If Swedes, Sudanese and Singaporeans are to be offered a vote in the next Scottish independence referendum, why aren’t expatriate Scots?
If and when there is a second independence referendum – IndyRef2 – the Scottish government proposes to give a vote to all over 16-year-olds resident in Scotland at the time. This could include people who are only there for a very short time and for a very defined reason – such as overseas students or employees of multi-national companies posted to Scotland for a fixed period.
Meantime the UK government proposes that the restriction on expatriate Britons living or working abroad being allowed to vote in general elections and referendums be abolished. Currently they can only vote for the first 15 years of their residency overseas, but this is to be extended so as to become a lifetime entitlement.
The ExpatScots campaign believes that in a democratic exercise as fundamental as any second independence referendum diaspora and expatriate Scots should also have a vote. That should include both those living in the ‘rest of the UK’, and those living abroad.
Many expatriate Scots maintain close ties with friends and relatives in the land of their birth. Some Scottish members of the armed services are based in the rest of the UK or overseas, but have every intention of returning to Scotland. Some expat Scots have properties and other investments in Scotland, and also intend to retire to Scotland. It therefore seems unfair that Scottish expatriates should be deprived of a say in something as fundamental as to whether or not the 314 year-old Union should be abolished.
Please sign our petition and donate if you can. This is a very important issue for the hundreds of thousands of Scots who risk being denied a say over their country's future.
For full details of the arguments behind this campaign, read my article on 'The case for giving expat Scots a vote'.
This campaign's creator, Lionel Zetter, was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother. He is a retired lobbyist, and a former president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He is author of ‘Lobbying, the Art of Political Persuasion’.