Monday, 12 May 2014

registered dilemma

With the formal campaign period's approach, I have been enquiring to the Electoral Commission about how any folks who share my voting position can register as campaigners. You can register to cover the possibility of big spend without having to already be committed to planning a big spend, and the benefit of enquiring about registering is towards getting answers in the campaign.

The system is that you have to register whether you are campaigning for Yes or No, so how is it possible to register for campaigning one single view that might mean either Yes or No depending on the govt's answer to a policy detail it won't answer?! i.e. the view that we have a humanitarian duty to vote for the side that will give the most open position towards the returning diaspora, the maximum citizenship entitlements for them subject to a priority of not taking automatic citizenship away from anyone who has it now. This will mean voting No if registrations for citizenship by descent, as described in the White Paper and qualifying with its terms, will be refusable, Yes if they won't be refusable.

I put to the commission, that they need to tell me whether this campaigning position should be registered a Yes or No, and in order to be able to tell me they have to make the govt tell them. They have tried to refer the question back to the govt and say, oh I understand your position but it's really for campaigners to choose which side they support. So I have asked back (and copied in a paper that might be hoped to take a neutral interest): right then, if the govt won't answer, "will it be illegal if we do not register that it is for Yes or for No, because it is for a single view whose logic means voting either Yes or No according to the government's answer to a policy detail it has not answered?"

This question is now for the electoral reform and democracy standards scene too: can participation be gagged by one side's withholding of information about its own policy?

Meanwhile, I have made a bit of progress by making this enquiry - At this time of asking govt what the position is, it's with the commission's backing as needing and expecting an answer so that anyone who agrees with me and wants to register as a campaigner can know whether to register as Yes or as No. So that, if govt still won't answer after the commission referred me to them for an answer, they are seen to commit a referendum irregularity. Already govt's first answer just said, full details are in the White Paper and descent citizenship will be "available", and "further details of the procedural requirements and administration will be available when the legislation is drafted." That of course is not an answer to voters now, and I have mailed back that they have only answered the question when they say what one word means. "Does "available" mean refusable or not refusable ?"

Meanwhile, the Sunday Herald, a week after backing Yes, has not chosen to answer the following, I had written in:

As part of backing Yes, you owe to the public, and you must want, to pin down as news any facts doubted by voters that will make the Yes case socially fair. Thus: any time you can report government or legally sourced, that registrations for Scottish citizenship by descent meeting the White Paper's terms will not be refusable and will all be entitled to acceptance, you will instantly convert from No to Yes any voters like me whose concern is to uphold the diaspora and their families.

On Apr 13 the Sunday Herald printed a letter that claimed to answer my concern about citizenship just by quoting the White paper, which without the clarification as above on refusability, does not answer it. They have shown they realise that by never printing any request for clarification. But why is their own Iain Macwhirter such a keen Yes supporter that he keeps crediting the White Paper and SNP with being pro-immigration, without this question clarified, when he was born in exile himself, he is exactly the type of diaspora child who my concern is about. he risks his position closing to others like him the door he found his way home through himself.

They have reported as a splash that Kenyon Wright now backs Yes, yet it takes other sources to point up the remarkable irony that he now lives in England and can't actually vote. How well informed is he, in his chosen exile, about citizenship policies in the way of future freedom to make the same type of cross-border move as he has chosen to make>?!

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