Scotland has lost its spirit of enterprise

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It is encouraging that Jim Stamper (Letters, 27 February) says, with great confidence, that “after independence there will be more opportunities to retain our graduates in Scotland”, citing the sort of jobs that are currently in London, “because that is where government sits”.

Although there are, undoubtedly, jobs that exist in London because the government is there, there is already one in Scotland.

All that breaking away from the rest of the UK would do is to create more public sector jobs for graduates in a country which already has a bloated public sector.

Would that be good for Scotland? No. What Scotland needs is real jobs that create income for the country and that will not be achieved on the payroll of any government.

What Scotland actually needs is opportunities for all our working population. That means practical ones, more than academic ones, especially when many will be admitted to universities for reasons of political expediency, rather than on the grounds of merit.

We need more “hands-on” people who make things that people outside Scotland want, which means more apprenticeships rather than students of fine art.

We need salesmen and women to go out and sell Scottish and other British manufacturing and services.

It is perfectly possible for people to do this on their own in small businesses. What is missing is the spirit of enterprise.

The culture of socialist dependency which has been carefully nurtured by left-wing parties like the SNP is the opposite to what made Scotland a hive of industry in the 19th century, when there were no handouts to be had.

If Mr Stamper wants to see a Scotland that succeeds, the SNP is about the last party to offer capitalist opportunities in any post-apocalyptic world. Scotland and the rest of Britain did not succeed in previous generations because success was offered to us on 
a plate by a tax-and-spend government.

It came to us because we had to struggle for it.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive


The assertion by Jim Stamper that Salmondian independence will bring Scottish graduates back to Scotland is a typical SNP pipe dream. The Scottish diaspora is a highly creditable historical phenomenon going back to at least the 17th century.

The reasons for it are no less relevant today. Personal independence and a bold entrepreneurial outlook are the Scottish attributes which took our graduates away in the first place.

They are extremely unlikely to be lured back to a tiny, if beloved, country with a 
left-leaning government which has a touching faith in perpetual oil supplies and 
untried machinery for renewable energy.

Peter Laidlaw

Bramdean Rise


THE article by historian Michael Fry (Platform, 27 February), in which he declares himself a convert to an independent Scotland, along with some high-profile business figures he identifies as estimable, was an interesting piece.

However, there was an auction room odour about it, maybe befitting its subject matter – hearts and minds open to the highest bidder.

For anything other than this essentially tunnel-vision economics, Mr Fry flings about words like “lefty” and “obsessives”. If by “lefty” he means anyone who has a priority for compassion in the conduct of a society, then he is too clinical and white-coated to be let loose in the political sphere.

His “down” on the public sector, with an almost automatic reverence for austerity as the antidote to all budgetary ills, is perhaps a trademark of a Toryism typified by Margaret Thatcher that the electorate in Scotland has long since snubbed.

Yes, business does indeed matter, and a balance between genuine civic-minded entrepreneurship that doesn’t dilute profit-mindedness is maybe elusive. But there are countries in the world that suggest such balance being managed reasonably. It is too easy sometimes to overrate entrepreneurship, and underrate public services.

It is similar to the way the word “reform” is used today in effective contrariety of its historical meaning. Neither reform in its “reformed” meaning, nor entrepreneurship, represents a universal icon of human progress.

There is, thankfully, much more to any country acquiring independence and rule over itself than such formulaic calibration.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive