Letters: EU scaremongers

ON SATURDAY, Lord Stuart Rose kicked off the campaign to keep the UK inside the European Union by telling us “the choice in the coming referendum is between remaining stronger, safer and better off inside Europe, or taking a leap into the unknown, risking our prosperity, threatening our safety, and diminishing our influence in the world”.

This may be an impressively succinct summary of the pluses and minuses but, unfortunately for Lord Rose – and merely by following last year’s tirelessly-repeated SNP mantras – the out campaign can simply assert that all of the positives listed will inevitably continue (or even increase), post-divorce, whilst all of the negatives can just as easily be dismissed, out of hand, as “scaremongering”.

Keith Gilmour

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Netherton Gate, Glasgow

Certain impact

More evidence of the negative impact of uncertainty caused by the referendum in Scotland should come as no surprise (Your report, 10 October).

Clearly, many of those overseas businesses contemplating investment in Scotland during 2012 and 2013, decided to either hold off or go elsewhere when there was such a lack of clarity over what the future held.

Coincidently, I attended an excellent seminar in Glasgow at the weekend when Canadian constitutional expert James Alcock explained the many parallels between our position and that in Canada during the 1980s and ‘90s as the separatist movement in Quebec pursued successive referendums.

Ultimately, it was not just that people became fed up with the prospect of never ending debate and rancour that led to the collapse of the vote for the separatist Parti Québécois. It was also the clear economic cost to Quebec of prolonged uncertainty, including sharp reductions in new investment, and some businesses moving out of Quebec altogether.

The consequential lack of job prospects convinced many that enough was enough.

Meanwhile on yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon again says on the one hand that she “respects” the outcome of our recent referendum, but then on the other, that she will feel free to ignore it and have a re-run just as soon as opinion polls suggest she has a reasonable chance of success. Apparently ‘respect’ is something that lasts only as long as it suits the SNP’s ambitions.

The question for the SNP approaching their coming conference is just how much damage are they prepared to do to Scotland as they try to get their own way?

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire

Cameron speech

I was interested to hear David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

He received great applause from the audience when he said he wanted to build a Britain that was free of all forms of discrimination. He conveniently forgot to mention that his own party’s recent amendments to the inheritance tax (IHT) rules discriminate against every home owner in the country who is not married with children.

Mr Cameron has changed the IHT rules solely to make sure the estates of married couples with family homes worth between £650,000 and £1 million pay no IHT on their property with those in £1m homes saving the £145k IHT tax they paid previously.

There are just two other demographic groups who are homeowners, namely childless couples whose estates would be liable for £140k IHT on a £1m home when they die and single people whose estates would be liable for £270k IHT on a £1m home. Absolutely no-one else in the country derived any benefit from the new proposals

I would be interested to know how many cabinet ministers have estates that are eligible for the £145k IHT tax relief payment and how many are not.

One thing is for sure. Mr Cameron’s speech was a classic example of us requiring to watch what politicians do rather listening to what they say.

Stephen Woods


Note-worthy tune

Regardless of one’s view of Flower of Scotland (I personally like it and can’t see the argument against it), it would be nice if the World Cup organisers had bothered to play it correctly.

Admittedly, the flattened seventh at the end is a problem for bagpipes, but surely it is not beyond the wit of man to play our anthem as written by Ronnie Williamson in a huge world event. The flattened seventh gives the tune its true Scottish sound and should be played at all costs.

Brian Bannatyne- Scott

Murrayfield Drive, Edinburgh

Wealth gap

The continuing rise in the gap between the richest and poorest in our society is irrelevant unless it derives principally from one of the opposing sides.

I’m neither rich nor poor, but I’d bet the difference between me and the best-off is even greater than that between the poorest and myself.

The salient feature of the argument is that a sizeable body of our population exists on insufficient means, and it is the government’s responsibility to correct that. Unfortunately, much of it derives from official policy, as easily witnessed currently.

The coming EU referendum provides a case in point with the appointment as leader of the In campaign of Lord Stuart Rose. As a proud free market economist, he favours hiring cheaper immigrant labour even at the expense of native workers.

Presumably David Cameron – the ultimate campaign leader – agrees with him, and in his determination to retain EU membership he will undoubtedly claim whatever concessionary crumbs he causes to trickle down to us from the EU table as sufficient to justify his aims.

In the interests of our illusory democracy, Mr. Cameron owes it to us to state clearly which concessions he will stipulate on our behalf.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road, Tranent

Musical choices

Contrary to your list of Five Scottish bands you may have forgotten (Website, 9 October), it is next to impossible for most Scots to forget about Del Amitri or Edwyn Collins’ Orange Juice considering the monotony with which they are played by Radio Clyde 2, every Scottish public office and shop’s favourite piped musak outlet.

Indeed Roll To Me and Collins solo hit A Girl Like You are usually played back to back with Deacon Blue’s Dignity as some sort of Blessed Trinity at least once an hour.

If looking for true obscurity, it has to be the Pastels: over three decades they have influenced not merely musicians around the globe, but painters, novelists, film-makers, and even beer producers and computer game manufacturers.

If there’s any justice, before they hang up their guitars Nothing To Be Done will be the worldwide hit it long deserved to be.

Mark Boyle

Linn Park Gardens, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Howe’s standards

I understand George Osborne is a great fan of the late Geoffrey Howe. Well how about living up to Geoffrey Howe’s very high standards? I cannot imagine Geoffrey doing nothing to get back all the money which was lost by RBS in the US.

No-one has taken any serious steps to look into where the money actually went over the Fanny Mae Freddy Mac scandal. George Osborne has been Chancellor for six of the years since then.

Valuable time and evidence is being lost during his time as Chancellor.

Perhaps the Scottish Parliament would care to relaunch their own inquiry and take it on again for all our sakes?

Nigel Boddy

Fife Road Darlington

Football fantasy

Poor old Donald MacLeod (Letters, 10 October) clearly reads too much Nationalist propaganda about the Unionists’ view of Scotland. Whereas, I will admit that my knowledge of and interest in football of any kind is almost nil, I am very aware that it is the SNP who are behind the insult to Scotland that they claim to be a Unionist position.

“Too small, too backward and too poor” cry Nationalists. Yup. They do. They, like Mr MacLeod, probably believe that it is the view of the winning majority of Scots, or what, for the sake of simplicity, I call the 55.

Actually, it was over 55 per cent, but let’s not crow. In fact, Unionists believe that it is best for Scotland that we stick with our “friends and neighbours” in the rest of the United Kingdom, to use a

Nationalist description.

As we are virtually identical genetically to our fellow-countrymen and women in England, share 100 per cent of our territory with them as well as the language we all speak and earn £46.7 billion of our exports from the rest of the UK, compared to less than £12bn to the next ten biggest EU markets, are there any guesses as to where Scotland’s best long-term interests lie?

We have the choice simply because, shoulder-to-shoulder with our other British fellow-countrymen, we have defeated every threat to our security from the 18th century to the present day. That has given us the freedom to choose and has also allowed the descendants of the nations who threatened us over those centuries the same freedom.

Perhaps, when Mr MacLeod wishes to think how fantastic life would be for an independent Scotland, in the fact-free world of Scottish Nationalism, he should remember when Scotland got ideas about how unbeatable our football team was in a World Cup in 1978. I am sure that he will understand that reference.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh