a generation or two) who would comfortably tip the balance in a border poll in favour of a united Ireland?

You do that and we will do the same ;¬)

Thing is how many of these would actually vote with Scotland's interests in mind? If they are born and raised in England, with an English family, job etc. Not unless they have fell for the guff about us living out their pockets.

Right that's settled I am now officially part of the big lie that England subsidises ScotlAND.

O'Neill said...

Even in the unlikely event of the Doomsday Scenario of Scotland breaking away (and despite the fantasies of the wilder end of Scot Natdom) I don't think we'd get anything like the chaos which followed the break-up of the USSR. Nevertheless, there are parallels with the potential "stateless-ness" of those caught on the "wrong" side of the Border- another question is obviously the position of the 300,000 or so English presently living in Scotland.

O'Neill said...

What is your thoughts on the millions of recent Ulster extraction(say a generation or two) who would comfortably tip the balance in a border poll in favour of a united Ireland?

Anyone born in N.Ireland should have the vote...but I think you'll find quite a big opposition amongst Irish nationalism for that proposal; as folk like Horseman constantly point out on his blog, the vast majority of graduates and a smaller majority of others who left NI since 1969 were from a Unionist "background". Incidently The Census of 2001 (or more specifically the religion question) was a big disappointment for Irish nationalism in that they didn't get their 50% plus RCs- because more and more of these exiles I mentioned are coming back.

Thing is how many of these would actually vote with Scotland's interests in mind?

It's up to each voter to decide their own opinion on what's in Scotland's best interest surely?

If they are born and raised in England, with an English family, job etc.

The letter writer I quoted was born in Scotland, now living in England. But yes, as I said to Aberdonian, there's also the question of the quarter of a million plus English living in Scptland...I wonder if they'd be given a vote?

The Aberdonian said...

To the best of my knowledge the SNP position is that all registered to vote in Scotland would have a say in a referendum regardless of their place of birth.

(If it did not then several SNP politicians born outside Scotland - whether England or in one MSP case Pakistan - would be excluded from the vote. This would include former SNP Chief Executive and now Environment Minister Mike Russell, a possible contender for Salmond's job when he eventually retires to become chairman of Hearts)

tony said...


Despite the since 1969 tag, I am sure that referring to a generation or two(the terms to which I specified and your article implied) those who would vote for a united Ireland would comfortably outnumber Unionists.

>>It's up to each voter to decide their own opinion on what's in Scotland's best interest surely?<<

Is it? So let's have millions of Aussies, Yanks, Canadians, Scots, English voting you into a united Ireland. Likewise we could have millions of English, Canadians, Aussies etc. voting either way. Considering that the vast majority will know very little of Scotland or Ireland, why would their opinion be in Irelands/Scotlands best interests?

Verging on the ridiculous now ;¬)

O'Neill said...

My post specifies folk actually born in Scotland/Northern Ireland as opposed to people whose great-granny may have once been for a holiday to Bray or Largs.

I'd be happy to rely on those people born in Northern Ireland/Scotland to do the right thing.

tony said...

Is the right thing in the interests of Scotland or Ireland. Or those who hold allegiance to a foreign country?

Simple stuff!

kensei said...


If you bring in emigrants, then you are going to granny's because thta would qualify for citizenship. It is by no means clear that would result in a Unionist majority as there was a LOT of nationalist emigration in the Stormont period and they probably maintained higher birth rates during the period. It is just about impossible to police or enforce.

If you don't live here, then you don't get a vote. If in the event of a succcesful referendum, you get the option of citizenship of the new state based on your place of birth. Rather than being "stateless" you have a choice of states. Or both.

O'Neill said...

If in the event of a succcesful referendum, you get the option of citizenship of the new state based on your place of birth. Rather than being "stateless" you have a choice of states. Or both.

In the unlikely event of it ever happening, think I'd settle for that both;)...not sure how practical a solution it would be though.