Referendum should not affect shipyards

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The highly sensitive question of jobs in Scottish shipyards has not been helped by the latest outburst by Glasgow South West MP Ian Davidson (your report, 6 November).

I saw his interview with Gordon Brewer on Newsnight Scotland on Tuesday when his remarks were outlined in more detail. He appeared to suggest a proposal that any contract awarded to the Govan shipyard in the next few months could be rescinded in the event of a Yes vote in next year’s referendum on independence.

He leaves himself open to the charge of political and industrial blackmail.

It may not even be an accurate account of the constitutional position after 18 September, 2014.

For a start, autonomy would not come about anyway until the spring of 2016. In that 20-month period Scotland would still be part of the United Kingdom, negotiations would be going on over a number of matters, contracts would continue to be created, work in the shipyards would go on – though, as we now know, with a considerably reduced workforce.

A government of the Rest of the United Kingdom may certainly take the view that defence contracts should 
no longer be placed with Scottish yards. But is there any reason why that government should not place a defence contract here when Scotland will almost certainly remain a member of Nato and a close ally?

Is there any rational case for refusing to place the contract in Scotland if the shipyard can show that it can deliver on time, within budget and with appropriate security?

Mr Davidson often resorts to a knee-jerk reaction when faced with difficult situations. On this occasion he has done a disservice to his own constituents and the independence debate in general.

Bob Taylor

Glenrothes

What price now retaining shipbuilding in Scotland following a No vote?

Even the Better Together campaigners must know the answer to this.

Alison Halley

Dalkeith

Why did it take SNP MP Angus Robertson at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) to raise the issue of 1,775 job losses announced on Wednesday at BAE Systems in Portsmouth and in Scotland?

Where was Ed Miliband on this issue? He chose to talk about the NHS in England and whether it would cope with the increased demand as winter approaches. We all know the importance of the NHS, but surely in his capacity as opposition leader he should have been raising the job crisis at BAE Systems.

As the trade unions enter discussions to fight for every job, perhaps it is worth remembering that Ed Miliband was elected leader of the Labour Party by the trade unions, whose members at BAE Systems would surely have expected him to have raised their plight at PMQs.

This is exactly why Ed Miliband and Labour are not identifying with the voters.

Catriona C Clark

Falkirk