What really constitutes ‘intimidation’?

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The reaction of Yes voters in the issue of intimidation towards business leaders and academics borders on hysteria.

It was typical of the Yes campaign’s project of denial that initial suggestions of intimidation were dismissed on the grounds that there was no evidence.

Now that some brave souls have put their heads above the parapet and produced the evidence the cry changes: well, the intimidation from the other side is just as bad.

Andrew SR Gordon (Letters, 10 July) provides some examples of alleged intimidatory assertions. Scotland “would be cast adrift in Europe”.

I presume he means by this that Scotland’s application to join the European Union would almost certainly take longer than the very optimistic 18 months claimed and that the terms would not include the current opt-outs.

Why does stating such facts strike fear into the hearts of Yes voters? Incidentally, ­stating the facts used to be labelled “scaremongering”. Now apparently it is “intimidation”.

“Businesses will all leave.” I do not recall anyone saying this. However, does he mean that major companies such as the Weir Group would likely move out of Scotland?

I do recall its chairman on TV very calmly and logically explaining how independence would result in huge extra costs and that business interests would point to relocation.

Was he doing this to engender fear or simply to state economic realities?

The meaning of the word “intimidation” has been redefined as a result of this campaign as have other words such as “neutral” and “impartial”. I wonder, therefore, if I may indulge in a little wordplay with a contribution of my own – alethophobia. It would describe very well the condition suffered by many Yes voters – fear of the truth.

COLIN HAMILTON

Braid Hills Avenue

Edinburgh

Andrew Gordon seems to be confused about what constitutes intimidation.

As long as we still enjoy freedom of speech it is not intimidation to express one’s views in a debate, nor is it intimidation to point out the all-too-real potential downsides to separation regarding which people are free to make up their own minds.

It is, however, intimidation to pressure individuals and companies into silence for fear that they may, as is their right, contribute something to the debate which does not conform with the SNP mantra.

Donald Lewis

Gifford

East Lothian

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