How gracious of my fellow Norwegian Haakon Blakstad (Letters, 11 June) to compliment my adopted home country of Scotland for its whisky and natural beauty. It’s a shame he does not want to extend that cordiality to allow its inhabitants to make a democratic decision on its own future.
Mr Blakstad is correct in saying that there are downsides to living in Norway. For me, one of them is the lack of perspective among many of its inhabitants in terms of what the priorities of the Norwegian state over the last decades have resulted in.
He perfectly illustrates this by referring to the price of a pint and cars, elegantly ignoring the fact that the – legal – maximum a nursery can charge for a full-time place per month is 2,405kr (£240) and that fathers are guaranteed a three-month paternity leave.
The equivalent in Scotland would be around £925 a month for childcare and a paltry week’s leave for new fathers.
Blakstad would also be perfectly well aware that N orway’s strong labour regulation and employee rights have helped develop a high wage, yet competitive economy, where the overwhelming majority will have much more left in their pockets even after having paid the higher taxes and bought the expensive car, than their counterparts in today’s Scotland.
I agree fully with Blakstad that independence is no silver bullet to achieve a Scandinavian-style society and that it will take many years of dedicated and hard work to achieve it.
However, I support independence for Scotland not because it will guarantee it becoming as equal and prosperous as Norway, but because I today see it as the best first step it can take towards it.
Haakon Blakstad’s excellent letter once more exposes the illusion that a Yes vote can ensure “Nordic wealth” for Scotland.
To meet the current Norwegian prices of beer, VAT and family cars quoted by Mr Blakstad in an economically balanced Scotland, the SNP would need to almost double Scottish wage levels in its mythical new Scotland.
This can only result in huge income and social welfare tax increases for Scots at all wage levels.
I want a fair future for Scotland but voting with a “Wha’s Like Us” attitude and ignoring every warning of the economic effects that a Yes vote will bring is not the way forward for a progressive Scotland.
Only a No vote can bring progress and stability to Scotland.