Alf Young’s suggestion that the anti-imperialist case for Scottish independence is somehow damaged by David Cameron’s unexpected Commons defeat on the issue of military intervention in Syria in the aftermath of Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons (Perspective, 31 August) lacks credibility.
Surely the contrary reality is that had it not been for the votes of a clear majority of Scottish MPs – 44 out of 59 – the narrow 13-vote majority against the coalition administration’s policy would have been easily overturned, and we in Scotland would still be facing the grim prospect of being dragged into yet another multi-faceted Middle Eastern civil war with no obvious exit strategy, and in opposition to the wishes of almost three-quarters of our own MPs.
In other words, a majority of English MPs actually favoured the coalition administration’s, at best precipitate, Syrian policy. So, the Yes camp’s argument that only Scottish independence can provide the Scottish electorate with adequate safeguards against the British political elite’s continuing delusions of imperial grandeur still stands.
It is indeed astonishing that half a century after Dean Acheson, a former US secretary of state, made his famous comment about Britain having “lost an empire and not yet found a role” there are still far too many Tory MPs – together with at least some Lib Dem MPs – who hanker after the not-so-golden days of the British Empire on which the sun never set. This was shown in the exaggerated reaction of luminaries – including former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown – to the government’s Commons defeat last week.
IAN O BAYNE