Some interesting points were raised on the independence debate (Letters, 2 January). John Slee contributed a thoughtful piece highlighting the fact that the issues on EU and Nato membership and the use of the pound were essentially short-term and resolvable.
David Roche exposed John Cameron’s vision of the Utopian marriage that is the UK for what it is – a cynical misrepresentation.
And then there were the Unionists. David Allan chooses totally to ignore the central plank of Martin Foreman’s letter and Thomas Burgess’s rebuttal, which was that proponents of independence are basically religious zealots.
He chooses also to ignore the fact that the bust in the UK’s economy in 2008 happened on the Unionists’ watch and elects to conflate the issue with remarks made by Alex Salmond on the potential benefits of independence several years ago which were relevant then, but need now to be set in a historical context.
He also seems unaware that, following independence, Ireland used the pound for a number of years and Scotland could make a similar choice whether the rUK liked it or not.
However, when faced with adding the £50 billion that Scotland contributes to the UK economy to the rUK’s balance of trade deficit, it is likely that rUK will come to an accommodation on monetary union.
However, the prize of the morning must go to Donald Lewis. In a truly mind-boggling piece of effrontery, Mr Lewis quotes Victor Hugo in saying: “Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.” It sums up the “Project Fear” approach of Better Together perfectly.
John Slee states that I have difficulty in assessing the case for independence because I place emphasis on the “short-term” issues of how long it might take to join the EU and what our currency might be.
Firstly, he has misinterpreted my concerns: I am not concerned at all about how long it might take to join the EU. Indeed, I am unsure about whether I want to be a member – but I would like to have a vote on the matter (and I want to see serious diminution of the powers under section 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
What I do question is how the SNP believes it can join the EU and retain the pound (assuming that rUK agrees that we can). Secondly, I disagree vehemently that the currency we would use is a short-term matter.
How could we claim to be any more independent than we are now with either Brussels or Westminster controlling our currency, interest rates and therefore the major levers of our economy?
Dr Slee says, correctly, that how we vote comes down to a choice of alternatives.
It is all very well to quote Austria etc, but he must understand that currency is a very key component of what brought Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus and even Spain and Italy to virtual ruin.
Most of these nations had what they all thought were “competent governments” which negotiated their currency arrangements.
I’m not sure we would fare any better.
David K Allan
Haddington, East Lothian
Michael Kelly, in one of his frequent diatribes against independence (Perspective, 2 January), makes his regular sweeping assertions that an independent Scotland would be denied membership of the EU, Nato, or the sterling area, and can barely prevent himself from asserting that famine and pestilence would stalk the land.
All of this is just the usual parrot squawks of the No campaign, on subjects which numerous experts have said will be easily negotiated in the months after a Yes vote.
However, on his point of the number of teachers having reduced in the past few years, he is absolutely correct, but what he fails to mention is that 100 per cent of the total reduction in Scottish teacher numbers has been carried out by Glasgow City Council, under the auspices of its Labour council, of which Mr Kelly has long been a loyal supporter.
Credit where it is due, Mr Kelly.
In the event of a Yes majority, the delivery of independence will depend on a massive exercise to “Scottify” existing Westminster legislation so that the new country can be run.
Those of us who are net contributors to the public purse, as opposed to enjoying the privilege of pursuing a political agenda at public expense, should be wary of the cost implications of this and other administrative necessities that will attend independence.
And for what real benefit? The “new clothes” the First Minister seeks to persuade us that independent Scotland will wear are invisible to many, and therefore not worth the cost.
R A Wallace
Kincardine on Forth