I’ve never heard anyone challenge this assertion, maybe because Nationalists dislike the idea of the Scottish electorate ever wanting to hand back decision-making powers having once achieved them. But what is this idea of irreversibility based upon?
It isn’t precedent. There’s no precedent for any nation, having once gained self- government from the UK, requesting to surrender its independence again and being refused.
It can’t be logic. David Cameron (and other UK party leaders) have repeatedly voiced their desire to keep Scotland in the Union.
The hurdles placed by successive UK governments in the way of Scotland getting any form of self-government are witness to London’s reluctance to give up control.
Logic would then indicate that if we did break away and then wanted back we would be willingly reabsorbed.
If nobody can demonstrate why Scotland voting for independence should be irreversible then this is just another bogeyman to scare the children.
I wholeheartedly agree with Alan Massie’s call for both sides in the referendum debate to moderate their language in the long campaign that lies ahead of us (Perspective, 30 May).
In this spirit I hope nevertheless he will forgive me if I gently chide him on attempting to pull the wool over our poor, benighted, patriotic eyes in relation to the alleged difficulties of including a “second question” on Devo-Max or Devo-Plus on the ballot paper. In his view the main difficulty is that “while independence may properly be regarded as a matter for Scotland alone… the terms and extent of further devolution would require the approval of other parts of the UK”.
But surely it is utter nonsense to imply that only additional devolution would have consequences for the rest of the UK whereas a decisive Scottish preference for independence would have absolutely no such consequences.
This is specifically recognised in the Scottish Government’s consultation document, Your Scotland, Your Referendum, which envisages post-referendum negotiations “following a vote for independence” to deal with “the terms of independence” as well as transitional arrangements.
If instead there was a positive vote in response to a second question on additional powers, similar – though not as extensive – post-referendum negotiations would presumably occur.
I am sure a shrewd commentator like Mr Massie understands all this perfectly well, but for reasons best known to himself prefers on this occasion to play the classic “daft laddie” card.
IAN O BAYNE
Allan Massie’s article is headed “Yes or No, we all want what’s best for Scotland”. Unionists would agree but would add the words, “within the UK relationship”.
For Unionists, it is simply not good enough for Scotland to behave as if it only cares for itself.
What kind of relationship can last if it sees one partner behave selfishly, with no regard for the other partner or, in this case, partners?
Further asymmetrical devolution would continue to damage the internal logic and cohesion of the UK relationship and Scotland would risk demonstrating contempt for its other partners, with whom it is bound intimately.
Unionists – or what I call “Britainists” – should oppose any further asymmetrical devolution and instead should concentrate on finding ways to maintain and develop the Union relationship.
The disappearance from the recent SNP scene of the previously ubiquitous Joan McAlpine MSP is most interesting.
Her lack of prominence in recent events may of course have been caused by the “Lunchgate’’ affair.
Many observers had thought – before the “anti-Scottish’’ and ‘’Lunchgate’’ faux pas – that she had set her eyes in the longer term on the First Minister’s throne.
Of course, that would have come in the wound-licking period after the referendum was lost and presuming Mr Salmond decided to move on.
Ms McAlpine’s ambition no doubt is alarming deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon.
Be that as it may, the usually publicity-mad Ms McAlpine’s disappearance off the radar during the damp squib “launch’’ last week would suggest she is seen now as a liability to the cause.
New Cut Rigg