Global issues eclipse independence

Former MP John Barrett (Perspective, 10 January) is correct – a federal constitution is not an option offered by the referendum. That is a decision for the people of the whole United Kingdom.

The choice in September is between separation and evolving devolution. We can be confident of devolution evolving because there is evidence that this is the will of the Scottish people and the so-called “unionist” parties have a record of delivering.

It was a Labour government which delivered a Scottish Parliament following negotiation with the Liberal Democrats and Greens in the constitutional convention; it is a coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats which has produced the next big step in the Scotland Act, again following cross- party agreement.

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We can also be pretty certain that, in the event of a No vote, Scottish Nationalist pressure would continue.

The fact that policy differences between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom have increased since devolution, far from demonstrating the need for independence, show the flexibility of the devolution settlement.

In relation to the decision facing us in September, it is difficult to think of a single 21st-century problem which is best tackled via 19th-century nationalism.

The concept of the nation state seems peculiarly irrelevant to the big issues facing our children and grandchildren such as climate change, the overweening power of international corporations and financial institutions, population growth and movement of peoples, religious conflict and securing sustainable energy supplies.

Can anyone seriously argue that these challenges are best tackled by more and more nation states jealously guarding their sovereignty?

Scots can show a better way forward.

We can willingly choose a path of sharing burdens and resources rather than grumpily dividing up the family silver, of acknowledging our commonality rather than continually emphasising differences, and of allocating decision-making to the most appropriate level, be that local, Scottish, UK or European.

Joan Mitchell

Newton Stewart

Dumfries and Galloway

John Barrett is right. There should be a reasoned and informed debate about the prospects after a Yes or a No vote in the referendum.

The UK and Scottish Governments could and should have started to work out the implications after the Edinburgh Agreement.

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Sadly, Prime Minister David Cameron decided on what the No campaign staff named “Project Fear”.

Instead of resolving some issues, and identifying the alternatives in others, he ruled that there would be no joint contingency planning, ensuring a lack of information at the same time as complaining bitterly about the lack of information he had created.

None of the No spokespersons in Scotland could have made this decision, and nothing they say will have any binding force after the result is declared.

Mr Cameron will be Prime Minister of the UK, and his attention will be on winning the 2015 general election and on his in/out EU referendum.

Opposition talk of further powers for the Scottish Parliament are chaff in the wind.

Even if they win power they have committed to much of the present government’s cuts. Only if Mr Cameron can be pressed into taking part in belated “what if…” discussions with the Scottish Government could doubts be reduced to some extent.

John Smart

Kinneddar Street


I am becoming confused – and not a little concerned – by the apparently cavalier attitude of what should constitute a truly democratic decision over independence.

Surely if we are to be totally convinced by the decision, then we need to see a clear majority wishing to give its support. This to me would suggest at least 55 per cent of those eligible to vote. No way can simply a majority of those who can be bothered to pop along to vote be seen, to me, to be adequate in such a significant referendum.

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We are talking of the possible long-term future of a powerful nation state, whichever way you look at it. It is something I consider to be far too important to be left to the self-satisfying whims of those who happen to be in politics at this moment. It must be a truly popular decision, free from rhetoric, personal ambitions and political cant. I live in hope. Maybe rather than Yes or No we should be pursuing 55 per cent.

David Gerrard

Spylaw Park


Clark Cross (Letters, 11 January) is highly critical of First Minister Alex Salmond and his policies. Among many others, I personally admire Alex Salmond and consider him a great asset to Scotland. But the referendum debate should not be about one individual.

In 100 years’ time current politicians will be “history”. We may hope, by our choice in the referendum, to leave a better Scotland for our children and grandchildren.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place