Donald J MacLeod (Letters, 16 April) comments that, in the referendum, a majority of “native-born” Scots voted Yes, whereas majorities of those born elsewhere in the UK in one instance or outside the UK in the other voted No.
Although he draws no conclusion, one is drawn to ask what Mr MacLeod’s point is.
Is he congratulating those born outside Scotland on their good sense and ability to see through the fog of Nationalist hyperbole, or is he rather indicating that it was “real” Scots born and bred north of the Border who voted Yes?
Alas, I suspect that it is the latter. If so, is Mr MacLeod suggesting that, if one was born elsewhere, one is not a true Scot?
In other words, where you are born defines what nationality you are.
If so, my old headmaster was Indian and many of my schoolmates with fine Scots names were Zimbabwean, Sudanese and Ugandan and the Duke of Wellington, who won Waterloo, was Irish.
It was he who said that not everything born in a stable is a horse, meaning that he was not Irish despite being born in Ireland.
Of course, if using medieval means of identifying nationality, another yardstick should also be employed. As I assume English is Mr Macleod’s tongue, then, according to the terms used by King David I, he too is defined thereby. It makes him English.
Being Scots is in the blood and outlook. It is not a political affiliation.
Andrew HN Gray
I fully concur with Donald J MacLeod’s letter which showed that Scots-born voters backed independence in the referendum. Many other Scottish-born people would have done likewise had they been allowed voting rights.
There are Expats for Independence communities across the world and, as is Scotland’s Union legacy, in an exile that most would gladly end in the event of their birthplace resuming its self-governing nationhood.
In my opinion the referendum wasn’t all it could and most likely should have been, as it excluded many people compelled abroad by the very issues that impelled the referendum, and which have urged the SNP into majority government in Holyrood.
That so many were permitted to vote who, as analyses of the voting suggests, had scarce interest in their country of residence, and had they been called on to pass the sort of nationality test that has been routine for UK citizenship, would have failed in the case of domicile in Scotland.
Both the sentiment and the rationale behind confining the referendum voting to residents in Scotland were mainly admirable, but there were many discrepancies too, such as those of short-term residential intentions having the option to decide the future of a country that their future wouldn’t be part of.
This contrasted with expatriates eager enough to participate in deciding the future of the country in which they were born.
There are parallels with what was seen as a pre-referendum controversy that revolved around people from outwith Scotland being appointed to top positions in several national organisations and projects that ostensibly, if not essentially, required considerable experiential knowledge of, and similar interest in, what can be described as the cultural environment of these positions.
To simply say “these things don’t matter” is simply to dismiss a country’s history, and part of that history, in the case of Scotland, was a parliamentary Union.
Likewise, to say “but we don’t live in the past” is to refute the fact that today will be part of the past sooner than most of us relish.
Donald J MacLeod failed (studiously?) to inform us of the source of his analysis of the referendum result. I wonder if he would be prepared to do this. There was only one question on my ballot paper.
Donald J Macleod needs to pay more heed to “lies, damned lies and (the misuse of) statistics”. The parenthesis is mine.
We should remember that pre-referendum polls indicated that the less educated, less successful section of the electorate was more likely to vote Yes and the more aspirational to vote No.
The pattern of voting seemed to bear this out and the figures quoted by Mr Macleod are further confirmation of this bias.
We should be concerned that the future of our country came so close to being decided by those least able to assess the consequences of their action.
(Dr) A McCormick