Some years ago a pre-school grandson asked me why the government did not give £1,000 a week to everyone.
“Then there would be no poor people,” he declared. I was proud of his concern for the poor and tried to explain reality to him.
It was difficult for me to try and gently tell a four-year-old that there are no easy solutions to complex funding and other problems and no giant, magical hole in the wall to solve all the problems of human beings.
I was reminded of this when I read of Alex Salmond’s plans and aspirations for a new written constitution should the people of this country decide to separate and break up the UK (your report, 17 January).
Aspirations are fine. But given the First Minister’s record (consider for example the “Alex Salmond for First Minister” on the voting slip ploy), one can only conclude he hopes that his wish list, pipe dreams and fantasies will be taken as some kind of guarantee.
Fortunately, the First Minister has long passed his sell-by date and an assurance or promise from him tends to arouse, not allay, suspicions.
For those old enough to remember, the major component of the John F Kennedy campaign against Richard Nixon was the photograph of the then jowly and sly-looking vice president and the slogan: “Would you buy a used car from this man?”
Perhaps those opposed to Britain being broken up could do something similar.
New Cut Rigg
It WOULD take bold action indeed to transform Alex Salmond’s vision that Scots would have a constitutional right to a home in an independent Scotland (your report, 17 January) into reality at a time when Scotland is in a housing crisis.
Despite 160,000 people being on housing waiting lists, new households projected to form at an annual rate of 21,000 over the coming years and our population being at its highest ever level, a total of only 15,000 new homes were built in 2011 – a 40 per cent decrease since 2007 and the lowest level since the Second World War.
And, to make matters worse, Scotland’s home-building industry is facing the imposition of additional construction costs of as much as £10,000 per home should new energy standard proposals be implemented – all for a total 0.07 per cent contribution to overall climate change targets.
This would only cripple an already fragile industry and further adversely affect the future delivery of desperately needed warm, sustainable homes – weather for sale or social rent.
The negligible benefit involved simply does not justify the cost to jobs, Scotland’s social well-being or the wider economy.
While we wholeheartedly share the First minister’s view on the fundamental importance of housing, he will need to take some bold, decisive actions and give it the top priority if needs if he is to have any chance of delivering this constitutional pledge.
Homes for Scotland
New Mart Place