Reality is of little concern to ideologues of independence

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JOHN Reid’s article in last week’s Scotland on Sunday (News, 27 April) points to irresponsibility at the heart of the Yes campaign, suggesting that the SNP is making all sorts of promises to voters which are at best shots in the dark and at worst knowing untruths. It could, of course, be argued that this is the modus operandi of all modern politicians but I would suggest that the independence debate is an especially aggravated case.

When assessing Yes campaign claims it must be remembered that the SNP is not a political party in the full sense, it is a single-issue pressure group. The SNP exists for the sole purpose of delivering independence, and whatever chaos might ensue thereafter isn’t its problem since it would logically cease to exist.

Alex Salmond’s long holiday from Scottish politics demonstrates that his commitment is not so much to the interests of the Scottish people as to independence itself. Similarly, a prominent Yes campaigner, when asked in a late-night TV interview about his possible role post-independence, breezily waved the question away saying he would be “taking a holiday from Scottish politics”. Well exactly, because what is at present a nice simple Yes/No cause in the abstract would at that point become a political, financial and administrative nightmare.

Nationalism is ideological rather than pragmatic, and as such its advocates tend to feel themselves to be so firmly ensconced on the moral high ground that any and all tactics are justified. The paradox is that the unifying force of nationalism, which is inherently adversarial, has so far worked extremely well in the pragmatic furtherance of Scotland’s interests as a part of the UK. This unifying force would disappear overnight with independence along with the SNP, leaving ... what exactly?

Douglas Gibb, East Lothian