IT WOULD be poetic justice for David Cameron if the Remain in Europe campaign lost the referendum because young people were unable to vote.
The only reason we are enduring this referendum is because of a big split in the Conservative party. The Tories are the only mainstream party who even question the wisdom of being part of the EU, even with all its faults.
But David Cameron has spent the last six years making it more difficult for young people to vote. He introduced Individual Electoral Registration, which stopped families adding their children on to the register during the annual review, and he stopped universities and colleges being able to block register students. People living in insecure accommodation have also had difficulties registering.
Individual Electoral Registration was a malicious attempt by the Tories to gerrymander the electorate. If you are a young person and are not registered, there is still time to be added to the register and vote in the EU poll.
The last day to make sure you can vote in the referendum is next Tuesday. If you have not already registered to vote, you can do it online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote (have your National Insurance number to hand – it may be on your pay slip) or by phoning the council – but you need to do it now.
Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh
Are the Conservatives fully aware of the impending fallout within their party after 23 June.
Do they really believe wounds will quickly heal? If so, let me remind them of post referendum Scotland. From a country which promoted the collective “ whae’s like us” we are now a divided nation and destined to remain as one as long as the SNP are in power.
Larkfield Gardens, Edinburgh
Has Prime Minister David Cameron staked too much in putting himself right at the front of the Remain case in the European referendum campaign (The Scotsman, 30 May)? Having promised a referendum in last year’s election, and then negotiated changed terms of membership with other European Union leaders, it might be surprising if he had not done so. But for those of us old enough to remember and vote in the 1975 referendum there is an interesting contrast between his pro-active approach and the more laid-back style adopted on the matter by the Labour Prime Minister of the time, Harold Wilson.
His party was then bitterly divided over Europe – indeed, a special conference earlier in the year had come out against the terms he had negotiated with the leaders of the European Economic Community and was advocating a vote for withdrawal. Wilson was unperturbed. He suspended collective cabinet responsibility to allow all the Labour government’s members to put the case for and against staying in the EEC. In the weeks running up to the poll he was in the anomalous position of quietly putting his government at odds with his own party’s policy and in favour of that of the Conservative opposition(then largely, but not exclusively, pro-Europe).
He kept a low profile, adopted the manner of an elder statesman overseeing a national debate. From his point of view, it worked . The British people voted by two to one to stay a member, he kept his party broadly unified and was able to retire at a time of his own choosing. These are different times but Mr Cameron may yet have cause to wonder whether he should have played a lesser role and allowed others to put a cogent case for the Remain side.
Shiel Court, Glenrothes
I shall vote Leave because the EU’s own accounts have never been signed off due to financial irregularities every year for the past two decades and because the EU has become a facilitator for multinationals, putting profits before people, exemplified by The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and because of the huge salaries and expenses paid to its apparachiks.
I shall vote Leave because the EU’s half-million pages of laws are costing British industry and commerce over £30 billion a year. I shall vote Leave because the EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee is laying the foundation for a European Tax Authority by creating a European Taxpayer Identification Number for every citizen.
I shall vote to Leave this failing empire because free of its directives emanating from an unelected ruling elite out of touch with ordinary people, Britain will emerge as a stronger country economically. Voters should remember that the pessimistic economic predictions of doom by the spokesmen for the rich and powerful on what misery would befall us if we did not join the euro are the very same predictions they are making now if we choose to rediscover our sovereignty. What happened then? Outside the Eurozone Britain prospered using its own currency. Inside the Eurozone, the economic slump continues.
Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder, Berwickshire
I am getting irritated by the lazy conflation of the TTIP issue with the EU issue. The fact is that coming out of the EU has little potential effect on the TTIP programme and any suggestion that Brexit takes us out of it is patent nonsense. At the moment there has always been very much stronger opposition to TTIP in Germany than there is in the UK, and France is now getting to the point at which it is quite likely to sink the whole project.
There is a very considerable degree of dishonesty in those who are using this issue to confuse the ill informed into opposition to the EU.
Dave McEwan Hill
Dalinlongart, Sandbank, Argyll
Alan Skeddid not once mention European free market economic policies and the puritan morality which gave them credence-as a cause of Europe’s economic weakness (“The EU is an economic disaster zone”, 30 May).
Yet the IMF have joined the majority of economists in seeing unnecessary austerity as a cause of economic decline. Iceland has boosted the spending power of its consumers and this has boosted its economy.
To solve the Greek crisis the Germans have to get over their moral condemnations of Greece and take a realistic approach. Change economic policies and you change disaster zones. The British economy is also in a mess, with poor exports, weak productivity and investment. Having some kind of trading deal with Europe is a dire necessity.
Does Denmark (outside the EEC) have a better deal than we do inside? No! There are no utopias that don’t require sensible policies – and choice.
Corbiehill Place, Edinburgh
Top to bottom, the UK is a business and our customers are our lifeblood. Without customers no business can survive, and continually offending customers the way we offend the EU will soon drive them away. We won’t be leaving them, they’ll leave us!
It’s all very butch to want to control our own affairs but our nationalist friends need to grasp the realities. The problem with the EU isn’t the EU at all, it’s the politicians we voted into Westminster and Holyrood. Any half-decent government ought to be telling people that the world is increasingly globalised and there’s no going back.
And pulling up an imaginary drawbridge is no answer, it’s defeatism on a major scale. We have to stick together in a highly competitive world.
BREXIT, like Scottish independence, has already damaged us more than we know. Disinvestment in the North Sea by oilmen wary of unpredictable Scots and now increasing reluctance among foreign investors to stay with the British is already evident and will certainly worsen.
Bringing people together, not splitting them apart is far more likely to gain control over migration and protect both the economy, the welfare system and the security of our homes. This is not a government priority at present but if Westminster and Holyrood could set aside their party prejudices and concentrate on national unity all round the UK it would be a start.
If we took a greater share in running Europe, instead of standing back and complaining, we might provide the leadership the EU badly needs and in the direction we British need it to go. Above all, if the British, including the Scots, want to live in a better world they need to grow up and live in the world as it is, not as it was and will never be again.
Paisley Drive, Edinburgh
Battle had a point
Keith Brown ends his article about the Battle of Jutland by calling for reflection on the futility of war, “to strengthen our resolve never to let a tragedy like the First World War happen again (Perspective, 28 May). Firstly, the First World War was not “futile”. These brave men did not die for nothing, they gave their lives to prevent our navy being defeated and our country being invaded by a nation out to dominate the world.
Secondly, the only way to be 100 per cent sure of keeping us safe from future war, to avoid the horrors of invasion meted out on so much of Europe between 1939 and 1945, is to keep our nuclear deterrent, something Keith Brown and his party oppose.
Belmont Gardens, Edinburgh
We choose ‘lose it’
This month British Airways have commenced a once-daily flight to Heathrow from Inverness and the CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, tells us in our local paper, “Use it or lose it”.
As a frequent flyer to London to visit family and with Heathrow being closer to them, I opted to do so – until I realised my husband and I were going to pay £290 return by travelling during the week. Easyjet go to London Gatwick and the flight costs us £110 including rail fare into London.
Was there ever a choice?
Boarstone Avenue, Holm Mains, Inverness
Time for change
With Edinburgh’s Mortonhall Crematorium being closed for five months to allow for repairs following fire damage, this might be a good time to remove the Christian symbols from the chapels and the Garden of Remembrance to reflect what should be the religiously neutral nature of a publicly funded building.
Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh
A simple plan
Andrew Vass suggests the British economy needs skilled immigrants for continued prosperity and growth (Letters, 30 May).
On the other hand, in the same column, Pat Morris suggests that building 300 new homes in Gullane is inappropriate because good agricultural land will be lost and the village infrastructure of roads, shops and schools are insufficient to cope with increased demand.
So where are Mr Vass’s new immigrants to live? May I suggest that education and training of British youngsters is improved so that UK nationals can fill these skilled occupations and that any new homes required are built on brown field sites in cities, such as Edinburgh, where excellent transport and retail infrastructure already exists.
South Clerk Street, Edinburgh