The attack launched on Alex Salmond by Jim Sillars (your report, 15 February) shows how deep-seated internal SNP wranglings are.
Mr Sillars is unequivocal about the knowledge the front-bench of the current Scottish administration has about its chances of getting the separatist vote passed by the Scottish electorate.
Currently, with its appalling description of opponents as being “anti-Scottish”, the SNP is doing a lot of favours to those of us who stand firm for a continuation of the Union.
Alienating those who want what is best for Scotland, not what is politically expedient for any one party, merely serves to paint the SNP into a corner.
However, the one desperate hope the Nationalists nurture is for under-age schoolchildren to be allowed to vote on separation. This is an unabashed attempt to use the innocent and youthful to help them in their murky constitutional plans. However, as a vote on such a matter is an adult preserve, unless the 16- to 18-year-olds are given the usual perks of adulthood, this will be seen for what it is – political expediency.
An adult has both adult privileges and adult responsibilities. If 16-year-olds are to be given the vote, they must also be allowed other adult “perks”, such as being allowed to purchase alcohol and tobacco. If they are not to be permitted those privileges, then the exercise can be seen to be entirely cynical and aimed at serving only one purpose.
Equally, of course, if 16- to 18-year-olds are to be given the vote, then they must pay council tax like the rest of us, if they are not in full-time education.
That is one of the adult responsibilities that would be an inevitable concomitant of having adulthood thrust upon them. Their council tax bill should arrive at the same time as their voting card. The result the SNP might hope for could be rather different than expected, both from the youthful voters and from the parents who would have to pay the council tax for them.
Andrew HN Gray
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