05 Jan 2014
January 5, 2014

Alan’s not Cumming : (

2 Comments

Alan Cumming, one of Scotland’s great artistic exports (to say nothing of his making the greatest perfume ad of all time) has bought a flat in Edinburgh, to use when he’s visiting his mum. He’s a big ‘Yes to Independence’ man, and so there’s been quite a lot made of whether or not he’ll be voting in the referendum. Scotland on Sunday continued this motion today by tail-ending a piece about his purchase of an apartment in New York with Cumming’s own comment that he doesn’t qualify to vote in the referendum. ‘His Edinburgh flat isn’t his main address‘, says the Scotsman.

I dunno. Read the first paragraph of the Scotsman piece (in bold) for yourself. The paper is saying that Alan Cumming is articulating something about a ‘main residence’, but it’s not exactly interrogating the idea, is it?.

I’ve just spent literally one minute on the interwebs and have come up with this. It’s numbered paragraph 2 of the Scottish Referendum Franchise Act, given Royal Assent in November. Is there something in there (e.g. a notion of ‘main residence’?) that disqualifies Alan Cumming? I can’t see anything.

Perhaps a reader here would be kind enough to let me know if there are secret criteria that only experts know about. Because as far as I (and surely most people?) can see, the franchise for the Scottish Referendum is the local election one, with the addition of service personnel serving outside Scotland. If that’s right, then that means anyone registered to vote in local elections in Scotland can vote in the referendum. That would include, for example, students from outside Scotland who study here, and who’ve taken the trouble to get their names on the register. English students, for instance. You know, from England. Also, people who don’t pay tax in the UK?

Or maybe there are a bunch of secret clauses not mentioned in the Act. I can’t see how, though. What would be the point of the Act being passed as a franchise at Holyrood if Westminster (through the Advocate General?) had the power to secretly alter it? And what would it say about a piece of Scottish legislation, and the relevant Scottish agencies, if significant additional secret criteria could exist?

Maybe Alan Cumming’s contractually tied-up on Broadway on 18 September, when the vote takes place. Or maybe there’s another reason he’s not allowed to vote. Or maybe there’s weird and secret bunch of voting criteria. In any case, it would be interesting to know.

Because after all, if ‘main residence’ were a criteria, there would be quite a lot of Scottish residents — people registered to vote in local elections — who wouldn’t qualify. Wouldn’t there?