Upalatable truths

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For some time I have been mulling over Lesley Riddoch’s article (“Still time to change minds and hearts”, Perspective, 9 June) and pondering why I do not include myself in this groundswell of grassroots support for independence which is populated by 
“optimists, self-starters and linchpins” and why I must castigate myself for being such a cynical pessimist.

In her absence, my attention has now been drawn to Pat Kane’s reference in his customary overblown prose to the “verticals” who are now driving forward the nationalist agenda (Perspective, 16 June).

It has, however, now dawned on me that they are just making it up as they go along and no amount of rational argument will make the slightest difference to these folk.

Lesley herself seems to belong to the Nordic wing of the Yes campaign, believing in significantly higher levels of taxation to fund higher public spending on a range of services.

That is a perfectly respectable position to hold but there is absolutely no evidence to suppose that is a view shared by the SNP leadership, which has bent over backwards not to alarm the Scottish middle classes by perpetually freezing council taxes, ensuring universal benefits are generously provided and eschewing university tuition fees.

Moreover, if you believe what the SNP administration says about promoting economic growth to prevent our public deficit widening, this will require levels of productivity, employment and immigration that we have not hitherto achieved. It is inconceivable, therefore, that a Scottish government in an independent Scotland would want to alienate its wealth creators and potential investors or deter immigrants by raising personal taxes – quite the opposite in fact.

To be fair to finance secretary John Swinney, he has privately tried to paint a more realistic picture but you don’t get to remain party leader by telling unpalatable truths to the troops and he has been replaced by that retiring wallflower, Alex Salmond.

So forgive me if I do not join this cheerleading band of brothers and sisters who will lead us to this Nordic nirvana.

It feels to me more like unquestioning naïveté or economic illiteracy, or perhaps both.

Paul F Galloway

House O’Hill Gardens

Edinburgh