Sunday, 5 February 2012

Voting Rules

The debate rages on.......

John Swinney wants to allow 60,000 EU nationals the opportunity to vote in the Referendum. He has said that this is based on the same criteria used in the Scottish elections. Swinnet also wants 16 and 17 year olds the vote. His opponents want to use the same rules as for Westminster, thus barring the EU nationals the vote, but allowing 750,000 Scots living in England the vote.

Let's deal with the under-18's first. Why, for the Referendum only, does the SNP want to give these people the vote? Why should they be given the vote?

The principle that the SNP is using is that the question is of such fundamental importance, that they should be given the opportunity to have their say. Laudable, but as I've said before; the SNP only want to give them the vote to boost the "Yes" numbers, via the policy of free higher education. Looking at other areas; how can he give them the vote, when they cannot buy tobacco and alcohol, nor can they stand as either a councillor or MSP? If you extend voting rights, then you must extend other areas as well. If young people are considered mature enough to vote, then surely they are mature enough to make a decision about the dangers of smoking and drinking.

As to the EU nationals getting the vote - unless they have been here for at least three years contributing to the economy, then no. It is not they who are being affected in the long term, as they can always return to their country of origin. We do not get to have a say in their country, so why give them the vote? Are we going to give those who beg in the street the vote?

Likewise, Scots who have left Scotland should not get to vote in the Referendum either. Most will be away long term as it is, so they again will be unaffected by the result. Unionist arguments cannot be used here - this is not a Westminster election.

Politicians on both sides need to stop trying to manipulate the voting entitlements to suit their own agenda.


  1. At the very least these issues awaken debate which raises the profile of political thinking and perhaps voting intention in those already registered but dormant on the electoral roll. Who knows what effect and affect a 16 year old interested in politics may have on the voting behaviour of family members perhaps not in the full flush of youthful ambition and enthusiasm. A new law of 'intended consequences' perhaps?

  2. That's a good point, and one perhaps the SNP should have used to defend their proposal.

    If you can motivate younger people to vote, then it might get some backsides of the couch and into a polling booth, be it for better or worse.