David Torrance (Perspective, 6 February) quotes me, accurately, saying that if the Scottish people vote No in the forthcoming referendum, it is, in my view, certain that Scotland will continue to get Westminster governments we didn’t vote for.
Curiously, though, his article is an attempt to debunk “the myth” that Scotland does not get the governments it favours at general elections.
Mr Torrance states, again accurately, that of the 18 general elections since the end of the Second World War, Scotland “actually got the government it voted for more often than not, on 11 out of 18 occasions”.
Simple arithmetic, therefore, shows that in seven of those elections, Scotland did not get the government it favoured at the ballot box.
Anybody, like me, who is old enough to have been eligible to vote in the eight general elections since 1979 will also know that, on five of those occasions, Scotland did not get the government it voted for.
But perhaps my point is better illustrated by stating that if Scotland votes Yes in the independence referendum, we will always get the government we vote for.
David Torrance shows that, at general elections measured by seats won, Scotland got what it voted for 11 out of 18 times since 1945.
However, if we measure it by the winner of the popular vote on the day, then Scotland actually got what it voted for 12 out of 18 times.
For example, at the 1959 election, after which the Conservatives formed a government, their candidates in Scotland took 47.2 per cent of the popular vote against Labour’s 46.7 per cent, albeit attaining only 31 MPs to Labour’s 38.
In 1951, the Conservatives also won the popular vote in Scotland but tied with Labour for seats won.
Measured by the popular vote, 12 out of 18 is also the same number of times England got what it voted for.
Both Karen Burchill and David Garvie (Letters, 4 and 6 February) are clearly of the opinion that there will be an excitement about Scotland if a vote to break up the UK succeeds. Ms Burchill thinks that “a general feeling of optimism and satisfaction would engulf us all”.
Maybe, once all the middle classes, professionals and business people have sold up and left.
David Garvie thinks that a win for the Better Together campaign would be an “embarrassment internationally” because he thinks that Scotland would be “the only country in recorded history to have had the chance of independence” and to have rejected it in favour of “dependency”.
Has Mr Garvie not heard of the two referendums in Quebec, both of which were rejected in favour of the continuation of the Canadian nation? Just as most Québécois chose to retain their union with English-speaking (and native) Canadians, Scots will vote with their hearts and their heads, not simply the former, to retain our Union.
Why? It is a simple matter. It is because it is our Union. Unlike Mr Garvie’s claim that it makes Scotland dependent, it does the very reverse. It stands for interdependence among us all in the UK.
It gives Scotland a place in the world that we would lose if we split from our friends and family in England and from the rest of the UK. And, for what? So that Alex Salmond can strut upon the world stage? He does it already and embarrassment is hardly the word for it.
Andrew HN Gray
Now that the question to be asked in next year’s independence referendum is known, can we assume the result will have consequences whichever way we vote?
For example, if the people of Scotland vote No, presumably the governing bodies of major international sports such as rugby, soccer and curling will no longer allow Scottish “national” teams to be entered in world and European championships.
I suspect that many of us might worry more about losing our status with Fifa than losing our place in the EU (not that the latter is likely to happen).
James D Brown
NOW that we are into 2013, can we please hear less from our armchair constitutional lawyers and accept that, at its heart, the European Union is a political one and, as such, Scotland’s reapplication will be pragmatically judged on its merits? A favourable hearing will no doubt be given in due course but it will be on existing members’ terms.
A more interesting debate can now commence around the currency of choice. My vote goes to the Scottish groat. I would envisage this could be masterminded by Mike Russell under the title “Currency For Excellence”.
There is an intellectual honesty to this idea in allowing the widest possible control of our economic outcomes and it should be embraced by those who sincerely wish for a radical left-of-centre outcome under Scottish independence.
It would have to be pegged to the US dollar, because our major source of wealth is dollar denominated, in order to retain credibility in world markets. But I do not expect this policy to be adopted by the SNP any time soon.
Paul F Galloway
House O’Hill Gardens