The new Scottish citizenship test. Have we already failed?

And there’s more good news. Mr Yousaf also confirmed that people like me would be entitled to Scottish citizenship after independence. Apparently I would automatically qualify because I was born and live here; I would also have permission to move south of the border to live or work if I wanted to, so that’s another big burden off my shoulders. Thank you Humza

However, there are some things that Mr. Yousaf says will definitely not happen. There will be no citizenship tests, for example, which I’m fine with, except that it eliminates the intriguing prospect of people wanting to become Scottish citizens having to answer questions about the basics of our culture. Questions like, “Who sang Boom Bang A Bang?” Or, “Can you finish the popular line Fan-Dabi-…?” And, “What kind of vehicle was left at Nicola Sturgeon’s mother-in-law’s house?” That sort of thing .

It also strikes me, as it always does when the SNP talks about its post-independence world, that it has overlooked large parts of the facts. Mr Yousaf, speaking at the launch of the SNP’s latest strategy paper, said in fairness there will never be a citizen test. He also says people could keep their British citizenship, take on Scottish citizenship or have dual citizenship. What he doesn’t say, however, is that citizenship would not just be a matter for the Scottish Government, and that means the situation is far more complicated than the paper suggests.

To be fair to the SNP, the document acknowledges that many Scots have strong ties to the rest of the UK and wish to retain their current multiple national identities. Jamie Hepburn, Secretary of State for Independence (which is now a matter), says in the paper’s introduction that independence would not replace either identity and we could choose to be Scottish and British. “Independence doesn’t mean that either of us has to lose something about our personality,” he says.

As far as that goes, it is entirely justified, although I have the impression that the multiple identities that Mr Hepburn is talking about seem to be best protected by the current multinational arrangements. We also know what the SNP is trying to do here: it is trying to make unionists feel comfortable enough to switch sides, but what it fails to do is the realities of constitutional law and fact acknowledging that the British government would have had a role in deciding how citizenship would work. The question is: what would they do?

In its new paper, the SNP seems to assume (as it usually does) that the British government would just go along with it and accept the idea of ​​dual citizenship, and perhaps it would: there is nothing in the law that blocks British citizens from doing so prevents having dual citizenship and in general it is allowed.

Assuming current figures remain the same, there would be around 850,000 Scots living in the rest of the UK after independence, meaning around one sixth of the citizens of a newly independent Scotland would be under the British Government and therefore potentially entitled to dual citizenship had. What would the British government say about this? Not only would it be highly unusual for so many of its citizens to have dual nationality from any state, the UK government would be right to ask questions. How will these dual citizens behave? Where would their loyalty lie? What rights should they have? You can see why it would make her think.

Furthermore, my money would go towards the UK government, particularly a Tory government, taking tough action to protect their own interests, because that is what states do and we have seen it before. When Theresa May was Home Secretary she said that Scots would not automatically have dual citizenship in the event of independence and that decisions on whether Scots would retain their British citizenship would be influenced by policy decisions by the Scottish Government, although some dismissed this as idle chatter as to why shouldn’t she say that then? She also said that decisions about British citizenship are a matter for the British government, and that’s right: they are.

The truth is that whatever happens after an independence vote depends on detailed negotiations between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and not just Humza Yousaf’s relaxed claims when publishing a new paper. In fact, I would like to believe that Mr Yousaf is right and that I would keep my British citizenship, but I also think it’s possible that the UK government could introduce restrictions on dual citizenship – which it has also hinted at in the past For example they may need a historical or ongoing connection to the rest of the UK. What does that mean? And more importantly, would I qualify?

It seems to me that the real doubts that exist in this area of ​​the constitutional debate – whatever the babble at the release of the SNP paper – mean that there may in fact be a citizenship test post-independence, for which Scots may have one You have dual citizenship and in some cases cannot meet the qualification for important reasons. Some Scots won’t care but for me and I’m sure many others it would be a real concern. Mr. Hepburn assures us that independence will not mean that we lose any of our personality. But what if he’s wrong?

In another way, I also feel like I’m already undergoing some kind of citizenship test where we have to start thinking about what kind of citizen we would like to be if independence existed. Presenting his paper, Mr Yousaf said he hadn’t given it much thought – which seems extraordinary for an SNP leader – but said he was likely to give up British citizenship and stick with Scottish citizenship only. tyrant for him, I say.

It’s more difficult for me. In a way, my initial instinct (and immature ones) would be to do the opposite of Mr Yousaf and just keep British citizenship, but my more pragmatic side says I’d keep dual citizenship (assuming I’m allowed to, of course). . However, what is really going on here, at bottom, is the idea that multiple national identities are best served by the multiple nation system that we currently have. Maybe that means I’ve failed some kind of Scottishness test, but maybe it’s this approach, taken by many Scots, that explains why the pro-independence case still hasn’t caught on. The SNP believes it has found a way out with its paper on citizenship. I regret to say that this is not the case.

Grace Reader

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