Let’s have a trial period of Independence – Letters

Forget meaningless polls, do real research, says a reader

Should we pretend Scotland is a solo act for a couple of years?
Should we pretend Scotland is a solo act for a couple of years?

A survey by Panelbase has predicted that Nicola Sturgeon is set to win 74 seats at the next Holyrood election, up from the present 61. The same poll said 54 per cent of Scots now back separation. The Panelbase poll contacted 1,026 voters in Scotland over four days. There are 4 million people who are eligible to vote in Scotland so how can this minuscule 1,026 be representative?

Regardless of next year’s Scottish elections, SNP supporters will still be demanding another independence referendum. Why not promise one but with the precondition that there is a two-year trial independence run to feel what independence would be like?

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All funds given by Westminster to Scotland are stopped and all funds given by Scotland to Westminster are stopped, since this is what would happen on independence. No Barnett formula or extra funds to Scotland. The multi-millions of constraint payments made to developers for switching off Scottish wind turbines would be paid by Scottish electricity users, not as happens at present, where 90 per cent is added to the English electricity bills. After two years, will the flame of independence still be burning?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Scottish enough?

The editorial in The Scotsman quotes Nicola Sturgeon as saying: “If you want to live in Scotland and consider yourself Scottish that’s fine by me.” (15 July).

Seriously, you need to become Scottish to live here?

Lewis Finnie, Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh

Condemn ‘Bravehearts’

Perhaps we should take First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that ’’there is not an anti-English bone in my body’’ at face value (Scotsman, 15 July). I am sure she means it.

However, I am not so sure how that equates with those in her party – and please, fellow correspondents, do not insult the intelligence with the ‘tiny minority’ line – who have demonstrably some very serious anti-English elements among them.

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Consider her less than decisive condemnation of the Border Bravehearts attempting to intimidate English visitors or that there was not one word of criticism of the anti-English obscenities displayed prominently in a recent All Under one Banner march in Glasgow – one of whose marchers was, of course, her Justice Minister – would suggest the First Minister is playing politics again.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Surefire ships

According to John Lloyd (Letters, 15 July) our two super-carriers are “vulnerable to attack”. Mr Lloyd should consider their five layers of protection to be fair.

First there is their situational awareness. The Artisan radar has a range of 100 nautical miles. The carriers also have long range air radar able to spot enemy planes at 200 nautical miles. Surveillance Poseidon aircraft and satellites and secret intelligence from GCHQ and the Five Eyes also contribute to awareness.

The second line of protection is their Lightning aircraft, which are the most advanced anywhere.

Third, the carriers are protected by Type 45 destroyers with what has been described as “possibly the best air defence system afloat anywhere in the world”, with batteries of surface to air missiles.

Fourth, anti-submarine defence is provided by hunter-killer submarines attached to the task force, towed array sonars by Type 23 and Type 26 frigates, and Merlin helicopters.

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Fifth, close support against small craft is provided by Phalanx guns firing 4,500 rounds per minute, and numerous machine guns and mini-guns on the carriers and, of course, on the battle fleet.

Admiral Lord West has said that the capability of the carriers and our nuclear submarines make war less likely but their capability also means that, in a confrontation with Russian or Chinese naval power, the result would be victory for the Royal Navy. The carriers and other Royal Navy ships also project Britain’s influence and relationships abroad and provide humanitarian assistance globally.

Alas, the Royal Navy has been starved of resources over the last decade and more. Thirty carriers of the Queen Elizabeth class could be built for the projected cost of HS2.

William Loneskie, Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder, Scottish Borders

Blow cash away

Ian Moir correctly highlights the fiscal lunacy of wind farms (Letters, 13 July).

The forgotten fact is that these devices were never viable, and would not have existed in the first place without the subsidies provided for their construction, and now their owners milk us again in the form of constraint payments.

A better description of the whole sorry process would be “subsidy farming, with a sideline in producing part-time electricity”.

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Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

McColl to action

When one of your own economic advisers criticises the business acumen of SNP politicians, it really should be a wake-up call. Nicola Sturgeon and her MSPs should be spending some time listening to Jim McColl, an experienced businessman of many years who is warning that Scotland could lose half of all small and medium-sized enterprises if they are not helped to survive.

The First Minister, however, claims not to have seen his comments. Is this more evidence that Ms Sturgeon finds it impossible to take any advice from those who don’t say what she wants to hear?

Jane Lax, Aberlour, Moray

Taxing times

The Chancellor is looking at all aspects of the tax system to see where he can increase the government’s revenue to counter the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.

Capital gains tax and inheritance tax may be easy targets, but many investors have already lost 30 per cent of their wealth and it may take some time to regain their financial position prior to the lockdown.

Public sector employees pay a maximum of 14 per cent less tax, while the tax payer pays 32 per cent and 40 per cent for police pensions, and many private sector employees do not have a pension or they have a money purchase pension. There is scope to make the system more equal, but any changes will no doubt be hotly disputed.

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A Wealth tax would get a great deal of support from most people, particularly those who would not be caught in the net, but some countries which have such a tax have found that people and their taxes very quickly flee the country.

The triple lock on the state pension was an excellent way to garner votes, but circumstances have now changed and it needs to be reviewed.

Vat and fuel tax are the best ways to generate more cash – everyone pays – but the Chancellor needs to put on his thinking cap and come up with an effective means of saving the economy – there are not many options.

James Macintyre, Clarendon Road, Linlithgow

Brexit strategy

Congratulations on your 16 July editorial, as it is utter madness to rush ahead with a damaging no-deal Brexit.

As you reported on 3 June, Scotland’s economy is facing a £3 billion hit if the UK does not extend the Brexit transition period beyond the end of this year and Scotland’s GDP could be up to 1.1 per cent lower after two years as a result of the loss of economic activity from leaving the EU – and that’s on top of the horrendous impact of Covid-19.

To add insult to injury, the UK government issued a press release on their power grab of EU competencies before informing the devolved governments of its contents.

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Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit and why did Labour abstain on Wednesday’s House of Commons motion seeking an extension to the Brexit transition period which sends out the message that they, too, want to get a quick Brexit done as much as the Tories?

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

What’s the beef?

So, Neil Shand of the National Beef Association has a bone to pick with the Government ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative as noted in your farming column (15 July). Surely it is not for the government to intervene in caterers ‘probably well-established supply chains and supply agreements to determine where they procure supplies.

If he thinks a well-devised PR campaign would help, it seems to me the best way forward would be for his own and other agricultural bodies to fund such a campaign imploring the public to choose their food supplier according to where they buy their ingredients, preferably using locally grown and sourced products, benefiting local producers and reducing food miles at the same time.

Neil Robertson, Gracemount Road, Liberton, Edinburgh

The lost supper

Edinburgh will lose a much-loved institution with the closure of Henderson’s restaurant, wine bar and outpost at St John’s Church undercroft.

Generations of students, families, friends and festival goers will miss the colourful salads and vegetarian dishes. The founders, Janet and Mac Henderson, had a vision way ahead of their time. We will miss it and a gap will be created in Hanover Street.

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Fiona Garwood, Ormidale Terrace, Edinburgh

Poor record

The National Records of Scotland tell us that we have the third highest death rate from Covid, 19, 733 deaths per million, in the world. The only worse countries are Belgium (843) and England (767).​

We have also been told by independent sources that over 50 per cent of these deaths could have been avoided if the Scottish Government hadn’t concealed the news of the Covid outbreak at the Nike conference in Edinburgh and hadn’t moved older patients from hospitals to care homes without any testing.

Yet people still say Ms Sturgeon is handling the pandemic well... astonishing.

Jim Houston, Winton Gardens, Edinburgh

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