Nationalist sums on independence don’t add up

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PROFESSOR Midwinter’s complaint (Letters, 12 January) of SNP duplicity of course is only one example of many.

We have had the revelation that Scotland pays 9.7 per cent of UK tax (apples) but gets back “only” 9.4 per cent of expenditure (oranges) with not a whiff of a suggestion that the latter on a proper like for like monetary comparison is in fact the greater figure (by about £10 billion).

It is never mentioned that Scotland gets a huge net benefit on green energy subsidies, which very likely will disappear the day after a Yes vote. The energy companies are waking up to this and to the potential effects of fracking on wind energy – witness the ­delay or cancellation of offshore wind projects.

The typical investment cost of a decent job is £100k to £150k (see, for example, the Leith turbine factory report in your Business section, 12 January). The repeated claim that Scotland’s share of Trident could provide many thousands of extra jobs is therefore simply ridiculous – it would barely replace the jobs already there, if indeed jobs could be created.

To dispose of Trident requires independence without Nato membership, whatever the SNP may claim; that is, we would reduce our defence capability to a meaningless level without reducing cost. Independence will also mean direct payment of benefits from the Scottish budget – another likely source of deficit over the current arrangement: North Sea oil revenues would not now cover this.

So why do they make these easily refutable claims? It may be a shrewd tactic. The SNP now, as suggested by a recent Ipsos Mori poll, ­appears to ­appeal more to the lower ­social classes than heretofore – ­exactly those who will ­unquestionably accept any promise of improvement to their lot.

Dr A McCormick, Dumfries

RE YOUR article “Rest of UK fears independence” (News, 12 January). As an Englishman who has a very lively interest in the affairs of the UK, I find myself numbered among those who are very worried about the future defence of the realm if the Scots leave the Union. The “dereliction of duty” which the Westminster government has shown in its failure to raise the issue of the Scottish Government’s proposals to the top of our present parliament’s agenda is of the utmost concern to many.

I object to the destruction of our country without my consent. I have been made a “citizen” of the EU against my will and now object most strongly to not being a “citizen” of the UK also against my will.

What is to be the majority in the referendum? Could this great issue be decided by just a few votes, with no account of turnout, abstentions or spoilt ballot papers?

What about the defence of the realm? In 1708 Queen Anne, on the advice of her ministers, withheld Royal Assent of the Scottish Militia Bill for fear that the proposed militia created would be disloyal. There was also concern that France could pose a threat to the realm through the militia.

Truly, the full implications of this constitutional issue should be brought into the open by parliament, lest the union of our kingdoms is overthrown by a minority vote.

Michael Clark, Birmingham

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