Work on welfare

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Those who do not accept the outcome of the referendum on the grounds that it was made invalid due to interference by the Westminster government have been asked: “What are you going to do about it?”

Like Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 3 October), we look back at the history of the United Kingdom. It is clear that there was ­always a proportion of Scots who did not accept its existence.

Skipping the period of Stuart rule and its religious turmoil, from the time that the Hanoverians were placed on the throne, there were five Jacobite risings, suppressed by force of arms.

Equally, in the modern parliamentary period, there have been five attempts to achieve Scottish autonomy, in 1914 and 1945 (home rule), in 1979 and 1999 (devolution) and in 2014 (independence).

All these have been either halted or distorted by Westminster interference.

However, an intermediate historical example exists. As today, a vigorous, reforming minority was blocked by a conservative majority.

This was the occasion of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843, caused by the selection of ministers by the lairds over the heads of the congregation, via the Patronage Act.

In that case the minority formed the Free Church, but it was their next deed which provides a lesson for today.

Such luminaries as Dr Guthrie, seeing that childhood destitution was a great sin, set up schools to provide them with a safe haven.

There are still poor children in Scotland and the energy of the Yes camp should now be ­directed towards gaining full control of welfare within this country, just as we control health and education.

Having welfare – which includes pensions, national insurance and benefits – and its concomitant finances within our own area of responsibilities is a moral imperative.

Iain WD Forde

Main Street