Two-party fix

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A problem with Jim Gallagher’s argument (“Referendum comes down to money”, Perspective, 27 August) is that his view of the UK economy is idealised. So, by implication, is his view of the UK’s political system. The truth is that both are seriously flawed and there is little sign that their shortcomings are adequately ­recognised, let alone that we can expect serious reform.

The UK economy is highly unbalanced both by sector and in its geographical distribution. Manufacturing is too small and the financial sector is too large. There has been a long-term UK trade imbalance as a result.

The heavy economic bias towards London and the South-east needs no rehearsal. If Scotland is in a stronger position than the North-east of England it is at least in part because of our increasing differentiation from the unitary UK model.

The UK political system actively militates against reform. Maintaining the over-representation of the two main political parties at Westminster may be in their self-interest but is not obviously in the UK national interest.

The Conservative Party, once pragmatic, has been ideologically driven for more than 30 years. It is no longer a “one-nation” party; a fact demonstrated by the geographical distribution of its parliamentary seats.

Labour has been pulled steadily to the Right, to the extent that it is hard to see it now as even a social democratic party.

Both parties are class-based in an era when a healthy democracy should have moved on. However, the broad economic consensus between the two is actually driving society backwards in that ­respect as well as undermining social advances.

Politically, Scotland has demonstrated the benefits of reform. Our parliament is both more representative and more popular that the UK parliament. It has also provided, and funded, benefits denied to the rest of the UK.

Independence provides the opportunity to develop further as a democracy and to achieve the benefits of directing our own economic policy. It could also provide a sufficient jolt to the rest of the UK to put serious reform within reach. The alternative is, substantially, more of the same.

(Cllr) Alasdair Rankin

City Chambers


THE Better Together line that Scotland benefits from being in the Union is nothing other than a white lie.

Westminster and London ministers are secretly terrified of Scotland becoming an independent and rich nation on a par with comparative Baltic states.

The sudden appearance of a Westminster “big hitter” invading Scotland to sell the Better Together message suggests a change of heart among those who previously saw Scotland as a burden, though of course North Sea oil wealth must be a factor in this.

Donald J Morrison

Haig Street

Portknockie, Buckie