No limits to question of autonomy

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When I read Gregor Gall’s reflections on SNP prospects after a No vote in next year’s referendum (Perspective, 10 October), I was reminded of Sinn Fein’s Arthur Griffith’s statement about the Irish Peace Treaty in December 1921.

In an attempt to placate criticisms of the deal from his own supporters he made a salient point: “It will be no more a final settlement of the Irish question than we are the final generation on the face of the Earth.”

It was an excellent point to make. In a democracy, we cannot say to a future generation that there are limits to how the question of Scottish autonomy should be pursued. Voters north of the Border are posing interesting questions for those absorbed by the constitutional issue.

The main one is the contrast between the popularity of the SNP government and the political trough into which the Yes campaign appears to have fallen. A No vote may well be followed by two things: a period of political gloating from the supporters of the Union, and token gestures towards more devolution – the equivalent of throwing down crumbs to those who appear to have lost the argument for independence.

Both could create a climate where the popularity of SNP government increases, together with more street campaigning for the referendum issue to be revived.

Professor Gall has highlighted how all this could affect the outcome of the Westminster election in 2015 and the Holyrood election in 2016. The results of both may well determine whether we shall be voting again on autonomy for Scotland in the next ten years.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

With the news that the much-vaunted “oil fund” paid for from the profits of North Sea oil is not likely to be the straightforward prospect painted by the SNP, yet another wheel falls off its referendum bandwagon.

The latest figures reveal that only once in the past 22 years has there been a surplus from oil revenues, so any money to go into any hypothetical fund would have to come from cuts in public spending or by borrowing money or both.

However, this is absolutely typical of the shameless and populist propaganda put out by the SNP in its quest for votes at any cost.

The fact is that almost every other measure it has put in place so far and is currently free, especially relating to welfare, will eventually have to be paid for one way or another, but that would be after independence when it would be too late to do anything about it.

In fact, should the SNP lose the referendum (as seems likely) charges will have to be applied anyway because the welfare bill is unsustainable as it is and who gets the blame then?

So why not finally let us have some honesty, Mr Salmond, and allow the voters to make a balanced choice? For it seems, as the months roll by, the rhetoric and assurances from that quarter are becoming increasingly desperate and empty.

Brian Allan

Keith Street

Kincardine-on-Forth

We all seem to get the “West” question that we prefer – Lothian or -minster. The latter looms larger as the new Secretary of State for Scotland says he will consider separation of Orkney and Shetland from Scotland if appropriate (your report, 10 October).

Partition may not have led to Ireland or Cyprus living happily ever after but it did show that the UK still had clout.

I suppose that Mr Carmichael’s remarks indicate a desire to contribute to the legacy of deep divisions that he sees possibly flowing from the referendum and its outcome.

I am only glad that our Scottish differences of opinion stay away from the bitterness he envisages.

LV McEwan

Kirkhill Road

Edinburgh

Alistair “Bruiser” Carmichael attacks the Better Together campaign for being dull and lacking passion.

I wholeheartedly agree but poor Alistair Darling, captain of the Better Together team, must wonder what’s hit him, when a star substitute scores such a spectacular own goal with his first kick of the ball.

Dennis Canavan

Sauchieburn

Bannockburn

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