Referendum politics is risky business

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A recurring but rarely articulated assumption underlying Unionist criticism of the Yes campaign’s claims of a better economic future in an independent Scotland is that safety and security lies in continuing in the UK.

Indeed, the eagerly greeted expressions of reservations by the odd company here and there amount to little more than “we would prefer no change”, which is unsurprising but hardly constitutes an argument. How unfortunate for No that the oil companies have now made clear their complete confidence in the future of North Sea oil, come what may.

By contrast, a Scotland-based stockbroker commented to clients on the recent Westminster Budget: “the total public sector net debt is projected to continue to climb steadily to reach 78.7 per cent of GDP in 2015-16, around £1.5 trillion …”

The note then goes on to observe that while the Treasury projections envisage some improvement in the longer term, “the bulk of the spending cuts are towards the end of the period for which detailed plans have not yet been set.” In other words, deeper austerity measures are bound to be applied for many years to come. This is hardly news, but there has been a virtual conspiracy to keep quiet about the grim realities in order to talk up the so-called recovery.

Were Scotland already
independent, who would be advocating union with
England given these prospects?

This underlines again that Unionism is more about emotion than a supposedly hard-headed assessment of economic facts and, as has been said many times, it does seem to include an element of “clinging to nurse”.

alan oliver

Battock Road

Brightons

Yet another “industry giant” expresses serious doubts about the potential success of independence (your report, 4 April).

Weir Group is doing what every business and institution is bound to do on an ongoing basis and especially if a major change is threatened: assess the possible risks as well as the benefits. Indeed, the only risky strategy would be to fail to conduct a risk
assessment.

No doubt the announcement will be greeted by
allegations of scaremongering and negativity – the
usual Yes reaction to arguments or facts to which
they have no genuine
response.

I totally disagree with the call for the No campaign to draw back from what are branded negative tactics. Accentuate the positives by all means but continue to hammer away at the negatives as well. The SNP would have it that to go independent is risk free. Any evidence to the contrary – and there is stacks of it – should be stressed at every opportunity. The voters have a right to know. Informing them is a positive contribution to the debate.

colin hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh