Letters: Unions of any kind require consent

Recent pronouncements by the First Minister, by Nicola Sturgeon and, on Friday, by Stewart Hosie MP, have made it clear that an independent Scotland will have a formal currency union with the 60 million Britons who live south of the Border.

One can understand why the SNP has abandoned the euro, but I have not yet found out whether the UK government has agreed to such a union. As the Scottish Government has consistently attacked both Labour and coalition health, welfare, defence, foreign and, above all, economic policies, it would be strange for our neighbours to want a currency union with what will have become a foreign nation with radically different aims to theirs.

Is it right that the English, Welsh and Northern Irish should be asked to pick up the bill if an independent Scotland, highly reliant on the public sector, should get into trouble?

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I think they are entitled to a referendum on whether to join such a “sterling area union”. As things stand at the moment, the SNP has told them that they appear to have no choice.

Perhaps it is time ask the SNP spokespersons a direct question: “Has Westminster agreed to this?” When Alistair Darling did question it on television last Friday, Mr Hosie used the usual “This is scaremongering” tactic.

It is not. A union of any kind requires consent. Surely the SNP knows that.

(Dr) Roger I Cartwright

Turretbank Place

Crieff, Perthshire

The recent launch of the Yes Scotland campaign has been criticised for being long on emotion and sentiment, and short on facts and analysis.

With that thought in mind, it is interesting to consider that even if the campaign succeeds in signing up a million voters to the pledge, this would still represent a little under 25 per cent of the Scottish electorate.

Far from guaranteeing a vote for independence in any future referendum, as Alex Salmond has claimed, this figure actually represents less than the proportion of the voting population who said they would vote in favour of independence in Alistair Darling’s recent opinion poll.

Many people have said that the SNP’s plans don’t add up: they may be right.

Peter Muirhead

Kilmacolm

Inverclyde

The repeated failure of the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest has little to do with the singer or the song, but the country of the entrant.

Year after year we see countries who are on friendly terms with each other awarding each other points in a contest which has become more a demonstration of their political relationships than of talent.

Yet, it is a damning indictment of the way the UK is viewed in Europe – with few friends but an over-inflated view of itself – that sees it produce such low scores.

An independent Scotland would not only be an entrant to such a contest but, with the retention of the social union, one great advantage for the rest of the UK is that we would be one of the few assured of awarding it high scores.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

It concerns me greatly that Alex Salmond should believe that a 51 per cent vote in favour of Scotland becoming an independent nation would be sufficient support to justify him proceeding to take Scotland out of the Union.

In my view it would be wholly unacceptable that such an important issue could possibly proceed on such a marginal result.

The result of the vote could lead to the most vital decision concerning the future of Scotland that has been made in the past 300 years and, if such a major change is to be made, it surely must have the overwhelming support of voters, not some scraping home by a whisker – which would be no mandate at all to proceed with such a major and irrevocable change.

In my view, a proper acceptable mandate would be represented by a vote of around 70 per cent in favour if it was to demonstrate a real enthusiasm for change.

It is all very well for a single vote to be considered acceptable in parliamentary voting. In that case we get to vote again a few years later and can change our minds, but that is not the case with this vote on the Union.

There are other troubling features involved. Why does Mr Salmond seem to believe that people below the present voting age should be given the right to vote in this particular event?

Our young people no doubt have many excellent abilities but one thing they do not have is experience at the University of Life. Through no fault of their own, many have not been exposed in their comparatively short lifetimes to the enormous complexity of the issues involved. A vote of this magnitude cannot be based on a simple liking for Scotland or the words of patriotic songs or any thoughts that income from oil and whisky will pay the bills.

If, in a normal election, three months would be considered to be an acceptable period for politicians to put their case to the electorate, why on earth do we need a further two years for this vote?

We have already had several months of discussion on this matter and I, for one, am starting to be turned off by the never-ending debate.

Is this inordinate delay before the vote takes place another ploy in the hope that, if folk hear something repeated often enough, they will end up sufficiently brainwashed to vote for a particular view?

A danger might be that, after another two years of this, we will all be so fed up with it that we will not bother voting at all.

Martin E Payne

Kinrossie

Perthshire