What are Scots?

It was with bemusement that I read the call by Brian Monteith to open up voting in the independence referendum to those “Scots” living elsewhere in the world (Perspective, 23 January).

Eligibility to vote should be based on the franchise for Scottish Parliament elections and follows the precedent of the 1997 devolution referendum, and the call by Mr Monteith would see the right to vote in the referendum for these ex-pat “Scots” based not on residency, but on nationality, a position which smacks of racism.

In addition, being that there is also no such thing as a “Scottish national”, it also opens up a whole debate as to what defines an individual as “a Scot” – someone born here? Someone born elsewhere but whose parents/grandparents are “Scots”?

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The move to base the franchise on the electoral register is consistent with the internationally accepted principle that constitutional referendums should have a franchise determined by residency.

In addition, the registration and validation of entitlement to vote for hundreds and thousands of Scots-born individuals spread across the would add significant complexity to the task of organising and running the referendum.

Those individuals born in Scotland who live elsewhere and have a commitment to the nation have the obvious solution of simply coming back to Scotland and registering to vote here.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh