Union effect

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Martin Redfern (Letters, 16 April) is the latest of your correspondents seemingly in a state bordering on hysteria at the possibility of the SNP garnering some additional seats at the forthcoming general election.

Let us be clear: no matter how many more seats the SNP may win it will not mean the end of the Union; continuation of the Union is not in issue at this election.

There are, no doubt, good reasons for voting for parties other than the SNP in May; an imminent threat to the Union is not one of them.

There might, in fact, be some marginal advantages in having a larger SNP cohort at Westminster as, when the SNP are doing well, the powers that be tend to look more benignly on Scotland.

I would not, however, suggest anything so blatant as the SDLP’s alleged demand of an extra £1 billion for Northern Ireland as the price of their co-operation.

A bloc of SNP votes, especially in a hung parliament, might help to steer some expenditure north of the Border – and surely the most dyed-in-the-wool unionist could not object to poor, wee, dependent Scotland getting a slightly enhanced Union dividend.

There is also the consideration that some more MPs who do not belong to the London-based parties might help counterbalance the perceived metropolitan bias at Westminster.

The real threat to the Union, I would suggest, is the failure of either of the main parties to give the present messy constitutional situation serious consideration with a view to finding a workable way forward.

The Conservatives’ latest proposal to limit certain functions to MPs from English constituencies seems merely to have introduced greater complexity and 
perplexity.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive

Edinburgh