Your editorial (13 June) points out that Nicola Sturgeon finds herself in an odd place as she seeks to rally support for the Remain side of the European Union debate. Yet this positioning is wholly of her own making, as she temporarily applies the same logic that she previously dismissed in relation to support for the UK, now finding it perfectly sensible in arguing the case for the EU.
Only those with the shortest of memories will not be aware of the fact that for the First Minister, the EU referendum – whatever the result – is merely the latest skirmish for what she and the SNP consider the only campaign that really matters. The SNP leadership is well aware that if a credible case is to be made for Scotland separating from the main market for Scottish goods and services, namely the UK, then it will be vital to reassure the people of Scotland that it will continue to be a part of our next most important export market, in the shape of the EU.
After a Remain vote, the SNP will seek to argue it could separate from the UK and negotiate a separate Scottish membership of the EU, or after Brexit it would seek an exit from the UK followed by re-entering the EU. Whichever way you look at it the SNP are promising the people of Scotland quite a ride as the determination of Scottish Nationalism to impose its will marches ever on, undeterred by the disruption and uncertainty that entails.
West Linton, Peeblesshire
Current polling evidence suggests that Nicola Sturgeon is right about the outcome of the European referendum (Your report,13 June). The result is on a knife-edge. The votes of people in Scotland – and indeed, Wales and Northern Ireland, the areas of the UK most likely to back the Remain case – are now crucial.
On the assumption of a 65 per cent turnout (similar to the 1975 poll), almost 2.6 million people in Scotland are likely to vote. I would reckon the Remain side need a minimum of 1.75 million of those to help their case for victory. There is a chance of a combined majority of nearly three-quarters of a million in Wales and Northern Ireland, giving a majority in the three countries of 1.75 million.
This is likely to be significant, and one way Ms Sturgeon can ensure it happens is to utilise her party’s formidable electoral machine. Her party activists have not adopted a high profile in the referendum campaign so far. This really needs to change over the next week.
Her rallying call to her members should be unequivocal: that it is in Scotland’s interests for the UK to remain a member of the EU. The case should not be confused with what might happen if England votes Leave and Scotland votes Remain. The stakes are too high for mixed messages from the SNP – or, indeed, the other political parties torn between giving Prime Minister David Cameron a bloody nose and looking to the future interests of everyone in these islands.
Shiel Court, Glenrothes
Well, pensioners now you know that the amount of your pension will be reduced if you have the temerity to vote for exiting the EU. You people in work should be aware that your job, wages and future security will be at risk. Those of you that are serving in the armed forces perhaps should prepare for World War Three.
Who is spreading all this alarm? No lesser person than our own Prime Minister. This is the same premier who stated a few months ago that he was threatening to pull Britain out of the EU if they did not agree to let him have the little he demanded.
The one important thing Mr Cameron left out is freedom. If you really wish to be free from the shackles of Brussels, then put your cross where your heart lies.
Greenmount Drive, Burntisland
Dr SJ Clark (Letters, 13 June) castigates the Leave campaign for not accepting the importance of funding from Europe to research in the UK. Actually I think what the Leave camp was pointing out is that the money doled out by the EU comes from the members, the UK being a net contributor.
The web page for Framework 7, mentioned by Dr Clark, shows the UK, at €700m, as the second largest contributor to that programme, not far behind Germany and well ahead of France, the third largest. It also says that there are participants from 170 countries in the programme, so it is not confined to members of the EU. Likewise, Horizon 2020 advertises itself as “open to everyone”, while the European Research Council says “researchers from anywhere in the world can apply”.
The referendum concerns membership of the EU. A vote to leave does not cut the UK off from participation in European projects.
Craigleith Drive, Edinburgh
Stay campaigners are getting very hot under the collar as they perceive momentum increasing towards Brexit. The Stay leaders keep saying that we are better “in” and working to improve the UK’s lot in the EU from within.
They are whistling “Dixie”. If we vote to remain in the EU, that will be it. There will be an avalanche of new laws forced upon us with absolutely no regard to British objections. The EU will march on under its own agenda as before. It will take a vote by the UK to remain as an endorsement of this.
The best outcome for the In campaign is actually (and paradoxically) a narrow vote for Brexit. Such a scenario will cause panic within Brussels: it is likely to lead to the break-up of the whole EU project. In this scenario, just watch the offers that would made to the UK to change its mind. After a further period for the renegotiation of much more favourable terms, there would be another referendum and we would vote to remain in the EU.
David K Allan
Mainshill, Haddington, East Lothian
The UK looks like voting “leave” because of an unspoken agreement on all sides not to raise any issue that will point the finger at their incompetence and our love of the easy option over the past 40 years. It is better to blame “Westmonster” and Brussels than ourselves for our poorly educated people, lack of skills, self-inflicted illness and an economy based on housebuilding and shopping.
We don’t compete in trade because our products just aren’t good enough, we need immigrants to fill the 700,000 current vacancies that 1.6 million unemployed UK citizens can’t or won’t fill, and those who would move for a job can’t find good, cheap housing.
Don’t blame Johnny Foreigner – John Bull has been sleeping on the job for the past 40 years.
Willow Row, Stonehaven