Utopian vision is no substitute for facts

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John Slee (Letters, 1 May) ­complains that the referendum debate is defective in that it is “obsessed” with what he calls “short-term party ­political issues” and – up to a point – I agree.

It is the SNP, however, which has set the terms of the debate. If you believe, as I do, that the independence campaign is riddled with self-­contradictions then what else can you do but repudiate its pronouncements on the issues it has raised?

Mr Slee claims that the only real question to be voted upon is whether we should have an independent Scottish Government, which would then decide such issues as Nato, the European Union, the pound, corporation tax etc. I only wish he was right.

At least people would see that they had an honest decision to make.

Unfortunately, in order to win over those who would overwhelmingly vote No to that question, the SNP does not base its case on a straightforward argument for self-determination but presents a “vision” of Utopia.

Do you want to live in a society which is more prosperous and more equal? Hey – that’s a tough one! But that’s not the question on the ballot paper. The question is whether we are willing to go it alone and turn a blind eye to the risk and uncertainty which it is only realistic and not negative to draw attention to.

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh

It’s said that if you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, eventually people will believe it – and it seems to me that we have reached the stage of the independence debate when far too many whoppers (from both sides) are still ­flying about.

It is time we, the voters with the power to remove governments (although often not before they’ve done irreparable harm), told both sides to stop presenting their wish-lists as if they were established facts, because they are not.

For instance – following a Yes vote it is as unthinkable that the EU would disenfranchise six million of its current citizens who wish to remain European, as it is certain that the remainder of the UK (rUK) will stop building its warships on the Clyde; Scots will remain EU citizens, and rUK warships will be built in England: everyone knows it – so stop lying about it. It is time 
the independence protagonists toned down the project fears that both are wedded to, and moved on.

If we carry on like this, before September we’ll end up one side arguing that there is an old white bearded gentleman sitting on a cloud keeping an eye on us, while the other holds that there are fairies at the bottom of its garden.

We have a significant vote to cast, and both camps are very guilty of trivialising the debate. It is time to get real.

David Fiddimore

Calton Road

Edinburgh