DCSIMG

Political games

It’s ironic that Nicola Sturgeon now accuses the Conservatives of destabilising Scotland’s position in the European Union after Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for a Yes/No referendum on the UK’s continuing membership (your report, 26 January). Her failure to acknowledge that the SNP is simultaneously destabilising Scotland’s position both at EU and UK level is tantamount to deceitfulness.

It’s ironic that Nicola Sturgeon now accuses the Conservatives of destabilising Scotland’s position in the European Union after Prime Minister David Cameron’s call for a Yes/No referendum on the UK’s continuing membership (your report, 26 January). Her failure to acknowledge that the SNP is simultaneously destabilising Scotland’s position both at EU and UK level is tantamount to deceitfulness.

In truth, nationalist fervour within both camps is equally damaging and they are equally culpable of destabilising our chances for economic recovery in the medium to long term.

Our economy requires a focused and sustained approach to ensure stability in our premier markets in association with our best allies within the global community. Undoubtedly, the EU is presently under pressure, but the blame lies squarely with the irresponsible bankers, not with those seeking increased economic integration.

Now we will have the Chattering Classes engaged in further unnecessary distractions relating to constitutional wrangling for the next few years that will be critical for businesses and their employees. Politics should be about the people, not just be used as a playing field for conflict and our elected representatives would be better engaged in helping our economic recovery.

Galen Milne

Dunblane

Stirlingshire

I HAD to laugh at Alex Orr’s letter insisting that an independent Scotland wouldn’t be forced to join the euro.

Is this the same Alex Orr who for the past 15 years has filled The Scotsman’s letters page with his demands that we join the euro forthwith?

I wonder if Mr Orr heard the words of the European affairs minister of his beloved Celtic Tiger nation, when she made it very clear that an independent Scotland would face very difficult negotiations to get into European Union and, I think, signalling we would join the euro would be one of the conditions.

M Smythe

Dalry Road

Edinburgh

I WAS delighted to read Alex Orr’s letter (26 January) on Scotland and the euro. He appears, however, a little confused. Scotland is obliged to join once it has entered ERM II, but as European Union members have found, the EU does allow one to have one’s cake and eat it.

Outside the UK, Scotland would choose either to keep the pound, without any influence over monetary policy, or adopt the euro. The EU is committed to ever closer union and the SNP has yet to grasp the concept of the perils of a two-speed Europe. Key economic decisions are taken in the eurozone core and any non-single currency members will then base their policies on those decisions. Scotland, as a net contributor to the EU, would be excluded from these decisions.

Mr Salmond’s skills at negotiation were shown when he failed to win his backstop option of devo-max in the upcoming referendum. The idea that Scotland can delay adopting key EU policies at a time when it is clear it is heading towards a federal Europe is naive at best.

Jonathan Stanley

Clearburn Crescent

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

Bob MacDougall (letters, 26 January) uses Nicola Sturgeon’s speech in Dublin to belittle the state of the Irish economy.

Last year, the International Monetary Fund published its latest statistics for the relative wealth per head of different countries. They paint a fascinating picture for Ireland and the UK. The figures are based on “purchasing power parity”, which allows us to make a fair comparison between countries, and they show that Ireland is wealthier per head than the UK.

Indeed, at no point in the financial crisis did Ireland drop below the UK. While it boasted a wealth per capita of over £39,000, for the UK it was over £35,000.

For 2012, the IMF estimated Ireland at more than £40,000 per capita and for the UK it was over £36,000. And looking to the year of the referendum, 2014, Ireland will be over £44,000 per capita and the UK over £38,000 per head. For Ireland, the wealth gap in 2010 saw the Irish still 4,148 “current international dollars” ahead of the UK in wealth per head and, according to the IMF, that Irish advantage will increase to 5,348 “dollars” in 2014.

This is not quite what you’d expect from listening to some of the rhetoric of the anti-Scottish independence parties. Perhaps Mr McDougall should go to Ireland, a small, independent country which holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union – and now, it seems, forms an arc of faster recovery.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page