Scotland’s European future

I commented before on the interesting way an independent, increasingly cosmopolitan Scotland, and an increasingly suspicious and insular rump-UK might pass each other on the way through the EU door. I was interested to find out who is permitted to vote in next week’s independence referendum in Scotland. You might have supposed that an attempt was being made to appeal to the inbred Bannockburn nostalgia voters, perhaps even extending the franchise to self-identified Scots by birth. Instead, the voting eligibility criteria seem sedulously post-nationalist and forward-looking. Birth plays no role, only residence and citizenship. In addition to admitting 16- and 17-year-olds to the franchise, they are permitting — in a move that seems stunningly self-assured to anyone who remembers how the aftermath of the 1995 Quebec referendum descended into ugly recriminations against “money and the ethnic vote” — EU citizens ordinarily resident in Scotland to vote. There’s no clearer statement, I think, of how differently the Scots view their future from how the English view theirs.

And if the nationalists win the referendum on this basis, it will be hard to argue that they haven’t earned their independence honourably.

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