Devolution is a safer way forward

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Alex Orr (Letters, 18 June) should have spelled out what are the “full economic, social and other key powers that independence brings”.

Nebulous words again, like the refrain that a “fairer, more equal society” will result from separation without spelling out whose assets will be redistributed, or that “we” will have the society that “we” want (meaning what the SNP activists want).

Advocating voting for the “other key powers” is particularly choice; voters would be heading completely into the unknown.

Where is the hard factual content? As for not trusting the No campaign’s progressive further devolution proposals which are on the way, and which of course do need further fleshing out, they are far more trustworthy than the uncosted broad-brush stuff in the SNP’s manifesto Scotland’s Future and its later embellishments.

Scotland can go it alone apparently relatively successfully, all agree, but the long-term future better rests on continuing in the Union with its greater global reach and influence.

Scotland’s not-at-all-bad devolved education, legal, health and transport have all flourished in the context of the UK, and there is no reason why that will change, even if the Barnett distribution is reduced somewhat as the country starts to collect taxes itself and is thus more self-sufficient (£12 billion 
fiscal deficit and all).

Joe Darby

Dingwall

Ross-shire

Ben Thomson (Letters, 18 June) and Alex Orr make interesting comments on the “guarantee” of further powers for Holyrood given by the leaders of the unionist parties.

The point I would make is that these Scottish politicians are in no position to offer any guarantee on devolution.

Any changes will be decided by the Westminster Parliament after the 2015 general election. However, it is then made up, I doubt if further tweaking of Holyrood’s 
powers, after the dragon “independence” has been slain by a No vote, will be high on the agenda.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive

Edinburgh

Alex Orr infers that Margaret Thatcher was some sort of monster. I was no great fan of the Iron Lady, and her community charge was a disaster. It was unfair and almost impossible to collect.

It was only introduced early in Scotland as the Scottish Conservatives panicked when they saw the results of the revaluation figures for the rating system.

Maggie Thatcher is blamed for the destruction of the Scottish industrial base but this would almost certainly have happened anyway due to poor management and union resistance to change. The shipyards and the steel works were in the wrong place.

Some European countries preserved their heavy industries for a while but only with huge subsidies and not forever. We have a thriving car industry in Britain now but it is all foreign-owned; with good management the British workforce can deliver the goods.

Germany has many medium-sized high-tech firms. We have some but not enough. It is too easy to blame all our industrial problems on poor old Maggie Thatcher.

Hugh M Mackenzie

Bonnethill Road

Pitlochry

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