Indyref2 mandate

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NO DOUBT the SNP would see some sort of distorted logic in David Flett’s letter of Saturday 14 May, suggesting that an increase in the position of the Conservatives and a loss of an overall majority of SNP seats in Holyrood were “…a mandate for Indyref2.”

What seems to have been overlooked is that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon both signed a document, the Edinburgh Agreement in which they pledged to respect the result of the referendum vote. There was no small print on the document, no conditions on the ballot paper, no, “Not until the separatists think they have a better chance of getting the result they want”.

Indeed Alex Salmond pledged there would be no second referendum for “a generation”, even if he lost by one vote.

Sorry but the separatists came second in a two horse race. Any attempt by the SNP hierarchy to rewrite the result of the democratic, no-conditions-attached referendum which reflected the will of the majority of the Scottish people would make Stalin look like a bleeding heart liberal.

Alastair Gentleman

Garden Road, Linlithgow

Actions talk

Humza Yousaf MSP is right when he says no one will be surprised to know that most people in the SNP would want to get rid of the monarchy in Scotland and that their pre-referendum policy to retain our constitutional monarchy after a vote for independence was “simply an attempt to secure more support for breaking up the UK” (The Scotsman, Friday 13 May). Was that decision clever political insight leading to a pragmatic and necessary decision to fool the electorate, cynicism, hypocrisy or a melange of all three?

Those who grandstand about swearing or affirming that they put the people of Scotland above all should remember that actions speak louder than words and must start by respecting us and not trying to treat us like fools. However, perhaps we should be reassured that the First Minister has said she will make her case with respect. I hope she does – but we shall see.

(Dr) Alan Rodger,

Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow

Cultural ties

It is difficult to take seriously a politician who compares the EU to the Third Reich and at the same time dismisses any economic caution over Brexit as “Project Fear”.

There is a clear consensus among those whose judgment I trust that leaving the EU would not only be highly disruptive in the short term but against our long term interests.

We have cultural ties that bind us to the Continent and linguistic ties to America which put us in a quite unique position we would be very foolish to leave.

(Dr) John Cameron,

Howard Place, St Andrews

Invoking history

An interesting feature of the European referendum debate recently has been how much history has been invoked to support the case for either side.

I certainly think former London mayor Boris Johnson is wrong in his view that the modern European Union institutions are simply another means of getting the continent-wide union that Napoleon and Hitler failed to achieve (your report, 16 May). The EU was devised way back in the early 1950s as a means of ensuring that Britain, France and Germany would not again war militarily with each other. There can no more positive case for creating institutions than that they prevent the sometimes senseless carnage which successive generations witnessed in two world wars.

That positive case can be supported by the fact that many countries – previously under authoritarian control – have over a period of 30 years come under the democratic umbrella of the European Union. Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia may still be fledgling democracies but the sum total of freedom on the continent has been enhanced by their acceptance of EU membership.

That peace and prosperity can only continue if people have the courage to make the case for reform in Europe and not retreat into an uncertain world where renewed inflation, higher unemployment, lower growth and increased insecurity becomes the norm.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Assuming risk

In advocating that we remain in the EU because of its directives on workers’ rights Phil Tate (Letters 16 May) seems to make two assumptions.

The first is that the current directives are guaranteed in perpetuity. In fact they could be altered or abandoned with the UK having very little say in the matter.

The second is that the Conservatives will be in power at Westminster for ever. But the wheel turns, the pendulum swings and when a government more to his liking is elected it will have the power, provided we are out of the EU, to bring in the legislation he wants.

Regarding the jobs and investment provided by the EU that he refers to,the UK is a net contributor so we are paying for all that – and then some.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive, Edinburgh

Paying the piper

Brian Petrie recommends (16 May) the UK staying in the EU as, were we to leave, we could think again if we reckon that Europe “will dance to our tune post Brexit”.

However, I think the point Mr Petrie is forgetting is that they routinely ignore us even when we are members of the EU. I fail to see what the benefit is of being a member of an organisation that pays no heed to its second-biggest contributor.

The UK’s trade with the EU has been diminishing for many years and will, no doubt, continue to do so. Their wish for us to continue to buy from them is unlikely to diminish, however, and I expect that in any such unequal relationship, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

Brexit and IMF

So the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, intends to release a report a few days before the referendum to show how “very bad” financially leaving the EU would be. Is this the same Christine Lagarde whose Paris flat was raided by police, and faces trial on suspicion of complicity in embezzling €400 million of public funds? And is this the same EU whose own auditors have failed to sign off its accounts because of financial irregularities every year for the last two decades?

William Loneski

Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire

Brexit and reason

Robert Dow ( Letters, 16 May) wants facts regarding the pros and cons of staying in or leaving the EU. In the independence referendum any facts given by experts which did not agree with the SNP stance were attacked. This was the case in areas such as currency and membership of the EU where professors of European and constitutional law were accused of scare-mongering. As matters have turned out it was not Project Fear but rather Project Reality. The same scenario is evolving in this debate where the words “Scaremongering” and “ Project Fear” are being bandied about.

I do not have enough knowledge on which to base my judgment on which way to vote and there is not one document that can be referred to for the definitive answer. That being the case I want to hear from independent people in as many fields as possible to give me information which will help me decide which way to vote.

The people I refer to are the very people Mr Dow wants to keep quiet while claiming he wants to hear facts. Who would not want to hear the views of the Governor of the Bank of England, captains of industry and senior financiers? Probably the same people who will blindly follow the “remain” position of the SNP based on a doctrinaire obedience line rather than on a reasoned decision based on information they have gleaned from people with long experience of the real world of international finance and business.

Donald Lewis

East Lothian

Economic factors

Perhaps Henry McLeish makes “Much ado about nothing” in his analysis and recommendations for Scottish Labour (Perspective, 14 May).

Noticeably his only quote from an economist is in Keynes’ view on the influence of ideas.

However, it isn’t the case that Keynes’s economic ideas have solved the problems of capitalist society.

Eighty years ago he identified its “outstanding faults” as unemployment and inequality of incomes and wealth.

These are the same crucial economic and political issues facing government in our contemporary economic society.

Will Home Rule and federalism without a reformed economic system get rid of those “outstanding faults”?

Arguably Scottish Labour could become the SILP along the lines of the old Independent Labour Party.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk, Inverurie

Saltire invite

We are very fortunate during this, our 80th anniversary year, to have such an impressive line-up of talented and inspiring individuals contributing to our celebrations.

The latest contributor is distinguished composer and conductor Professor Sir James MacMillan who will join us in Glasgow on Thursday 19 May to give the first in a special series of Saltire Society lectures on Art, Science and Public Life.

Best known for his sacred choral works, James argues that “the search for the sacred in music is as strong today as it ever was” and is the “bravest, most radical and counter-cultural vision a creative person can have”.

Whatever their religious or philosophical persuasion, I feel sure everyone attending this event will find James’ lecture both stimulating and thought provoking.

The lecture takes place at 5pm on 19 May at St. Mungo’s Museum and will be followed by a discussion of the themes raised with writer, critic and reviewer, Stuart Kelly. Tickets are available now via the Saltire Society website so please take the opportunity to come along!

Jim Tough,

Executive Director of the Saltire Society, Edinburgh