When it’s the elders who know better

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The proposal by the SNP to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum on separatism is as cynical as it is transparent.

We all recall how at that age we were radical and left wing, everything was black and white and we could easily get swept along by emotive rhetoric.

I understand that a few years ago the Scottish rugby XV was treated to a showing of Braveheart before a match against England to whip up patriotic fervour.

A high proportion of students in my day, the 1950s, were communists and laugh about it now. At that age, people do not have the experience of life to make such a serious judgment.

The cry will go up that it’s their future. Of course it’s their future but it is also the future of five-year-olds, babes in arms and generations still to come not only in Scotland but in all parts of the UK.

It is for those who have the relevant experience of life and knowledge of the full ramifications of the issue to vote, bearing in mind the interests of the younger members of their families.

What the SNP seems to ignore is that we are still the UK, we have a Westminster government in which Scotland is well represented – some in England would say too well – and the voting age in the UK is 18.

All the bombast and bluster of the SNP cannot be allowed to change that fact.

D Lewis

Beech Hill

Gifford, East Lothian

George Kerevan’s thought-provoking perspective on Michael O’Leary and Scottish airports (Perspective, 24 February) reminds me that about 60 years ago, SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) and KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) had some services between Prestwick and North America. They wanted to make Prestwick their hub airport for flights between Europe and North America and applied to increase their flights through it.

The UK government of the time wanted the business for London so refused to allow the increase of flights through Prestwick.

SAS and KLM then ended their existing flights through Prestwick and developed hubs, now large and prospering, at Copenhagen and Schiphol.

Though the phrase had not yet been coined, that prevention of the expansion of Prestwick was part of Scotland’s “Union Dividend” – which still costs us dearly.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place


Both Peter Dryburgh and Cllr Tom Johnston (Letters, 24 February) fall into a common trap while attempting to correct David Martin’s notion of the “United Kingdom”.

If both would care to check their passports, they would see that “United Kingdom” refers not to the kingdoms of England and Scotland but to Great Britain and (Northern) Ireland.

While the 1707 Treaty certainly created a “united kingdom”, it was not the name of the new state (which was Great Britain). That new kingdom was then unified with Ireland in 1801, thus creating the “United Kingdom”, as amended in 1922 to become the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

This is not pedantry on my part, but crucial to understanding the nature of the state we (at least for the time being) inhabit.

In that context, Cllr Johnston’s assertion that Northern Ireland wasn’t a “formative member” of the UK is incorrect. If Scotland becomes independent, it would break up “Great Britain” and not (necessarily) the United Kingdom. In any case, even the SNP does not propose ending the “united kingdom” forged in 1707.

David Torrance

Hillfield Road


Bruce Skivington (Perspective, 23 February) rightly reminds us of how much we are oversupplied with legislators at present. Would “Get rid of 100 MPs” not be a winning slogan for the independence campaign?

We could also presumably save the ten per cent we currently contribute to the costs of the House of Lords. What would happen to Scottish Lords after independence? Could David Cameron simply send them packing?

William Aitken

Easter Warriston