Your story on the falling support for independence (9 October) makes very disappointing reading for those of us who believe the great prize is now within our grasp.
While many political commentators may argue that the London Olympics are a main cause, there must be other factors to explain such a plunge in support.
The road to independence requires a considerable degree of public confidence in the leadership of the independence party. It is in this respect that the SNP leadership has failed and is now paying an awesome price.
Its almost contemptuous dismissal of the results of it own consultation process on same-sex relationships has profoundly damaged public confidence and trust.
This is particularly true in and around Glasgow, where the SNP’s altercation with the Catholic Church is most deeply felt and, as your report indicates, support for independence has now plunged to almost derisory levels.
The leadership of the SNP has the ability to correct this situation. Only time will tell if it has the courage.
David Stevenson is, I believe, of a medical background, but clearly he is no historian. He waxes apoplectic in his letter (9 October) at the Union of the Parliaments which he declines to regard as a marriage of two nations and blames “the bribery, lies and threats of force involved in securing the 1707 Union”.
Now, much has been made of these points, which are, of course, part of the rich history of Nationalist misinformation with which I was brought up.
Robert Burns is guilty of the “English gold” accusation. Yet Prof Smout, Emeritus Professor of Scottish History at St Andrews University, says, of this point of bribery, that “it never has been” proved – and who would know better? – but it persists in the minds of those who would make of the Union something it never was.
Democracy as we know it did not exist in those days any more than the standards of ethics to which we now subscribe. It was, however, the most amazing and mutually beneficial agreement that any two independent nations at that time had ever made to join forces and it was made by those in power at the time who were no more representative of Scotland’s people than Dr Stevenson is now.
Marriages occur for a variety of reasons, not all for love, but often for security, companionship, shared values and the propagation of healthier, happier progeny than would otherwise be the case. In that, I doubt that even cynical Dr Stevenson would beg to differ that the consequences of the Union of Parliaments were infinitely better than the centuries of bloodshed which preceded it.
Andrew HN Gray
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