Avoid the discord

I am 75 years old, half-Scottish, half-Irish and a strong believer in the Union.

Yet it is now clear that, for very many years to come, the constitutional ramifications of even a No vote are now potentially so complex, contentious and unsettling to the UK body politic, as well as damaging to its economy, that the kindest thing the Scots can do today is vote Yes.

That way, the goal will be 
pre-determined and clear, and any potential for acrimony, discord and economic damage 
during the ensuing political 
and constitutional negotiations will be limited to their 
duration.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

The alternative, a No vote (regardless of margin), is now likely to result in serious unpleasantness and almost never-ending discord.

There will be disputes over the interpretation of the ill-conceived tripartite “vow” and what extra powers should be passed to Scotland (and whether Parliament will permit this).

There will also be endless dissent over an English Parliament and its make-up; the transfer of power to local regional democratic bodies and cities; calls for ending the discredited Barnett Formula (regarded even by its creator as a disaster); the likely refusal by the English to accept votes by Scottish MPs on English matters; the constant pressure for another Scottish referendum, and so on.

I have a very real fear that the poison I have seen in Northern Ireland for much of my lifetime, and such as we have witnessed in recent days in Scotland, could spread to the rest of the UK.

That is why I now believe that it is in the best interests of all of us in these islands to encourage Scotland to become fully independent by voting Yes.

Richard Longfield

Weston Patrick

Basingstoke, Hampshire