Credit to Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 20 June) for lifting her eyes upwards from the squabbles in the run-up to the referendum and highlighting yet more analysis showing that the world’s happiest countries are the small independent nations that surround Scotland.
Another report released within the past few days is worth considering.
In a week when the consequences of Tony Blair’s calamitous foreign policy in Iraq truly came home to roost, and when our current Prime Minister warned that the UK is a prime target for terrorism (we’ve heard that one before), the Institute for Economics and Peace published its annual Global Peace Index.
According to this analysis, the world’s most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland and Finland. Scotland’s other neighbours – Norway, Sweden and Ireland – are also highly placed.
The UK trails behind in a distant (and relatively dangerous) 47th place.
Independence would not necessarily propel us to a position of immediate security, but it seems clear that being part of the UK does us no favours in terms of living in a secure and peaceful society.
Should we not spend much of the next three months asking what our small, independent neighbours do differently; why they are not only more prosperous but also more equal, happier and safer? In considering how 18 September might change our lives, these seem to me like the most important questions of all.
Joyce McMillan complains about the current austerity in the UK, failing to point out that this could be nothing compared with the austerity that could happen in an independent Scotland.
The case for independence boils down to the high price of oil; if there was a collapse of this price (perfectly possible, it happened in the 1990s, and who knows what will happen in ten, 20 years’ time), we would be in serious trouble.
Oil is the bedrock of independence, and it would be a house built on sand.
Bo’ness, West Lothian
Once more our attention is drawn, this time by John Gorrie (Letters, 20 June), to the SNP’s frequent use of “tiresome statements” having “no basis in fact”.
What I take to be a matter of even more regret is when a columnist of Joyce McMillan’s standing feels it necessary to resort to not entirely dissimilar tactics.
She makes two statements which have little foundation in fact – “the SNP … increasingly positions itself as a bulwark against Westminster’s neoliberal consensus” and “people, it seems, do not mind paying high taxes so long as they see a good return for their money in terms of public services and social solidarity”.
The latter may be the case in Scandinavia, the history and traditions of which have been entirely different from ours, but there is no evidence for it being so in Scotland.
The facts ranging from the freeze in council tax to the disappointing lack of outrage on the part of Scottish voters over the failure of the SNP government to take advantage of the additional tax-raising powers available to it have been referred to time and time again in your letters pages.