New year, old hat

Alex Salmond’s New Year speech (your report), offered the same old national separatist message that we can achieve our ambitions if only Scotland was independent.

While citing great Scottish innovators such as Logie Baird, Alexander Fleming and James Watt, he failed to mention they lived in a United Kingdom that didn’t restrict their abilities to invent.

He further suggests that through separation we can better harness “the skills of our people, the richness of our heritage, the beauty of our landscape, the wealth of our resources”, but this populist soundbite doesn’t fit in with the actions of the SNP administration.

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Under Salmond’s leadership it has recently cut college budgets, cut the Scottish Natural Heritage budget, and refused to underground the Beauly to Denny line around the iconic Wallace Monument.

All are examples of negative actions speaking much louder than the empty words and unfulfilled promises the SNP can no longer hide. The wealth of our resources is the only area left for the SNP to exploit in pursuit of so-called independence.

I await with great interest its “if only” qualifications that will no doubt be built into a fabricated balance sheet ahead of the referendum.

Galen Milne

Ochiltree

Dunblane

The referendum on independence will come later rather than sooner, and probably just before the next scheduled Scottish parliamentary elections.

There are two reasons for this: firstly, it will take Mr Salmond until then to address the ever-growing list of questions on the prospective new status of an independent Scotland in everything from political affiliations in Europe to the armed forces, new currency, relationships with the Bank of England, UK Border Agency controls at the border with England, etc.

At the moment these matters are still open to speculation, which is not the ideal situation. It cannot be too much to ask what we are voting for.

Secondly, with independence being the core policy of the SNP, indeed its very reason for existence, if the people of Scotland were to vote “no”, this would be effectively the loss of its mandate to govern, and a leader with any shred of political integrity would have to go to the country.

Why go for broke now and possibly sacrifice another couple of years in power? Better to wait until an election is due anyway, and there is nothing to lose.

Walter J Allan

Colinton Mains Drive

Edinburgh