Saturday, June 08, 2013

Clutching at Straws

With mainstream nationalism having effectively given-up on a Welsh state, the dwindling band of patriots are placing a lot of faith in the forthcoming Scottish referendum.  If Scotland votes for independence can Wales be far behind seems to be the hope.  Actually I can't see Scotland voting "yes" and in any case what exactly are the Scots voting for?  Having dumped the idea of the euro the SNP now wants to use sterling.  Clearly they haven't much faith in the enthusiasm of the Scottish voters for real independence, for how can a country be truly free if it has no control over its fiscal policy?

Look at the case of Ireland, their economy only started to prosper when they broke the link with sterling in 1979.  Of course they eventually fell in with the euro and now the Irish taxpayer has ended up bailing-out the German banks.  You may disagree, but it seems to me that this is what happens when you break away from one imperium and sign-up to another, equally centralist, even less democratic project.

One advantage the Scots have is that their population is relatively homogeneous.  According to the 2001 census results - the Scots have yet to publish the 2011 figures - less than 9% of their population was born in England - in Wales it's closer to 21%.  As far as I can see no-one has suggested that there should be a residency qualification on who is allowed to vote in the referendum and it will be interesting to see what would happen if the yes campaign failed by a few votes.  Could Scottish independence be lost due to the votes of the - ugly term - "white settlers?"

Of course we are all far too politically correct to suggest that the constitutional position of Scotland or Wales should actually be decided by the Scots and the Welsh.  Infact there isn't a country in the world that doesn't apply some form of residency test on those allowed to vote in elections.  The Irish Republic is the most relaxed country  in Europe when it comes to allowing non-citizens to vote, but even they draw the line at referendums, only Irish citizens being allowed a vote in such contests.  Having no citizenship of their own Scotland and Wales could at least demand that anyone voting on constitutional matters have, say, a five year residency of the country.  Should the destiny of a nation be decided by the here-today-gone-tomorrow sorts or should it be left to those with a stake in the country?


Jac o' the North, said...

Our devolution referendum in 1997 was almost lost due to 'white settlers'. And there would have been a backlash.

That's why I was always suspicious about the delay in declaring the final and decisive Carmarthenshire result that guaranteed the Yes vote.

Anonymous said...

"Here today, gone tomorrow", so does that include anyone over, say seventy-five?

Do we have any actual evidence of the way English incomers vote differently to the natives, or are we just making assumptions? I would guess that they might be more likely to vote Tory or even UKIP, especially the older ones and the white flighters, but that's still only a guess.

Any social researchers out there fancy a nice little project?

radnorian said...

I agree, it would be interesting to see if the common-sense assumption held-up.

Perhaps the question of Scottish and Welsh independence should be be left to a referendum in England. Might be a chance of an overwhelming Yes vote there.

Anonymous said...

It really is interesting how the SNP have showed themselves to have so little faith in independence that they can't even envisage having their own currency, but talk of continuing to use Sterling instead of the currently humbled Euro. Don't they remember the Scots Pound, or notice that their banks already print Scottish pound notes? Has the knack for finance left Edinburgh?

On voting, there are so many Scots born and brought up in Scotland living and working across parts of the UK; if they were French, they'd have a vote in any election and referenda. If there is a concern that those who've moved to Wales from outside effect results in referenda etc, would one way to balance things could be to grant the vote to those who come from Wales but now work elsewhere, and would anyway qualify for citizenship in event of independence.

Just a thought, valid of value or not.