It is almost tragic that once again former first minister Henry McLeish’s analysis is right and that his conclusions are wrong (your report, 15 October).
Voters in Scotland should be very wary about the attitude of the main Westminster parties following a No vote in next year’s referendum on independence. It does not follow that they will be falling over themselves to introduce an attractive scheme of further devolution.
All the more puzzling that Mr McLeish is anxious to tell us all that he will be voting for the Union anyway.
This is before even seeing the details of the forthcoming White Paper in November, or assessing the campaign once it starts in earnest in the months after that.
He might play a useful role in helping people make up their minds after the paper’s publication and the inevitable Treasury rebuttal of almost everything that is in it.
For make no mistake: both sides in the argument still have to answer a lot of questions about energy bills, education, passports, pensions and all the rest.
He could be statesmanlike in reminding voters that a Yes vote will simply be the first stage in the process.
People will only know the answers to their queries once the negotiations that will then begin are complete.
In those negotiations a government representing the rest of the UK (and more than 50 million people) will face a government representing just over five million people.
It might be that Henry McLeish’s experience would be useful in that interesting period. It would certainly be more credible if he could be more even-handed now about how he is going to vote next year.
We are asked by Henry McLeish to “look to Norway” when considering whether or not we should break up the UK. This is merely the last in a long line of pronouncements from Mr McLeish, all of which have tended to get more and more pro-break-up as the referendum debate continues.
Many have wondered why Mr McLeish does not simply bite the bullet and join the SNP as every utterance he makes tends to follow the Nationalist line unwaveringly.
His unending pontificating on devo-max, for example, could have been written by one of Alex Salmond’s spin doctors.
Whatever is the case, surely Henry McLeish should go where his heart obviously lies. One is tempted to say in that case the pro-UK side’s gain would be the SNP’s loss.
New Cut Rigg
I can’t think of any procedure less likely to result in an accurate estimate of the size of a constantly shifting crowd in a location as large, and as topographically irregular, as Calton Hill than by selecting a section of it and pacing it out.
I assume that Andrew Gray (Letters, 15 October) was not at the independence rally.
I was, and at last year’s too, and though I am not good at estimating figures, I would testify in court that the difference between the numbers present on the two occasions was at the very least a factor of three. Since there were certainly more than 7,000 present last year, this would bring the number this year well above 20,000.
Mr Gray should also be reminded that the rally was not an SNP event. Like many unionists, he persistently fails to realise that the SNP and the independence campaign are not the same thing: the first is a political party, the second a popular movement with supporters belonging to all parties and none.
The difference in scale between the independence rallies of this year and last is a pretty clear indication of the steadily growing strength of the movement.