No to negativity

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I agree wholeheartedly with your leader comment (14 May) decrying the playground 
childishness of much of the 
independence referendum ­debate so far.

I would also observe that Scotland’s media, including The Scotsman, must take some responsibility for the mire in which we have become stuck.

Both sides are capable of dragging the debate down, but it is widely recognised that the No camp’s tactic is to create as much fear and uncertainty around independence as it possibly can.

In this respect Scotland’s newspapers and the BBC have, so far, proved to be willing accomplices, happily publicising any “warning” and “threat” that the pro-Union camp can muster.

With the Yes camp seemingly intent on running a largely positive campaign, the asymmetry of the coverage has been clear to any reasonable observer.

If you truly believe your own leader comment, surely you must back this stance up by rewarding any positive, honest and thoughtful arguments (from either side) with positive coverage, rather than simply regurgitating and reinforcing the tiresome negativity that has hitherto characterised the No campaign.

C Hegarty

Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

What should people make of Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s latest polemic on 
the independence debate (your report, 14 May)?

It deserves to be seen as much more than a simple riposte to former prime minister Gordon Brown’s sudden entry into the controversy. But she is right on one count and equivocal on 

She is right to highlight the intransigence of the Westminster government in its refusal to provide information or enter into some form of pre-referendum discussion or negotiation.

Surely the voters can be reassured that the level of their state and occupational pensions, for example, will be on the same level as the rest of the United Kingdom on day one of independence. Surely they can be told that their passports will have the same validity at the turnround of the country’s constitutional status.

Neither point needs compromise either side in engaging in debate about the future of both passports and pensions in an 
independent Scotland.

But on the general point of what happens after independence, Ms Sturgeon is on much weaker ground. Nobody can accurately predict the political colour of a Holyrood administration in an independent Scotland.

She is right to stress that “exact answers might be beyond reach” on key issues. She needs also to focus the Yes campaign strategy much more on the here and now.

Voters are savvy enough to know that they will get what they vote for in an independent state in the future. They have a narrower but correct focus on what terms will exist at the point autonomy is actually granted.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court