Letter: Ireland's crisis puts focus on both unions

While Alexander McKay, Andrew HN Gray, and others who are content with the constitutional status quo appear to use every opportunity (Letters, 23 and 19 November) to remind us that we Scots wish to remain tied to a Union that in the opinions of many is no longer fit for purpose, they generally seem reluctant to support a referendum on this pivotal matter for the long-term future of Scotland.

Of course, if they truly had the conviction of their own words they would not feel the necessity to keep reminding us of what they are already certain we would decide if consulted.

Furthermore, besides the fact that it would seem to be rather patronising to be repeatedly telling people what they supposedly already know, it would also appear naive to assume that there is only one constitutional way forward for Scotland in today's dynamic but complex world where national economies are increasingly interdependent.

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What does appear to be more evident though with time - and Ireland's current economic situation brings this into focus - is that either Scotland should remain in a "British Union" that withdraws from the "European Union", or Scotland should withdraw from the "British Union" and perhaps seek independent membership of the "European Union".

Of course Messrs McKay, Gray and others who seem to welcome "big government" may claim that we can have the best of both worlds by retaining memberships of both of these "expensive clubs".

However, those with an objective vision for Scotland based on the economic realities of today's world may well conclude that the time is fast approaching for Scotland to have a referendum on its constitutional future, rather than simply accept the status quo or rely on the opinions of others who may have undeclared agendas.

Stan Grodynski


Longniddry, East Lothian

Alexander McKay (Letters, 23 November) writes that Scots can get no satisfaction from seeing Ireland being bailed out by the EU and the IMF". He does, however, take delight in what he sees as it resulting in "no break-up of the UK".

Pity the people in Scotland have not had the advantages the Irish have had for decades, and will have again, since the Irish economy is fundamentally in better shape than that of Britain. Pity that tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in Scotland, and more in the pipeline, due to the state of the British economy.

It seems that, as well his ability to ignore the staggering success of Norway - a nation more comparable to Scotland than Ireland is, Mr McKay suffers from a bad memory.Was it the IMF that bailed out a Labour-misgoverned Britain in the 1970s and will Britain, currently more than 1 trillion in debt, pay out more interest in two months than the cost of the Irish bail-out?

What a pity Mr McKay is happy to condemn what I take to be his homeland to continuing decline as part of Britain, rather than contemplate a modern, peaceful, forward-looking, well-resourced country deciding its own future.

Bill McLean


Dunfermline, Fife

Peter Jones (Comment, 23 November) touches on "Irish history" and "the corrupt complicity between government and business which had a large part in creating the property bubble".

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A private conversation with a Galway businessman a few years ago sheds some light on that "history" and "corrupt complicity".

He maintained that other nations which gained independence through bloodshed needed about a decade to integrate those of a violent mindset into mainstream society, whereas, almost a century after independence, Irish politicians were still gaining substantial power and influence from a "struggle" and violence they pretended not to support.

He maintained that the gangsterism and intimidation surrounding the financing of that struggle now tainted almost every aspect of the Irish business community. Most specifically he cited the abnormal influence of the "concrete industry" on Irish politicians.

They would not allow houses to be built of the timber frame system which is standard in most countries with a similar climate because that would reduce the concrete content by a massive 75 per cent. In return the politicians were rewarded with suitcases full of cash.

That we should be bailing out banks which naively lent money into that morass beggars belief.

Irvine Inglis



Bill Jamieson is too generous to the Euro protagonists (Comment, 23 November).

It is not merely "deeply flawed"; it was built on a downright lie, with the rules of its predecessor the ERM having been broken anent economic convergence and financial rectitude, even by Germany for a time, so if or when it fails it will be deservedly so.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews, Fife