Taking control of Scotland’s destiny

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If UNIVERSITY of Hertfordshire professor Gregor Gall was really trying to help the SNP set the heather alight in going for independence (Perspective, 19 January) he might have based his impressions and advice on wider grounds.

The professor has faith in opinion polls and feels the SNP should be doing better to fire up the Yes campaign and to increase the “legitimacy for – and credibility of – the case for independence” but up here it’s rather the polls that require increased credibility, as the very election of an SNP government has shown, and in broad terms the case for independence has the same cast-iron legitimacy as the case for Union.

Nor would the No camp be unhappy with the writer’s depressingly blinkered assertion that the main reason to vote for independence is to “guarantee citizens a better standard of living”.

Thankfully, he is not merely counting bawbees here for he goes on to suggest the SNP should call for free education and a home for all, a living wage rather than a minimum wage, and grants rather than fees for students.

Admirable aims, and one needn’t be a professor to see that these changes are much more likely to come about under a Scottish rather than an English Conservative government, but the SNP would be rash to campaign now on such future specifics when there is a much more immediately engaging prospect than Professor Gall’s in its current remit.

The main reason to vote Yes is to do our bit to ensure our future is in our own hands in the most exciting moment in human history, to decide for ourselves who will govern us, with whom we will establish relationships and trade, how we will make our place in a dramatically changing world, and much more – but nothing less.

Up here isn’t another Hertfordshire or Northumberland, but the land of the Scots.

Pass the Professor a dry box of matches.


Whitehaugh Park


Amid the polemics over a proposed independent Scotland constitution might I 
add “a tuppence-worth” of comment.

The desire for independence isn’t stapled to the 
political convenience of a referendum, but if referendums are the agreed democratic format for achieving independence then this cannot be subject to ultimatums about “once and for all”.

Existing states have too much scope for apparatus control and power to gerry-mander, exert compliant media influence and exercise economic leverage to the disadvantage of its dissident population etc, to expect submissive acceptance of such imbalances.

It has already become obvious that definitions of democracy are doing eightsome reels in our dictionaries and traipsing about in their dance wear in so many different directions that for anybody to label such antics as an organised ball is laughable.

Residents of Scotland at the time of the 2014 independence referendum do not have historic right or power or indeed a magic wand 
capable of determining “once and for all” whether the desire to be independent stays or goes.

It was political convenience in 1707 that put in place a long term arrangement. Next year’s referendum is simple proof of the relative impermanence of such arrangements, and the historical fragilities of political convenience.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive