The No Campaign’s press conference on Monday emphasised that its expert opinion concluded that the UK would continue as an existing state, holding on to all the benefits, and that Scotland would have to be created as a new state, with all the disadvantages that this could bring.
The media followed this line in their reporting. It now appears (your report, 12 February) that the expert opinion offered three scenarios, not one.
The second was that two new states would be formed, and the third was that Scotland would be resurrected as the state that existed before 1707. Why were these options hidden? It is clear that the Westminster government would prefer the first option.
It may profess great respect for Scotland, and a strong desire for us to remain in the Union; but as soon as the status quo is threatened it will try to take all the benefits for itself and positively work to make things difficult for Scotland.
Those who are timorous about voting Yes, and are hoping for a form of devo-plus following a No vote, should realise that once England has seen off the threat of independence the devolutionary process will come to a shuddering halt.
Westminster will continue to work and legislate for the majority, English, voter. We have been warned!
Newbattle Abbey Crescent
As Scottish Secretary Michael Moore proclaims the benefits to Scotland of staying in the UK with the launch in the first of a series of UK government information reports, one has to ask some fundamental questions: is anyone naïve enough to believe that significant information which undermines this proposition will not be withheld if possible, especially given the UK government’s non-disclosure of the true status of North Sea oil reserves prior to the referendum on devolution?
If unsure, is the UK Government’s reluctance to seek clarification from the EU on Scotland’s possible position in the event of a positive vote in the referendum not at odds with any sincere desire that the Scottish people base their decision on facts, not fiction?
Does anyone actually believe that those parties, which so recently endorsed the recommendations of the Calman Commission as being a great deal for Scotland (with some Tories expressing the view that perhaps devolution had gone too far), will immediately work together after a negative vote in the referendum to deliver substantially increased powers for Scotland (“devo-Moore”), whatever the result of the UK elections in 2015 and whatever is contained in their manifestos?
Those with short memories should note that these same parties unashamedly reneged on key promises such as reform of the House of Lords and a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
Has anyone such little understanding of basic economics and politics that they think that whatever benefits Scotland would still derive as a member of a Union whose influence around the world has dramatically declined would come without paying a considerable price for sustaining the bureaucracy around an increasingly redundant Westminster parliament, never mind the social cost of further governments pursuing policies not in tune with the wishes of the people of Scotland?
Hopefully now that we are entering a period of more serious debate on Scotland’s independence that will determine the prospects we bequeath future generations, more people will make the effort to look objectively beneath the surface of what is presented by the UK Government and a media predominantly committed to the constitutional status quo.
It is not merely to “avoid the wrath of the financial markets’ that an independent Scotland will have to impose strict limits on spending”, it is what economic reality demands both for Scotland and for the rest of the UK.
No individual can continue to spend more than he or she earns and no government can continue to spend more than it raises through taxation with impunity and the idea that governments can overspend with no adverse effect is one of the most disastrous of modern times.
Taking independent evidence (on statehood post-independence) is described by Nicola Sturgeon as “breathtaking arrogance”. I would call it informing the voter. The SNP should welcome best advice and try to offer some of its own, rather than trying to kid us that it has the real answer to everything.
One wonders if a Westminster mathematics professor stated that one plus one equalled two the SNP would accuse him of breathtaking arrogance.
Surely it does not come as a surprise that there would be problems in sharing security between Britain and an independent Scotland in the event of us breaking away (your report, 11 February).
It is not confined to Westminster for there to be doubts about the credibility of the Holyrood Executive. Fragmentation of our islands would inevitably make security more difficult.
Our First Minister specialises in giving an answer which reassures his listeners irrespective of whether the answer is factually correct.
He also shows disrespect to the electorate when he answers questions in the parliament. He focuses instead on poking fun at opposition parties and entertaining his own MSPs.
Furthermore, the civil service in Scotland has become increasingly politicised to a degree that it has never become at Westminster except perhaps during wartime.
Whatever the outcome of the referendum there will need to be constitutional amendments imposed on Holyrood to protect our democracy.
Westminster has checks and balances which appear to be absent when we have a majority administration which dominates all committees.