The future of Scotland will be decided by the Scots. Or will it? Under the terms of the Edinburgh agreement, which set out the rules of this week’s referendum, eligibility to take part in this week’s vote is broadly similar to those governing normal Scottish parliamentary or council elections.
With the notable addition of 16- and 17-year-old voters, qualifying British, EU and Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland as well as members of the armed forces serving overseas are all entitled to take part alongside born and bred Scots.
The 2011 Census put the Scottish population at a record 5.3 million – surpassing its previous 1974 peak. From that an unprecedented 4.3 million people have registered to vote. Much of the past decade’s population growth has been down to the arrival of so-called New Scots exceeding the number of nationals leaving the country. Recent years have seen arrivals switch from traditional countries such as India and Pakistan to include workers from Eastern Europe, particularly Poland.
Six shades of Scotland: how would they vote?
Six shades of Scotland: how would they vote?
1/6 SCOT BY RESIDENCE Ceris Aston, 23
Ceris Aston was born in Gloucester and has English parents. She studied at Glasgow University and works in marketing. She lives in Kirkconnel. ‘‘I would have described myself as British by heritage because I am part Welsh, English and Irish. I am as British as you can get in that respect so when I realised I was in favour of independence it made me really question this. Scotland is my home. It is the place I love and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. “Independence will be an amazing opportunity for us. There is so much critical energy already released in the referendum and I don’t think it is going to dissipate. It won’t be an amazing utopia with rainbows and unicorns but we will be able to take decisions over our own resources and create social justice in a way that is totally different from what is envisaged in Westminster.” VOTE: Yes
2/6 RETURNED TO SCOTLAND Peter Krykant, 37
Peter Krykant was born in Falkirk. He lived in the US and England for 12 years and recently returned to Scotland to raise family. “I have always been a patriotic Scot but the referendum has elevated that patriotism. I consider myself Scottish and British – you can be both at the same time. My son was born in England and my wife is American. “The closer this vote gets, the more worried I get. I am concerned about cross-border jobs. My wife is a researcher at Glasgow University, working on a £10m UK government funded project. Part of the reason we chose to live in Scotland is because of the opportunities we as a family can provide for our son. My wife is American but has UK citizenship. How will that be affected? People have said because I have been away that we shouldn’t be allowed to vote and called me a traitor.” VOTE: No
3/6 HALF SCOT Victoria Summerley, 57
Journalist and author Victoria Summerley was born in England. Her father was Scottish and she was educated in Scotland. She lives in the Cotswolds. “Like a lot of Scots, I suspect, I would vote yes with my heart and no with my head. I suppose I have always been something of a sentimental Scot. ‘‘I have watched the campaign with huge interest. Edinburgh has changed so much since I was at university – it used to be a fuddy-duddy place. But then it became this European, cosmopolitan city. The Scots have great links historically to France and consider themselves to be more European than the English. ‘‘I think Scotland could make a go of it, and I think all this nonsense about whether they would be in the EU, or whether companies would pull out, is counter-productive. The Scots just see that as bullying.’’ VOTE: Not eligible
4/6 BORN AND BRED William McMillan, 24
Charity worker William McMillan was born in Lanarkshire. “I just don’t feel as if my questions have been answered. When you ask a question they evade it. I would be very concerned about the future of sterling – what happens if our currency is suddenly halved in value? I am young and I am just starting out. People say the economy is in a bad state but I feel like it is improving and independence could be a backwards step. “I work for a charity that is paid for by public funds. If an independent Scottish government needed to make £6bn in savings they could end up cutting public services and my charity could lose funding. I don’t think the debate has been conducted well. Both sides have been having a go at each other. “It doesn’t make any sense to be backing away when the rest of the world is coming together.” VOTE: No
5/6 SCOT IN EXILE Andrew Travers, 42
Designer Andrew Travers was born in Scotland and has lived and worked in London since 1996. “I would find it very difficult not to go back if Scotland does vote Yes. You don’t get many chances to be there at the start of the recreation of a country. It would be so hard to sit on the sidelines and watch other people doing it. I’m not able to vote but I am completely fine with that. It is more important that the 400,000 English people living in Scotland get the vote rather than the 800,000 Scots that don’t. “There have been two parts to the campaign: the official one, which has been pretty tedious, and the really interesting and exciting stuff, which has been outside the main parties – such as the National Collective or the Radical Independence Campaign which have been going out trying to encourage people to register to vote.” VOTE: Not eligible
6/6 MARRIED TO A SCOT Josh Jefferey, 32
Josh Jeffery works in media sales. He was born in Cheshire. His wife is Scottish and they live in Edinburgh. ‘‘I have always felt British and I think I reflect the majority of English people living in Scotland by wanting to stay part of Britain. I went to university at St Andrews and met my wife here in Scotland a few years later. My job is based at home so I could work from anywhere in England or Scotland. “If the vote is Yes we would stay in Scotland. I really like it here and I feel at home. The people are great and there has never been any issue being English. The biggest concern for me would be the economy. I feel quite passionately that the people of Scotland are being misled. They say it is not about Alex Salmond but it is – he is the person pushing for independence and I think he is trying to hoodwink people.’’ VOTE: No
It is now estimated that 7 per cent of the Scottish population was born outside the UK, less than half the figure for the rest of Britain as a whole. Yet by far the largest non-Scottish ethnic group residing across the Tweed is the 422,000 English-born individuals accounting for nearly 9 per cent of the Scots population.
They outnumber all other nationalities combined, including the 35,000 expatriate Northern Irish and 16,000 Welsh. Yet this is just half the figure of 750,000 Scots, more than the combined population of Edinburgh and Glasgow, who have crossed the border in the opposite direction and, unlike their fellow Britons living in Scotland, are excluded from the ballot.
The English will form a formidable constituency with up to seven out of 10 English expected to vote No on Thursday. But if the choice comes down to one of national identity, they could find themselves severely outnumbered. Asking the question for the first time, the 2011 Census found six out of 10 Scots said they were Scots alone while less than one in five described themselves as Scots and British. Just 8.4 per cent considered themselves purely British. Meanwhile, when Scotland organised its giant Homecoming celebrations in 2009 it was estimated that 40 million people around the world claimed to have Scottish ancestry – none of whom will have a say this week.Reuse content