Essential oil

As TIME speeds on and the temperature of the referendum debate rises, the public must realise that, because this is a two-sided political campaign, the kind of “facts” voters are clamouring for are not going to materialise.

There will be no help sheet with boxes to tick to guide us as to which side to support.

There is no such thing as a future fact, and the unfortunate truth is that – like Christians, philosophers and even scientists – our economists disagree about every big issue affecting our future, from finance and oil to transport and energy. They have been consulted on currency union, and have shown they have diametrically opposing views. What is the voter to do?

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To start with, avoid getting hung up on economic details. Be cautious of schemes full of details no one can possibly predict. Consider sensibly simple plans already in use elsewhere in the world.

The point made in your editorial of 26 February that, despite David Cameron’s warning that Scotland is too small to support its North Sea industry, whichever constitutional settlement we choose, whether full sovereignty or not, the oil will continue to flow, was one worth making.

michael f troon

Crawford Avenue

Gauldry, Fife

i WAS quite amused at your headline “Airline bosses boost for Yes campaign” (your report, 1 March).

Of course they would, they’re getting a tax break. The other side of the coin is, if you scrap a tax, it has to be replaced somewhere else, or you end up with a deficit.

At present the SNP have an emerging pattern of many deficits – scrapping of road tolls, free healthcare for the elderly, free prescriptions, free bus passes for the over-sixties, free tuition fees, and a council tax freeze for seven years, plus buying a clapped out airport (Prestwick) that the private sector have washed their hands of.

Neither are oil and gas the financial elixir that the SNP proclaim.

North Sea production costs are expensive now by world standards and supplies dwindling. Hence the reason INEOS is to import shale gas from America to Grangemouth, as they cannot depend on a North Sea supply.

What Alex Salmond is not telling us is that, if the independence vote goes his way, soon after he will go to capital markets and borrow huge sums of money to cover the aforementioned deficits, and we will be no better off.

roger peart