It should already be clear that it is not politicians supporting a Yes vote who are refusing to call on the Westminster government to seek clarification from the EU on Scotland’s status following independence.
It is not Yes politicians who are acting outside the spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement by apparently refusing to entertain the prospect of any negotiations on Scotland’s possible continued use of sterling. They have not talked about the uncertainty associated with Scotland possibly leaving the UK, but have avoided mention of the uncertainty associated with the UK possibly leaving the EU.
Yes politicians have not dismissed the option of voting on an improved devolution settlement in the referendum, in spite of the perceived popularity of such an option. They were not party to the burying of the McCrone Report, thereby deceiving the Scottish public over the value and longevity of oil and gas from Scotland.
The vote will come down to each of us weighing up core arguments, applying common sense and making a considered judgment. This rationale begs the question of whether we would rather manage our own resources or are we so lacking in confidence that we think Scotland’s resources would be better managed by others whose views may, or may not, match our own aspirations?
We are told the Better Together campaign is too negative (your report, 20 March). Let’s imagine, then, that Scotland is a separate country and wishes to join the rest of the UK. What would be the benefits?
We would get government expenditure per head considerably greater than that of the rest of the UK and more than that paid in by us through taxes; entirely unrestricted access to, and trade with, an economy ten times larger than our own with all the attendant cost savings in food and drink.
We would get a British passport backed up by a worldwide network of embassies and consulates; the pound sterling; membership of the EU with all the British opt-outs and the rebate; a share in the British armed forces with their administration and training structures and military bases, a large slice of their warship construction contracts, the protection of the joint Anglo-American intelligence arrangements.
We’d get political representation in London commensurate with our size; and become an integral part of a country with influence in the EU, the UN, Nato and the G8.
You might think this is a good deal. And you would be right.
A better response to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that Scotland did not get the (UK) government it voted for (WB Elliot’s letter, 20 March) would be that, in 2011, Scotland did not get the Scottish Government it voted for. Overall, the SNP got 44.7 per cent of the vote but 53.5 per cent of the seats (a failure of the much-lauded PR system).
This means the voters of Scotland did not vote to give the SNP an overall majority and so did not get what they voted for.
When there are so many sound arguments for independence, I am gravely disappointed at the prominence the SNP is still giving to the ridiculous pseudo-argument that “we will never again get a Conservative government which we did not vote for”.
Conservatism is a respectable political philosophy and the Tory Party a legitimate political power-bloc. One recent period of Conservative rule, that of the Thatcher government, resulted in massive damage to the social and economic fabric of Scotland, but that is history.
There is no reason why the moderate right should not recover as a coherent force: they would have done so by now under intelligent leadership. Furthermore, any democratically elected government has the support of some voters and not others. Some Scottish voters did, and presumably still do, support David Cameron and his party; plenty people in Scotland did not vote for the present SNP government.
The future independent Scotland will sometimes have leftist governments, sometimes rightist ones: I presume nobody imagines we will be a one-party state.
Scotland has suffered more under some Westminster governments than under others, but the principle behind the independence movement is that rule by Westminster is inherently to its disadvantage. We should have more sense than to be sidetracked by specific grievances against one or another London-based party.