Down but not out – don’t write off Yes camp

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TO PARAPHRASE Robert Burns, Alexander McKay is “a chiel that winna ding”. I refer to his letter in Scotland on Sunday on 25 August – just the latest salvo in Mr McKay’s ongoing campaign against the SNP.

In it he predicts – with a disturbing note of intemperate (and surely premature) triumphalism – a crushing defeat for the Yes camp in 2014 because “the vast majority… want [Scotland] to remain part of the UK”.

Admittedly the two-thirds at present in favour of the status quo constitute considerable odds. But it is a hardly a “vast majority” and it is by no means irreversible.

I am at a loss to understand where the intensity of Mr McKay’s hostility comes from. Self-determination is surely an entirely honourable (and natural) goal for any nation to pursue. As Paul Scott perceptively observed, countries thrive when they gain control of their own affairs, decline when they lose it.

I have a theory that in 1513, Scotland had the stuffing knocked out of it at Flodden. Prior to that traumatic defeat, the Scots possessed confidence and self-belief in spades – qualities that we have been regaining only slowly, since. But of recent years, the pace has begun to accelerate. Sufficiently to bring about a vote for independence next year? It could happen.

Ross Laidlaw, Dunbar

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