Debunking myths on both sides of debate

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John Shields (Letters, 31 May) makes a very valid point that what Scotland needs is autonomy – “control over one’s own affairs” – rather than independence.

He cites many relevant situations but I am sorry to say that, in each, the situation is correct but the conclusion is wrong.

First, independent action: if rUK, the rest of Europe and even the world wants to start a war, Scotland can be independent.

Like Switzerland in the Second World War, Scotland could refuse to be drawn in and remain neutral.

Second, the Bank of England: if there was Scottish representation, it was ineffective. I don’t believe that the Bank of England even thinks about Scotland in its deliberations so we would not be any worse off with independence.

Third, taxation: an independent Scotland could develop a far fairer system with the tax burden being much more fairly spread so that the tax burden is carried according to income.

At present under the UK tax system, the very wealthy keep getting wealthier and the poor get poorer.

Fourth, energy: Scotland does have the potential for large renewable energy production. Does anyone really believe that rUK would not purchase it? Germany and many other countries in Europe are prepared to purchase gas from Russia, which is a far less comfortable neighbour than an independent Scotland would be for rUK.

Fifth, monetary policy: I hope an independent Scotland would abandon the current neo-American capitalism policy which is based on individual success and short term gains, with everything being privatised.

Since its widespread introduction in the 1980s, per capita income has fallen throughout most of the world. It resulted in the financial crash in 2008.

Austerity has been imposed on the poor but the bankers who caused the crash are still getting pay packages in millions plus bonuses.

An independent Scotland could do what Korea and Taiwan did: they bucked the trend of falling per capita income by discarding neo-American capitalism and relying on public investment and industrial policies such as directed credit, trade protection, export subsidisation etc.

Sixth, membership of the EU and UN Security Council where the UK can promote the interests of Scotland: I am not sure that the UK is a powerful member of either.

Under the UK, Scotland’s needs are always subordinate to, and often sacrificed for, those of rUK.

An independent Scotland would have a much better chance of having its opinions heard and its needs considered.

If Ukip has its way, rUK may no longer be a member of EU after England’s referendum, and may need Scotland to promote its needs in Europe.

I don’t think many Scots actually feel that membership of the Security Council is vital. Many other countries are quite happy without it.

I would suggest that if Mr Shields really has the interests of Scotland at heart, he should vote Yes in September.

(Dr) E L Lloyd

Belgrave Road


I was listening to the chief executive of Yes Scotland being interviewed on Radio 4 on Sunday night.

He seemed to suggest that in the debate on separation, matters concerning the economy and identity, while being of importance, were not fundamental.

The one overriding issue was that of the different values held by those living north and south of the Border. 

Go where you will in this small island: visit Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Doncaster, Bristol, call in on Cardiff, and you will find, I think, a universal belief in freedom and equality before the law. Myth has its place but not in a debate of this importance.

Gordon Biggart

Inverleith Row


The rather unseemly Dutch auction over what additional powers the Scottish Parliament should have if Scotland rejects independence continues with the latest offering, courtesy of the Scottish Conservatives.

The Tories have finally been brought kicking and screaming to the table, and with the Strathclyde Commission proposals Scotland would be given full income tax powers, which would see the Scottish Parliament accountable for 40 per cent of the money it spends.

This represents a rather unseemly change in tack for Ruth Davidson, who stood for the Conservative leadership in 2011 under a banner of the current devolution settlement being “a line in the sand”.

And this, of course, follows on from the Conservatives standing resolutely against devolution in the 1997 referendum which established the Scottish Parliament.

In 1979 the Tories urged a No vote in the devolution referendum, with the promise of “better” devolution to follow.

All we got instead was Margaret Thatcher and 18 years of Tory governments. The credibility of these Tory proposals is therefore highly questionable given their track record, and it would be more than a little foolish for Scots to trust them now.


Leamington Terrace


AS AN immediate reaction (ie without any thought) to the Conservatives’ devolution commission, the SNP is quoted as saying: “The Tories cannot be trusted to deliver anything.”

I know that the SNP is desperately trying to convince a sceptical electorate that it is 100 per cent right on any and every issue.

But to counter with a statement that implies the potential government of its nearest neighbour and biggest market (not to mention owner of everything the SNP would wish us to share) is 0 per cent untrustworthy is sheer arrogance at best, and a disgraceful display of diplomacy at worst.

What level of support, or interest even, does the SNP expect from a potential Westminster government that it cannot trust?

Ken Currie

Liberton Drive