How does independence fail us? Let me count the ways - readers letters

The SNP is planning a new referendum, and so I think that the people of the UK (including those who want to leave it) are entitled to have answers to the following questions:
Author Louis de Bernieres has questions for supporters of Scottish independenceAuthor Louis de Bernieres has questions for supporters of Scottish independence
Author Louis de Bernieres has questions for supporters of Scottish independence

1) Why does the SNP think that Scotland will be able to carry on using sterling until it can join the euro?

2) Why does the SNP want to join the Eurozone, in which devaluation is impossible, which has still not recovered from the recession of 2008, and has an interest rate that suits nobody?

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3) Why does the SNP expect the EU to agree to Scotland’s accession, given Spain’s right of veto and its worries about the secession of Catalonia and the Basque country?

4) How does the SNP envisage the setting up of tariffs and a hard border with customs posts between Scotland and England, and how will it prevent smuggling?

5) What will happen to the nuclear submarine base at Faslane and the jobs on the Clyde that go with it?

6) How will Scotland set up and fund its own armed forces?

7) How will Scotland set up and fund a diplomatic corps and the establishment of embassies throughout the world?

8) Now that oil revenues will be plummeting in the face of the green revolution, where will Scotland’s money be coming from?

9) What will Scotland do without the Barnett formula which allows £2000 per capita of Westminster funding per annum?

10) When will the SNP come clean on the republican agenda of many of its membership and leadership? What would happen to crown property in the event of a republic? When will the republican referendum be?

11) Why does the SNP want to have independence from Westminster, where it has representatives with real clout, in order to yield it to Brussels, where it will have representatives with none?

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12) Most important of all, what will happen to those Scots who wish to retain their British passports? Is it reasonable or ethical to force someone to change their nationality and lose its privileges against their will?

Louis de Bernieres, Denton, Norfolk

Kissing cousins

Anyone thinking that the SNP and the Alba Party won’t kiss and make up after the Holyrood elections for the sake of independence is deluded.

Tim Jackson, Whim Road, Gullane

Brighter future

Amid all the media noise about the new list party Alba (Reminder 1 – no-one is obliged to vote for Alba’s candidates on May 6) and the relentless criticism in the press about the supposed “anti-democratic” SNP government (Reminder 2 – they were elected by Scottish voters at the last election), it is worth a quick reminder about the achievements of Scotland’s government in the last 14 years, led by both Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

Progressive Scottish government measures on: free prescriptions; free personal care for the elderly; abolition of college tuition fees; equal start (baby boxes); ‘period poverty’ (free feminine hygiene products); commitment to child payments and school holiday meals (to name a few), have made a real and welcome difference to the vast majority of ordinary Scots.

Unlike Westminster, the SNP government is also committed to no privatisation of the Scottish NHS, a decent (four per cent) pay-rise for NHS staff and (in this year of COP-26 in Glasgow) to world-class legislation on a non-nuclear renewable energy future for our country, to support the global fight against devastating climate change.

It is difficult to imagine a Holyrood administration lead by Messrs Ross, Sarwar or Rennie delivering even a fraction of these things, given their unionist obsession with keeping Scotland locked inside the increasingly shabby UK at any cost.

Unsurprisingly most Scots on May 6 are unlikely to choose any of the three unionist parties and their deeply uninspiring vision of “let’s make Scotland more like the rest of the UK folks”, over one of the progressive independence-supporting parties (whether SNP, Alba or Green) who at least offer the prospect of continuing our recent progress towards a better future for our country and its citizens.

D Jamieson, Newington, Edinburgh

Monstrous ego

It looks like we’re in for the second performance of Alex Salmond and his Monstrous Ego. His first appearance resulted in a massive own goal and made a dent in the cause he’s supposed to have believed in all his life. His second coming runs the big risk that he’ll sink it for the foreseeable future.

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Not content with scoring one own goal, he’s handing his political opponents as many free kicks as they want and then waiting on his own goal line ready to prod the ball home.

With the hard right in charge down south, all the omens are in place that this time we’ll ignore the unionists’ dirty tricks and honeyed words and restore Scotland’s future into our own hands. Splitting the vote and ruining this will result in the legacy of the leading man being trashed and his name forever remembered in the same breath as Judas Iscariot.

Do the decent thing Alex: show yourself a red card as the time for challenging the movement you helped to set up isn’t now, it’s after an independent Scotland becomes a reality.

Bill Hendry, Blackwood Road, Milngavie

Do the maths

As the various promises from the different parties are made in the run-up to the May election, it's important to remember to do our own sums when assessing the pledges and undoing the spin.

A case in point is the SNP's Kevin Stewart on housing. He claims the Scottish Conservatives housing policy is "dwarfed by the SNP's record of delivery" and the SNP "pledge to go even further" (Scotsman, 30 March).

]However, the problem for Mr Stewart is that the numbers he provides don't back that up. He says “nearly 100,000 affordable homes” have been built over the last 14 years – that at best is an average of 7,142 each year.

He then goes on to say that they expect to build a further 70,000 houses for social rent over the next decade. That would average out 7,000 a year so would see 35,000 over the course of the next five-year parliament.

The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to build 40,000 homes for social rent over the next parliament if they are elected.

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I don't know what calculator Mr Stewart is using but that doesn't look like "dwarfed" to me. As with all parties, we the voters, need to do our own maths. How much stock we put in pledges is down to personal preference. However, we should all take a good long look at the facts we can see about the last 14 years of the SNP government and whether that questionable record warrants a further five years of more of the same.

J Lewis, Wilfrid Terrace, Edinburgh

Cruel fishing

Although neither a vegetarian nor an animal rights campaigner, I was struck by the article on fishes and fish farming, by Philip J Lymbery, the chief executive of Compassion in World Farming (Scotsman, 26 March).

The problem for fish is that they neither bleed nor make a sound. If they did, would we still be indifferent to the cruelty involved in fishing, whether for sport, commerce or fish farming?

Dr David Hannay, Planetree, Gatehouse of Fleet

Love Island

I was pleased to hear that TV has its priorities right with the return of Love Island! What made me gasp, however, was the choice of Spain after the increased virus statistics there and Spain's threatened treatment of Brits living there.

Choosing a site in the UK might have been an appreciated contribution to our hospitality industry rather than exporting finance.

Perhaps its time for the ordinary people to take a bit of realistic nationalism into their own hands as they did about 50 years ago when a mass consumer boycott of French French goods saw supermarkets reduce orders (product couldn't be sold) and a speedy return by France to the political negotiating table.

James Watson, Randolph Crescent, Dunbar

It’s a steel

The generosity of the Scottish government knows no bounds. It has provided more than £500 million of guarantees to Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel, which is seeking £170m from the UK government to refinance itself.

It has not received this because the very opaque structure of the company gives no assurance that the money would stay in the UK and protect British jobs.

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This seems to contradict what Mr Gupta told Fergus Ewing of the Scottish government only last week, who seems willing to rely on the word of the owner rather than carry out an investigation into the company’s finances.

While there is great importance attached to this industry and its jobs, I would imagine a cautious approach might be the best option, though, given the monies that the SNP seem able to throw about these days, perhaps finding another £170m would have been but a drop in the ocean.

Ken Currie, Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

COP26 silence

The Holyrood campaign is underway, so it was disappointing to note Anas Sarwar made no mention of the climate emergency in his Scotsman article of 30 May.

A debt of £150 billion to cover the cost of a Green Revolution is around 100 per cent of Scottish GDP yet, to date the only solution to repaying the debt is from Liberal MP Christine Jardine, who recommended retaining the UK grid until English consumers paid 92 per cent of the cost.

Does Scottish Labour endorse such a policy when it would require around 30 years for the Green Levy fund to clear the £150b project?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas



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