In his attack on Nicola Sturgeon, Brian Monteith (Perspective, 3 November) confirms that the Conservatives are still out of touch with the aspirations of people throughout Scotland by equating individual islands and cities with our country.
His view that Scottish voters could favour leaving the European Union would also seem at odds with the latest opinion poll indicating that only 28 per cent wish to exit, compared with 49 per cent of rUK voters.
Even more questionable is Mr Monteith’s claim that the “costs” of EU membership outweigh the benefits, especially in comparison with the relative costs/ benefits of Scotland remaining in the UK.
While most would accept the desirability of reducing bureaucracy, many would disagree that job prospects across the UK would be improved should we leave the EU.
However, a simple examination of the ongoing financial costs of membership of these two “clubs”, by employing the HMRC tax expenditure breakdown trumpeted by Chancellor George Osborne, suggests that Scotland derives greater “value for money” from the EU than from the UK. From a tax payment of £5,702 assessed against £25,200 of example income, only £28 (0.5 per cent) effectively goes to Brussels, while £125 (2.2 per cent) goes to Westminster for UK Government administration, £329 (5.8 per cent) for UK infrastructure, agriculture and industry, £363 (6.4 per cent) for UK debt payments and £227 (4.0 per cent) for “other” UK expenditures.
In fact, with many “infrastructure costs” effectively hidden in the welfare, health, education and defence figures, the total ongoing “UK membership cost” to this “mock tax payer” is probably close to 25 per cent (£1,425) of his/her tax, which is more than 50 times the “EU membership cost”.
Perhaps, regrettably for Mr Monteith, an increasingly politically aware Scottish public are becoming more informed about the “true costs” of membership of the UK.
In his latest “Small is beautiful” letter (5 November) Alex Orr quotes the Legatum Prosperity Index and points out that the index is topped by the small independent countries of Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand, and that if only Scotland had the right powers we would be high in this league table.
Of course, the one overriding power that these countries have is that they are not members of the EU and they can be run without unnecessary interference from an out-of-control organisation that certainly doesn’t think being small and independent is the way to go.
Perhaps Mr Orr can give us his thoughts on the comparison.