Artful dodge

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Jonathan Gordon (Letters, 6 May) is right in saying that David Cameron is involving himself in the referendum. I wish he wouldn’t.

His interventions are no more welcome than Alex Salmond’s pronouncements on his day-trips to London and elsewhere.

As for televised debates, these are an aspect of the “Americanisation” of politics in the UK which has done nothing to enhance the process. But if in a general election campaign Mr Cameron, Nick Clegg et al feel they must debate on TV then they have earned the right to do so because they have been elected by the party they will represent in the debate.

The key point of The Scotsman editorial (5 May) was the obvious one that a referendum is not an election. It should not therefore be presented as a choice between the SNP and the Tories or – as the SNP tries to make out – as a choice between Scotland and Tory England.

Indeed, we are constantly being told that the Yes campaign is not a political party but a cross-party organisation. The No campaign is by necessity a cross-party organisation.

Clearly, therefore, it is the leaders – the chairmen presumably – of the respective organisations who should debate on television if they must. Representing the supposed cross-party consensus would be difficult but they have the “mandate” to do so because they have been chosen by their respective organisations.

The reality, of course, is that it is the SNP that is running the Yes campaign but is trying to create the illusion of a unified “vision” of independence.

And that is why it would not allow the Yes campaign’s Dennis Canavan to debate with No campaign leader Alistair Darling.

Take one possible topic – currency. Canavan: “I don’t want the pound.” Darling: “OK, next topic.” I think a more protracted debate would be likely between Cameron and Salmond on the alleged SNP choice of currency.

But regardless of who took part, surely decisions about the future of a country should not be swayed because one or other participant in a debate is more artful than the other.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue