Dilemma for SNP
Public services in Scotland will continue to go to hell in a handcart as the collective SNP eye focuses on constitutional issues and their obsession with breaking up the UK at any and all costs.
The Brexit result was unexpected, and probably unwanted by Sturgeon, as it places her in the unenviable position of having to keep her radical foot soldiers onside by holding out the prospect of another independence referendum which she doesn’t want any time soon. The two major issues on which the last referendum foundered, and which haven’t been resolved , were oil and the currency and Brexit is going to make these a lot harder to deal with.
£15 billion more is spent annually in Scotland than is raised in taxes, according to the Scottish Government’s own figures. This and more is transferred to Scotland from Westminster each year under the massive redistribution that underpins our social and economic union. Quite a gap to fill from a combination of austerity cuts and increased taxation in a Scotland separated from the UK.
If Scotland were to vote for independence it would be out of both the UK and the EU, receiving benefits from neither, pending waiting its turn in the queue and fulfilling the conditions of EU membership. It is hard to see how that could be achieved given the massive deficit and no independent currency. Scotland would have to join the Euro as a condition of entry giving up fiscal control to Europe. No one knows how the other 27 countries would receive Scotland’s application but it is certain that the current rebate and VAT exemptions would be off the table. Spain would almost certainly veto Scotland’s easy accession as they are desperate that Catalonia does not receive encouragement to step up its demands for separation.
Scotland would still be one of the richer countries in the EU, whose members include poorer counties like Romania, Greece and Albania with other less well off counties waiting to join. It is estimated that Scotland’s contribution would be around £1.5 billion a year. Be careful what you wish for.
Gifford, East Lothian
Indy chance gone
Almost 40 per cent voted for Brexit in Scotland which was a great result for them, when you consider that not one leader of our main political parties canvassed for it. One must also assume that if there is another referendum for independence in Scotland, the SNP will have lost the Brexit vote.
The SNP, by seeking to be part of the EU, has lost all chance of Scotland ever being independent. Also, with Conservative leader Ruth Davidson being a staunch UK supporter, Nicola Sturgeon is going to face a strong opponent in any future referendum debate.
David Henderson Court, Dunfermline
I want to apologise unreservedly to all members of the European Parliament for the crude, abusive criticisms directed at them by Nigel Farage during a debate on the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
I was shocked by his insults, including an accusation that hardly any of them had ever done a proper job in their lives. Jean-Claude Juncker’s response was admirably restrained, but I felt totally ashamed of Farage’s attack. His arrogance, triumphalism and sheer nastiness will now have a huge adverse impact on David Cameron’s attempts to offer an olive branch to his European counterparts.
Farage is dangerous. Thanks to him, and to Brexit voters who think like him, the UK is now seeing the unleashing of xenophobic attacks on bewildered Europeans, and on those from further afield. He has given carte blanche to racist thugs. I urge everyone who has an interest in retaining good relationships with our European neighbours to condemn his arrogant attack on the entire European Parliament membership.
Wellbank, Broughty Ferry
The SNP was not denied a referendum victory by the lies of the “3 Stooges” from Westminster or any other underhand tactics by a No campaign so moribund that it presented the SNP with an open goal, which it then proceeded to miss.
However, our First Minister has been presented with the golden opportunity of another open goal and all she needs to do is keep a calm head, be truthful and shoot straight. If she takes Indy2 off the table just now and approaches the EU directly with cross-party support representing a Scotland which has the most powerful devolved government in the world, she will have the backing of a large majority of the Scottish electorate.
Any success in this will legitimise her standing in Scotland and Europe and in time she can put Indy2 back on the table with confidence. If no resolution can be reached to accommodate Scotland in the EU, then she can realistically claim to have done her best to pursue Scotland’s interests while maintaining our position in the UK.
The choice will then be clear. It will be a second referendum and independence, or be at the mercy of the most right-wing Tory government in decades, which seeks to impose further cuts and austerity on us all. What an irony it will be if in the fullness of time the people of Scotland have David Cameron to thank for their independence. And what a legacy for David Cameron to leave; the break up of the UK and possibly of the EU.
Heathfield Road, Thurso
The politico-economic turmoil will, over time, settle down. We all know, as Mervyn King says, that markets go up and down, but there are advantages to the pound going down for our exports and it means our import imbalance with the EU may actually improve.
In the Scottish context, however, Nicola Sturgeon has made a grave miscalculation. She seeks to interpret a vote on the place of the UK in the EU as a vote on Scotland’s place in the UK and, to anyone who gives even a moment’s thought to the topic, that is a case of apples and oranges.
However, the serious damage that Ms Sturgeon and her fellow Nationalists would do to Scotland does not depend upon her holding an in/out referendum at all. If she continues simply to threaten to hold a second referendum, it only depends upon the perception of what will happen to Scotland thereby amongst the movers and shakers in the financial services industry here to cause immense damage. She risks banks and other major players saying that, before the last referendum, they gave warning. This time, they will simply move to London and the economic effects on Scotland will be disastrous.
Scotland cannot afford such unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds. I hope wiser counsel prevails among our Little Scotlanders.
Andrew HN Gray
Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh
Failure by Church
The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council strongly endorsed the Remain position in the EU referendum on the basis that Christians must be internationalists. It did not have the courage to make the same argument during the Scottish referendum. Then it offered no analysis of the arguments on both sides and no opinion or guidance as to what might be the best outcome. This was an abrogation of the pastoral role of a putative national Church.
The Church of Scotland’s recent pronouncement shows how disconnected it has become from its own roots and history. The Church of Scotland was born of protest and fracture from the universal Church. This provided the inspiration for the modern world we know, shaped in large measure by the northern protestant European nations. Scotland itself played a disproportionate part in all of this.
Both the Scottish and UK governments have hastened departure from Christianity in public life and as the ground of our values. Now we have a Babel of conflicted politicians, media commentators, Twitterati and citizens, and since we have made idols of one another, we have no better source of understanding, vision or comfort.
Christian faith offers faith, hope, conviction and courage and these are essential for any individual, society and nation.
Rev Dr Robert Anderson
MacDonald Gardens, Blackburn, West Lothian
Less of the bile
The EU referendum result should now result in some of the writers to this page desisting from their anti-Scottish Government bile. In its manifesto the SNP stated it would revisit the question of another independence referendum should there be a material change in the political situation – or words to that effect.
That change has unquestionably now arisen and no-one should be surprised at the prospect of another referendum. Let us hear no more from such contributors quoting the “once in a generation’’ mantra. After all, it appears we will all be back at the polling booths this autumn for another general election –this a mere 18 months since the UK electorate presented the Conservative Party with a clear working majority.
I also wait to hear if such writers voice criticism of the outgoing Prime Minister for relenting to his Eurosceptic right wing and having this referendum in the first place.
Once again a UK vote has delivered an outcome out of kilter with the Scottish vote.
Panic in Brussels
The SNP and their associates ignore the delayed action bomb that Brexit has dropped on to the European project. The vote has caused panic in Brussels because it will lead to other referenda, with the same result. Anti-federalist forces will be so energised by Brexit that Britain will not be the last to exit. So why should Scotland board a sinking ship ?
It would appear democracy is only acceptable if the result is the “correct” one. The independence referendum was, according to Alex Salmond, “a once in a generation event”. Yet minutes after the Prime Minister had resigned Mr Salmond had elbowed his way on to the BBC Today programme to claim a second referendum was inevitable. Hours later the First Minister said it would be “highly likely”.
The only thing highly likely about a second independence referendum is that the SNP would lose. Who would want a border between Scotland and England, the euro as our currency, the extra costs of membership, mass migration, and a gutted North Sea oil industry? What kind of independence would it be when 60 per cent of Scotland’s laws would be set by a foreign power?