No place in Scotland for intolerance

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I was astonished to read the letters (28 August) under the banner of “No business leaders not representative”, and the vitriolic comments in “scotsman.com view”, castigating the businessmen who wrote a joint letter to The Scotsman (27 August).

Perhaps they are unprincipled, money-grabbing capitalists; I don’t know them. Nor, I suspect, do any of the correspondents I have referred to. They may actually be nice people.

They do run successful businesses though, the very sort Scotland will need if we separate from the United Kingdom. They are successful businesses which provide employment and taxes. If they see a risk they should be listened to.

One often gets the impression listening to the Yes campaign that independence will somehow create some sort of socialist utopia funded by oil.

Sir Ian Wood’s views on how much oil remains is one worth paying attention to; his estimates were ably supported by Peter Jones (Perspective, 27 August).

The success of Sir Ian’s business has been based on foresight and vision, not wishful thinking.

Many of your correspondents have noted that oil recovery techniques continue to improve, but I am sure that Sir Ian has taken that into account in his estimates.

It is probable that beyond 2030 we will continue to 
produce oil but in small quantities. This is nice to have but not a basis for any economy.

We will need large and successful businesses, the very sort which are now questioning their viability when based in an independent Scotland, where their main markets will lie south of the Border in what will become a foreign country.

No-one doubts the ability, ingenuity and endeavour of Scots to develop successful businesses; it’s been happening for years.

Success depends on many things, though, not the least of which is easy access to potential markets, and doesn’t just happen overnight.

Successful businesses can just as easily be developed within the UK as outside of it, alongside the businesses we already have. Independence is not a prerequisite for that.

Independence may give some people a warm glow but it will hardly keep you warm at night.

John B Gorrie

Craigmount Gardens

Edinburgh

The underlying nastiness in Yes supporter Thomas Burgess’ letter about the views of the No-supporting business leaders concerns me greatly.

If the “fairer” Scotland that the SNP is constantly promising us is going to contain his sort of intolerance of people who do not agree with them, I, and I’m sure most fair-minded people, want no part of it.

Mr Burgess’ bile against the “Tory-connected” and “interfering outsiders with … a toehold in Scotland” is particularly alarming.

The right-of-centre voters in Scotland add up to a large component of the population.

The Nationalists must understand that at the last UK general election in Scotland, they won only 3.2 per cent more of the popular vote than the Tories (for which, by the quirks of the system, the SNP won six seats to the 
Tories’ one).

The current coalition – 
utterly reviled by the SNP/Yes camp – won a combined total of 35.6 per cent of the vote compared with the SNP’s 19.9 per cent.

Again, in the 2014 European Parliament election in Scotland, the SNP obtained a mere 1.3 per cent more of the popular vote than the Conservatives and Ukip combined (in a hugely greater sample than most opinion polls).

I find it reprehensible that Mr Burgess should suggest (as others have done in similar letters) that people supporting Better Together should “pack up and move to China”, or wherever.

His version of an independent Scotland seems to me to be much more like an intolerant one – against a very significant section of the population – than a “fairer” one.

David K Allan

Haddington

East Lothian

I’m sure that Sir Brian Souter, Jim McColl, Sir George Mathewson and Ralph Topping will have been comforted to receive the endorsement of the renowned economics commentator Stuart Smith (Letters, 28 August) that, while they do not qualify in his view as captains of industry, they have been “successful in their own small spheres”.

DOUGLAS TURNER

Derby Street

Edinburgh

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