Letter: Brighter outlook

THE renewed campaign in Cornwall for an elected assembly is interesting (your report, 5 January). It suggests that support for regional government in England, thought to have been killed off by the negative vote in North-east England some years ago, has not in fact evaporated.

A federal solution for the UK, in which power is devolved and local regional and national diversity is respected, looks very attractive, certainly in comparison to a centralised and rather authoritarian, independent Scottish state, which seems to be the direction of travel under the SNP government.

The Cornish development, along with the planned reform of the House of Lords, reinforces the need for the Scottish referendum debate to be much more outward looking, taking cognisance of the constitutional implications of game-changing developments elsewhere in the United Kingdom, Europe and, indeed, the wider world.

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More debate about the sort of country we want to live in and how we earn our living in the world, rather than the simplistic nationalist spin of independence as the answer to all problems, would be welcome.

Jim Sillars to his credit has made a serious contribution by bringing an international perspective to the argument. It’s pretty clear that when the chips are down small countries do not steer the EU boat and an independent Scotland in Europe would have to fall in line with Franco-German priorities. Mr Sillar’s solution is for Scotland to become a small independent country outside the EU, detached from major international partnerships although clearly not immune from global pressures, especially when the oil runs out.

This does not seem to be in the tradition of Scottish global involvement. Or, of course, there is the option of Scotland remaining a confident, influential partner in the United Kingdom and encouraging this most successful political union to stop carping from the sidelines and actually use its unquestionable clout to help lead Europe in a more democratic direction.

A United Kingdom that evolves rather than disintegrates – is that not a future more relevant to the 21st century than reinventing the Scottish nation state?

Joan Mitchell


Newton Stewart