Our old friend Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!" Tomkins is someone who has, paradoxically, benefited tremendously from the SNP's brand of open, inclusive, civic nationalism. Thanks to Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, he didn't have to jump through any hoops at all to be a full part of our national debate and decision on independence last year. He didn't, as someone from beyond our borders, have to commit his future to Scotland to vote (just as well, because he indicated he might well have left if there was a Yes vote), and nor did he even have to acknowledge that Scotland is a country (just as well, because he didn't and doesn't acknowledge that). It's entirely right and proper that he and others in a similar position were given their democratic rights automatically - I think all of us on the Yes side are much happier that we lost narrowly on an inclusive basis than we would have been if we had won narrowly on a more exclusive franchise.
But I do find it interesting that Tomkins, in his trademark self-satisfied manner, observed the other week that Yes had "deservedly lost" the referendum. This implies that the arguments put forward were losing arguments, but of course in one sense they weren't - on a more exclusive franchise, of the sort that the UK government wants to use for the EU referendum, those arguments prevailed decisively. According to Edinburgh University research, 52.7% of the Scottish-born population voted Yes, and only 47.3% voted No.
Tomkins has now taken up employment as a constitutional adviser to the UK government. Can that decision be taken as an endorsement of the plan to deny a vote and a voice to citizens of most EU countries, no matter how long they have lived here and no matter how many roots they have put down? I've heard it suggested that "they can become British citizens if they want to" - which is exactly the sort of ridiculous hoop that Tomkins DIDN'T have to jump through to make his baleful contribution to the independence referendum.
To avoid hypocrisy, perhaps he should say in future that Yes "undeservedly won" the argument last year.