While more headlines in our seemingly unbalanced media representation of the independence debate seek to undermine an independent Scotland’s future economic viability, an objective perspective on the drop in net tax revenues derived from Scotland’s oil and gas sector in year 2012-13 (your report, 13 March) might prompt a number of relevant questions.
With Scotland still maintaining an almost identical deficit level to that of the UK in spite of this exceptional set-back, on what has the UK Government spent the windfall billions of pounds generated by Scotland’s oil and gas industry in the previous period of more than 30 years when Scotland’s economy was effectively in surplus compared with the economy of rUK?
How much better will be Scotland’s economic performance relative to that of the UK once comprehensive policies specifically targeted at maximising the growth of the Scottish economy, along with the recent investments in Scotland’s oil and gas sector, bear fruit?
If the oil price does in fact defy history and trend down rather than up over the next 5-25 years, do we really want to be left dependent on the rest of the UK for our future economic welfare or do we want to start the process of better harnessing Scotland’s other resources and the talents of our people rather than rely on the possible altruism of our neighbours?
There are many more questions that could be posed but probably the most important is: do we have the confidence as individuals to work together in an independent country to proudly build the society we would wish for our children, where the desire for prosperity will be balanced by fundamental human compassion?
Or would we prefer our children to be shackled with the mental chains of dependency that will eventually undermine their confidence and diminish their ambitions?
I expect that the Scottish referendum campaign will be the subject of academic research for future generations of students of politics.
Some will point to certain events and ask whether this or that was the significant event that dictated how the campaign was decided.
One particular aspect of the campaign is the use by the SNP of resources paid for by the state to publish its white paper and another is its similar use of civil servants paid for by the British public to undermine the fabric of the British state.
No doubt such party-political expenditure will be clawed back from the SNP post-referendum.
The fortuitous addition of bags of money from two Nationalist lottery winners must be included in the witches’ brew which is bubbling away in the cauldron being stirred by First Minister Alex Salmond, his deputy Nicola Sturgeon and finance secretary John Swinney on the blasted heath, along with many assertions which are as factual as Shakespeare’s fictional ingredients.
Whether or not the SNP’s denials of facts that stare it in the face will make a stubbornly unpersuaded electorate believe the incredible remains to be seen.
However, when investor George Soros says Scotland remaining part of the sterling zone is not practical and that it would have to go with the euro; when oil revenue has dropped through the floor and one million Scots outside Scotland who have been disenfranchised by the SNP may be enabled to vote, future researchers in British universities will have lots of good material to dig into.
Andrew HN Gray
Either Jimmy Armstrong (Letters, 13 March) has failed to grasp a couple of simple points, or he is wilfully choosing to perpetuate the myth that Standard Life intends to move lock, stock and barrel to England.
In fact what Standard Life has said is that it is exploring the option of opening offices in England in order to save its customers any inconvenience caused if there are different regulatory bodies.
Meanwhile, Joe Darby (Letters, same day) has joined Mr Armstrong in the cacophony of doomsayers who appear to leap with almost masochistic glee on any evidence – this week it’s the volatility of oil –which implies that Scotland is not big, competent or wealthy enough to survive without “the broad shoulders of the UK”. This despite the fact that the OECD actually places Scotland four places above the UK in its table of most wealthy nations.
However, all this begs a simple question which is: if we are such an economic basket case of subsidy junkies, why is the UK so desperate to keep us?
Britain was always a nation generous in spirit and giving and this would appear to indicate that the UK Government is the most charitable institution of them all.
So if we had independence today we would start with a deficit. This just highlights the dangers.
If we had been independent in 2008 we would have been crippled for eternity by RBS and Lloyds. We became a Union in 1707 because of debt. Is there a good time?