POLITICS, eh? There’s so much of it in Scotland. Too much of it, many would say.

I appreciate that most people are sick and tired of the endless twists and turns in politics, and just wish this was over. But as a political nerd, and someone who has followed British politics for a little while now, I find all of this very exciting. I couldn’t be here in 2015 and 2017 because I found a job in Paris.

But this year, for the first time in my life, I get to experience a General Election campaign on this side of the Channel. And what a campaign, what extraordinary times!

It feels very exotic: the rosettes candidates wear, your voting system, a late autumn/early winter campaign ...

Perhaps the strangest thing is to follow an election so closely and not having the right to take part in it.

As a French citizen, and like all EU citizens, I get to vote in Scottish council and Scottish Parliament elections, but I don’t get a vote in the UK parliamentary elections. That would require me to apply for British citizenship, which is not something I am considering just now.

In France, as well as in the rest of the European Union, EU nationals too have a right to vote in local elections. If this is your case, please remember to go to the polls on March 15 and 22 for the French municipal elections!

Being a true external observer means I could decide to make the most of my situation by having the luxury not to have to make up my mind by December 12. I know a lot of people who, for the first time in their lives, have to think very carefully about their vote.

They plan to vote tactically, hold their nose and go for what they think is the least worst option, with the biggest chance to win, because first past the post doesn’t give them a choice.

I understand how it feels. In France, the threat of the far-right in pretty much every election in the 21st century forces those who believe in the Republic’s motto – Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite – right-wing or left-wing, to sometimes vote for someone they would never normally consider ... or at least, when they don’t think they have the luxury to care about their ideological purity.

However, I believe that not having a vote doesn’t exempt me from being an engaged citizen. After all, this election is about me and my fellow EU nationals, too.

As millions of EU citizens, sometimes after spending all their lives in the UK, are concerned about their future, we need to understand the positions of each and every party representing Scotland, as we are going to be affected by decisions taken by our politicians like the rest of the population.

It is true that this is not just a Brexit election. It is an election about so many issues, not just constitutional – the future of the NHS, inequalities and poverty, the climate crisis. But, of course, the elephant in the room is Brexit and where the country can go from here.

What about the freedom of movement, that has allowed me to come, live and work here as easily as if I had decided to move anywhere else in the EU? Do we want a second referendum or to revoke Article 50 altogether?

Or do we want to “get Brexit done” with Boris Johnson’s deal, or “get Brexit sorted” with a deal negotiated by Jeremy Corbyn followed by another referendum?

From what I understand from meeting candidates from all the main parties in Scotland, the common ground in this campaign is this sense that this Brexit debate needs to reach a conclusion, whether it is by going through with it regardless of consequences, just stopping it, or by giving Scotland an opportunity to have a say about its place in the UK and in the EU.

TO be honest, they all make a lot of sense, in their own way. I personally share this feeling of Brexit fatigue, all the more since depending on how this goes, my life could change entirely.

I just wish I had a bit more certainty about my future rights. And most EU nationals I know would agree that this never-ending, relentless Brexit process is mentally exhausting.

The future UK Government will decide which direction to take the country with immigration, and this is a massive reason why, as EU citizens, we should follow these elections closely. But there is another reason, which is perhaps more important.

Scotland is our country too. If you have chosen to come and live here, then you have a right to care too.

I feel we need to have this conversation now, as there could, possibly, be another Scottish independence referendum next year, if Nicola Sturgeon’s plans materialise.

I remember, in 2014, after travelling back and forth to Scotland in the run-up to the referendum, having this discussion with a friend of mine, French, who had lived in Edinburgh for a while. He was pondering about his vote and wondering if he should take part at all, even if EU citizens were given the right to vote.

“After all, I’m not Scottish,” he said. I didn’t know what to tell him at the time, except that if you are given the right to vote by a country, it means you are more than welcome to participate in democracy.

It means the country is saying it’s about you too, and you need to accept the responsibilities that come with being an active citizen.

At The National’s pro-independence rally in Glasgow last week, I met briefly with Jeane Freeman, the Scottish

Cabinet Secretary for Health, and I asked her: “What do you say to EU nationals who are not sure they should take part in a vote here in Scotland?”

She told me: “You are as Scottish a citizen as I am, born and bred here. Stay, vote, and help us get independence.”

We didn’t discuss my views about independence, of course, as I was there in a professional capacity, but I thought she was absolutely right.

What matters is less where you come from and more how we want to advance as a society.

I might hold a different passport than the majority of people in Scotland, but in the end, I too want a society that is fair, open and gives the same opportunity to everyone, irrespective of their class, race and beliefs.

Regardless of your views, especially in these times when we are compelled to think about what belonging means in practise, none of us can afford not to care.

I am not saying that because we are immigrants we need to be more active, more engaged and more thankful for what Scotland has to offer.

I think every citizen, with or without a British passport, should be thankful for that. Many are contributing to politics already, in various parties including the SNP, with the likes of MEP Christian Allard.

What I can say is that my personal sense of belonging comes from the warm welcome I have received here, the friendships I have forged, the opportunities I have been offered and the knowledge that my views count as much as any native Scottish person’s views.

Soon the views of all citizens residing legally in Scotland – irrespective of their nationality – will count too, as the Scottish Parliament is examining the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill.

It would give anyone granted asylum or a visa in Scotland the right to vote in Scotland’s Holyrood and council elections.

That means non-EU citizens and refugees will soon be able to cast their ballots as the normal citizens they are. For that, I am thankful.