Once again the tired old argument that expatriate Scots living in the rest of the EU should be entitled to vote in the independence referendum, with their exclusion leading to a potential legal challenge of the result, has reared its head (March 10).
There is of course no definition of what makes someone a ‘Scot’, thereby making this task impossible.
In addition, the registration and validation of entitlement to vote for hundreds and thousands, potentially millions, of those individuals claiming to be ‘Scots’ spread across the world would clearly add significant complexity to the task of organising and running the referendum.
It would be a highly costly logistical nightmare and goes down the rather disturbing slippery slope of defining eligibility to vote based on nationality and not residency.
The Edinburgh Agreement confirmed that the franchise was for the Scottish Parliament to determine and it, with overwhelming parliamentary support, determined that it should be based on residency and follow the precedent of the 1997 devolution referendum. Such a 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.
Those individuals maybe born in Scotland, who live elsewhere and see themselves as having a right to determine our nation’s constitutional future, have the obvious solution of simply coming back to Scotland and registering to vote here.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Are we overworking our poor politicians?
I read an interesting article about how hard our MPs work and their meagre holiday entitlement.
Parliament was in recess for 11 days in February after a three-week Christmas break.
There is an 18-day break at Easter and a further closure for May Day followed by an 11-day break at Whitsun.
There is a six-week summer shutdown and then a three-week closure for the party conferences.
Looking at all the empty benches on television a lot must be having to take sick days off because they work so hard.
The Government is now considering adding another week to the Whitsun break.
Hear, hear, I say.
Numerous politicians also have to have lucrative outside jobs to make ends meet and top up their platinum plated pensions.
MSPs have similar holidays.
There is something seriously wrong that our politicians have to work so hard for so little pay in the service of our country.
Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow
Selling City Chambers would be ridiculous
Tuesday’s Evening News normally requires more than a pinch of salt when sitting down to read the dirge that is Martin Hannan’s weekly spot. However, he has excelled himself with his piece ‘Time to sell off City Chambers’ (March 11).
He espouses that City of Edinburgh councillors should take the “hard decisions” and then merely lists prized and valuable assets to sell off. I’m so glad he has found such a simple solution for this year’s budget deficit but what about the next and the next?
He also proclaims that “what is really needed is for the council to earn money”. As an SNP member, maybe he should talk to John Swinney MSP about the headlock that he has put local authorities in with the council tax freeze.
Polls suggest that many people would be happy to pay extra in council tax should it go to help those vital services that Mr Hannan suggests should not be cut.
Finally he has rightly pointed out that some services are vital and then, with a swift about turn, hypothetically slashes sports, arts and most worryingly, economic development spending. These three services are vital for the long-term development of the city and the income generation that supports vital services.
Councillors should rightly look worried by the hard choices that they are making and I dearly hope that none of them are listening to the blinkered, short-term and ridiculous decisions Mr Hannan is suggesting.
Will Searle, Upper Gilmore Terrace, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Airport’s passport control chaos
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled through many of the world’s airports but seldom viewed such a shambles as I experienced after landing in Edinburgh on Friday, March 7.
I refer specifically to immigration and passport control, ‘overseen’ by Border Control. The signage is at best confusing to those of us who speak English and must be a complete mystery to all others.
Then there are the five new electronic passport reading bays – only one of which was in use and was failing to pass 99 per cent of those directed to use it.
Confused passengers were being directed to join one queue then another by staff who were obviously overwhelmed by the landing of an aeroplane carrying people at an international airport.
All this on the day before we entertained thousands of French supporters at Murrayfield.
Norrie Henderson, Corstorphine