Numbers game

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Lesley Riddoch’s article (Perspective, 14 October) regarding the referendum makes a few good points, but also perpetuates some myths. She seems to accept the vastly-inflated numbers claimed by the SNP for its recent rally on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

I have paced out the area occupied by the crowd. The police estimate of 8,000 is as close to the total number who could have fitted into the space in front of the National Monument as one could calculate. Even assuming a further 2,000 elsewhere on the hillside, that still only comes to one-third of the SNP’s estimate.

Ms Riddoch makes valid points about some of the flawed decisions made in Scotland, such as the parliament building and Edinburgh’s trams, but she is using poetic licence to suggest that five million Scots are agin the Tories. There are not five million Scottish voters in the first place and a good 276,000 of those eligible to vote in 2011 (almost 14 per cent) cast their ballot papers for the Tories, not against them.

Indeed, one of the reasons why Scotland is in its present state is due to the blind adherence to left-wing politics. We will never progress as a society until we are weaned off reliance on the state and into a belief in our own ability to create wealth by the sweat of our own brows, the way our ancestors did. It is incredible that Scotland created such wealth when there was no safety net and, now that there is, we have one of the lowest figures in Britain for entrepreneurship.

The boot is really on the other foot. It is not for the Better Together campaign to “flesh out their plans” for Scotland after the referendum. It is for the left-wing parties such as the SNP and the Greens, (not to mention the Scottish Socialists) to demonstrate where Scotland’s wealth would come from when the oil runs out. There is not much time left for them to do so.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive


On reading Lesley Riddoch’s splendid article, I began to think that we need a third campaign grouping known as “Abstain”. I realise the knee-jerk reaction to that suggestion will be a reminder that such a course of action would be a betrayal of those who struggled for democracy in the past, often at great personal cost.

However, I would reject that rebuke with the further suggestion that there could be no more effective means of dismissing the totally inadequate performance of the political parties and the associated campaigns than a resounding and principled “Don’t Know”. Send them homewards to think again.

I suspect those who participated in the aforementioned struggle would agree that there could be no more creative and imaginative exercise of our democratic rights than to leave the issue unresolved, but only meantime. We need to build a people’s democracy first and then decide upon the best constitutional framework for its practical realisation. We must not heed the siren voices of those who will warn against the resulting uncertainty.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive Uddingston, South Lanarkshire