David K Allan (Letters, 26 December) posed the interesting question of whether an independent Scotland would have a “fully elected upper house”.
One of the reasons supporters of a Yes vote are excited about the prospects of independence is that it will present opportunities to do many things differently, and hopefully better.
Devolution brought proportional representation to Scotland and most would judge this to have been a success for democracy with even the claim that it could not deliver strong government through an outright majority for any single party proving groundless.
The options for an elected “revising chamber” are many, but what may prove most popular might be a system that offers the majority of the general public, who are not members of any political party, the chance to put their names forward.
The process could facilitate direct submission via the internet, with agreed screening via an independent body, or submission through a “constituency” to be represented by geography/location such as “The Islands”, or by profession/work such as “Nursing”, or by “Faith” and/or other groupings as devised by an appropriate government commission to complete a representative matrix of national character.
Voting could also be conducted online, with elected terms limited or perhaps extended depending on attendance and participation.
No doubt many more creative ideas will be forthcoming once people finally accept it is time to end that anachronism that is an anathema to democracy, the House of Lords.
i am grateful to Messrs Grodynski, Turner and Beck for their responses (Letters, 27 December) to my earlier letter, in which I asked for answers to some fundamental questions to enable the Scottish electorate to make an informed decision in next September’s crucial referendum.
Their letters illustrate exactly what I say about the vital issues of currency, EU and Nato membership, Scotland’s borders and our potential constitution: nothing is clear.
Mr Turner basically tells us that the issues are resolved, Mr Grodynski agrees that they are not resolved but will be, post-referendum (well, they would have to be, wouldn’t they – but how?) and S Beck’s position is that the UK government is not fighting fair by refusing to negotiate before the vote but we should vote Yes and trust the Scottish Government to negotiate everything successfully. Aye, right.
Mr Turner chooses to rather personalise the argument by saying that I “have not bothered to keep up to speed with the debate”.
I believe that I am as informed as any lay person and simply do not agree with him that the issues are resolved: the views of his “Scotsman commentators” are just that – views and opinions.
Moreover, the views of those who matter, such as Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Labour Leader Ed Miliband, president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy do not coincide with many of those of Mr Turner.
Finally, Mr Turner tells us that with a Yes vote, we would keep the pound and avoid the euro, while remaining in the EU and Nato, still have the monarchy and would not have a formal border with rUK. A No vote will guarantee all of these.
David K Allan
Haddington, East Lothian
Having read and wholeheartedly agreed with David Allan’s letter, I could hardly wait to see Friday’s letters page (27 December). Messrs Grodynski and Turner didn’t let me down with their usual party line of doctrinal, blinkered beliefs forged on planet Nat.
I got a jolly good laugh when Mr Turner accused Mr Allan of having already made up his mind on the referendum issue.
Is Mr Turner seriously expecting readers to believe that he himself retains an open mind and still remains to be convinced on the matter of independence? I think I just saw a pig fly past my study window.
I thought Mr Beck (Letters, same day) made an excellent point when he wrote that following a Yes vote, the negotiating status of the Scottish Government would be transformed. I agree.
The negotiating status would be weakened to a virtually impotent level.
Why, following a Yes vote with the die cast, would the UK government feel obliged to concede much to a Scottish Government that has taken every opportunity to heap bile and vitriol upon it?
To vote Yes without clarification on several important issues is like signing a blank cheque.
Sure, this referendum should be seen as a mandate for negotiations, and there should then be a second vote after we see the results of those discussions.