I write as a disillusioned observer of proceedings at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament.
Donald Dewar, advocate of the concept of the Scottish Executive, would have been appalled at the behaviour of certain SNP politicians within the debating chamber in today’s parliament.
The Labour leader, Johann Lamont, was completely justified recently, during First Minister’s Questions, when she accused SNP backbenchers of braying when opposition leaders put quite valid questions to Alex Salmond.
She also made the point that most questions asked by SNP members are so well vetted by their leader that they become irrelevant to the debate.
First Minister’s Questions is appallingly awful – Salmond makes every attempt to ridicule, in turn, the points made by the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders. In this ploy he gets full support from the rows of “hyenas” on his back benches.
Also one of these days, John Swinney, in his usual state of misplaced mirth, is quite likely to fall off his chair, which is usually perched precariously on just two legs.
As 2014, the referendum year, approaches, let us reflect on the status quo – what the UK has achieved, and will continue to achieve: stability in an even more complex political and economic scenario; under very difficult circumstances, maintenance of a strong voice in the EU; a continued special relationship with the USA.
So prithee, what will Alex Salmond’s concept of an independent Scotland really achieve? I really do feel that we Scots deserve more than he is capable of providing.
Just some of the pitfalls of his policies/assertions are obvious: Scotland would certainly have to apply to join the EU, and join the queue; if Scotland, as a new state, did gain entry eventually, it would require to adopt the euro; how effective would Scotland be within Nato? (its much reduced level of armed forces and weaponry might be unacceptable to other members); as would the SNP’s rejection of the established Faslane submarine base.
Then, of course, terms would have to be negotiated with the Bank of England – perhaps more difficult if Scotland is admitted to the EU and has to accept the euro as its currency.
So think carefully, fellow Scots, before casting your vote in the Scottish referendum.
If you make the wrong choice then you and your family might regret it forever.
Robert I G Scott
I am not an expert on international law, unlike the respected professors James Crawford and Alan Boyle of Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, who have provided legal advice to the UK Government on the legal implications of Scottish independence (your report, 11 February), but there appears to me to be a fundamental misconception of the position of the two countries, England and Scotland.
The Treaty of Union 1707 was an agreement between two sovereign independent states to form a political union. If Scotland elects to secede from that union, then the two countries, Scotland and England, revert to being two separate countries.
England would not continue to be the “rest of the UK”, as that entity would not exist. Wales and Northern Ireland are part of the English state by military conquest. There would be no question of a “continuing state”, as England and Scotland would be newly restored independent states.
The examples quoted of new states are quite different from the position of England and Scotland, being mainly the result of the break up of empires.
Interestingly, the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, on becoming independent of the USSR in 1991, were admitted to the United Nations without any question.
George I M Chapman