Scotland first again



First on banning tobacco in public places, first on minimum alcohol pricing, first on free care for the disabled, first to commit to really tackling poverty and homelessness, first to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, first on baby boxes and free sanitary products, the Scottish Government looks like being first to give refugees the right to vote. Kind of different from Britain First, I’d say.

From the Independent (one of the few homes for good journalism left) yesterday:

‘The Scottish government is considering allowing refugees and non-EU citizens to vote in local and Scottish parliament elections. Holyrood was granted new powers over taxation and the running of elections by Westminster in 2016 and the SNP minority government is keen to make major changes that will set it apart from the rest of the UK. A public consultation launched last month suggested extending the voting franchise to “everyone legally resident in Scotland”. This would mean anyone granted asylum or a visa to live in Scotland would be able to vote in the country’s regional parliament and local council elections – including refugees and non-EU or non-Commonwealth citizens.’

The results of the consultation are not in yet but I’m optimistic about the support here for the civil rights of all who live in Scotland. It’s another example of the Scottish Government acting to make this the kind of country I want to live in.


4 thoughts on “Scotland first again

  1. achmony January 8, 2018 / 11:54 am

    I am so proud of Scotland’s government, showing the compassion that is so lacking in the awful imperial UK government that we need to rid ourselves of soonest. I cannot wait for that momentous day that we tell them to F**K OFF.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. macgilleleabhar January 9, 2018 / 10:20 am

    For what it’s worth I believe that anyone who has decided to invest their lives in Scotland contributing to society should have the right to vote.
    On a slightly different tack Ramsay Jones was dribbling his usual Jackie Bailie in the Press and Journal yesterday with an emotive headline about prisoners being allowed to vote. Naturally he was against it.
    I have never had a clear understanding of what purpose imprisonment serves apart from wasting resources and keeping a few who are a danger to society under control.
    Apart from looking into prisoners rights to vote shouldn’t we have a reappraisal of the legal penalties as well?
    After all isn’t it politicians who break electoral law?


    • Alasdair Macdonald January 9, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Macgilleleabhar, I think you are right with regard to imprisonment. Apart from cases where the public has to be protected, then I think we really should be looking at other options. Not only would it probably save money, but, it would also enable prison staff to undertake more serious attempts at rehabilitation of the long term prisoners, even though some would present such a danger that release into the community would cause issues. people who are not incarcerated could be given appropriate attention in the community, including some kind of restitution, but, it would also help keep families together, and allow miscreants who are in work to maintain working and support themselves and their families and perhaps make proper repayment to victims. I am sure that this would be more satisfying for the prison staff. Because such staff are needed in the community, a fair chunk of prison costs would just be redeployed and not actually saved, but, probably the money would be much more cost effective.

      I remember a talk given by the former Conservative Minister, Jonathan Aitken who was jailed. After his release he became a prison reformer – pretty sincere I thought. His view was that a large majority of those incarcerated should never be there. However, he was pessimistic about the chances of politicians enacting legislation and this was not just his own hang-and-flog-em party, but a substantial chunk of the Labour Party. At that time Mr Jack Straw was the Home Secretary and I recall another talk by a retired and highly successful prison governor who declared him the ‘most reactionary and baleful Home Secretary in her 40 years in the service’.

      Sadly, the politicians are responding to a vicious retributive streak in a lot of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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