A new question for the referendum

Ian Ross (Letters, 26 December) is quite right in that too much government can be worse than poor government.

Since devolution we now have 129 MSPs, 52 MPs from the next review and six MEPs. Some 187 very highly paid politicians and their support structure in a country of 5 million people seems a rather expensive luxury.

With most of the day-to-day business now conducted in the Scottish Parliament, one wonders what the Scottish MPs do all day.

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MPs from England must also wonder what their colleagues from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland do when by varying amounts their work is carried out by their respective assemblies.

Aside from the unfairness to English MPs who have to look after all their constituents’ problems while Scottish MPs can refer the bulk of the problems to the MSPs, there is the question of why it takes 129 MSPs to do part of the job done by 72 MPs before devolution. Looking at the standard of debate and decision-making perhaps quantity rather than quality was not a good choice.

Perhaps the referendum should ask a single straight question, independence or the scrapping of devolution and returning to a single administration in Westminster. This would solve the West Lothian Question completely.

Bruce D Skivington


Gairloch, Wester Ross

How delighted I was to see Clark Cross (Letters, 26 December) ask pertinent questions about Alex Orr. Is Mr Orr paid by the SNP?

His profusion of letters, all heavily slanted towards the SNP and its policies, purport to be from a concerned member of the public and never mention the writer’s political career.

As a twice failed SNP list candidate, as well as having failed to be elected as a councillor, is he paid by the SNP to “spread the word” and give the impression of being a non-party-political?

Mr Orr is as entitled to his point of view as anyone else. But if he is writing as the SNP activist he undoubtedly is, I think the readers of your newspaper deserve to be told.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg


It WAS with much bemusement that I noted the comments by Clark Cross (Letters, 26 December) that an independent Scotland could not on its own have bailed out the Scottish banks, and that our renewable energy policy would not survive without being heavily subsidised by those living south of the Border. On the bank issue – putting aside the matter of whether an independent Scotland would have got into this mess in the first place – by international convention when banks operate in more than one country the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks.

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In the case of RBS, roughly 90 per cent of its operations are in England and 10 per cent in Scotland. The impact of failing to act would therefore have been immense south of the Border.

As an example, in Europe the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France came together to help out the Fortis and Dexia banks operating across their borders.

Mr Cross then goes onto criticise the potential of renewable energy in an independent Scotland. Scotland is already a net exporter of electricity, and in terms of renewable energy subsidies he unfortunately fails to recognise the fact that on independence Scotland has the opportunity to become the biggest exporter of low-carbon electricity in Europe, selling this into other markets.

Such narrow nationalism as exhibited by Mr Cross has no place in 21st-century Scotland, and let us all use 2012 to talk Scotland up and not, as some do, continually talk our nation down.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace