Independence would be good for jobs

Share this article
Have your say

Andrew HN Gray (Letters, 28 February) makes three errors in criticism of Jim Stamper’s comments (Letters, 27 February) that more graduates would remain in Scotland if it was independent.

The first is the simplistic assertion that any new jobs created in Scotland as a result of independence would only be public sector jobs.

A cursory examination of what happens in the real world would inform Mr Gray that many essentially Scottish companies, including Scotch whisky companies, are currently headquartered in London.

While I accept that many factors led to this situation, the proximity to the Westminster parliament where key decisions relating to the UK economy were made was undoubtedly a significant factor.

This has not only resulted in many of the top private sector positions in Britain, even among Scottish companies, being in London, but so also are many ancillary jobs and jobs among third-party entities that supply goods and services to them and to the UK Government.

Of course even in a wisely governed independent Scotland the locations of offices of Scottish companies would not change overnight, but over time more offices would open and more jobs created in the private sector, closer to where key decisions relating to the Scottish economy would be made.

Mr Gray is correct, however in asserting that Scotland needs more private sector jobs and more opportunities but he makes a second mistake in claiming the missing “spirit of enterprise” has been caused by the policies of “left-wing parties”.

UK Government policies of all political parties have over decades failed Scotland’s youth.

While I accept that even in an independent Scotland there would always be some talented individuals who would wish to seek opportunities abroad, with every ambitious young person who leaves the country because he or she cannot find an appropriate job in Scotland, our country loses much more than that individual’s skills and talents.

The third error made by Mr Gray is in targeting the SNP to blame for this situation when, as Peter Laidlaw (Letters, same day) points out, the exodus of Scottish graduates to London, and beyond, commenced long before the SNP came to power.

If any political party in recent decades is to blame for not redressing this situation it surely must be the Labour Party which, in spite of often having mandates at all levels of government, has seemingly been as committed to reducing the “Scottish brain drain” as it has been to reforming the House of Lords.

Even many die-hard supporters of the constitutional status quo would admit that if it were not for the advance of the SNP we would not even have the opportunity to raise such issues in a parliament at Holyrood, albeit with limited devolved powers, that George Robertson and others presumed would be the catalyst for that party’s demise.

Stan Grodynski


East Lothian