Nigel Farage could be a recruiting sergeant for independence cause - readers' letters

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage’s suggestion that he could be prime minister following the next General Election in 2029 fails to impress one reader

The egotism of Nigel Farage knows no end, the latest symptom being plotting his route to winning the keys to 10 Downing Street by 2029 (Scotsman, 18 June).

The merest possibility of that surely rouses a strong impulse to vote for Scottish independence. Long may he continue to ignore us.

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I was interested to read in the same edition of how the decision is reached as what should headline the front page. I would suggest that Nigel Farage is consigned to the sports' pages, as he is certainly gaming the system.

Ian Petrie, Edinburgh

Reform’s snake oil

Brexit is a toxic contamination and the Reform party is the flophouse of politics. Conservatives who meddle any longer with squalor and snake oil will bring themselves and their party to nothing.

During the 50 years when I was a Conservative activist and election worker, the Conservatives were for some of the time seen as a natural party of government, because they held the middle ground.

For the last ten years the Conservatives have acted increasingly like something from the fag-end of the Weimar Republic. The Conservatives have trashed their centrist heritage, but the EU hasn’t gone mad.

The political centre still has an outright majority in the European Parliament. The European Union remains the home of democratic peoples, and European citizenship is the largest freedom any people ever had. Liars and their fanbase squandered that freedom on behalf of UK citizens.

Cowards who used to be socialists, liberals and conservatives stand in the way of regaining European citizenship for the people.

The economy looks almost as large as it was ten years ago, but only if you measure it in sterling. Sterling has lost a third of its value both inside and outside Britain, and the public aren’t fooled.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland

Out of sight

Tony Blair says that Scottish independence is further away than ever (Scotsman, 17 June). However, it has always been out of sight. To the SNP, Scotland is a British colony that can stay or leave the Commonwealth as it wishes. However that is a fundamentally mistaken and deluded view.

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Scotland is an integral component of the UK, a founding member of Great Britain. It cannot unilaterally leave the Union; it could only separate from the rest of the UK with the consent of all the people of the UK, say in a referendum, that might allow renegotiation of the 1707 Treaty of Union (fat chance of that). Indeed, such a referendum was suggested by the House of Lords.

David Cameron made a mistake in agreeing to a referendum; he did not understand the legal position. He also erred in allowing the matter to be determined on a simple majority when such an important constitutional matter needed a two-thirds majority.

Let's have no more of this constitutional nonsense. Most people in Scotland do not want to break up the UK.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Blair’s prison

Tony Blair admits that devolution did what it was intended to do – keep Scotland imprisoned within the failing UK.

Blair introduced devolution under pressure from the European Commission to rectify the UK’s glaring democratic deficit where power was centralised in Westminster.

Blair crafted a devolution settlement that kept Scotland firmly tethered to Westminster. If the Scottish dog tries to run from its master, Westminster tugs on the leash to bring it back into line either with a Section 35 order or by removing any of the limited powers it granted.

Power devolved is power retained. That’s why devolution has been a dead-end.

The UK remains highly centralised. Power resides in a London parliament whose members are elected every five years via the unrepresentative first-past-the-post voting system. There’s no effective separation of powers, just the executive comprised of the Crown and the Government that has carte blanche to do whatever it wants.

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Devolution is a UK mini-me, based on UK parliamentary sovereignty, but with weaker powers. Scottish independence-supporting parties haven’t articulated a different constitutional approach for an independent Scotland from that of parliamentary sovereignty, when Scotland’s constitutional basis is popular sovereignty.

Popular sovereignty devolves power to the regions and municipalities and applies the principle of subsidiarity: anything that can be done at a lower level shouldn’t be done at a higher one.

Decentralised direct democracy would fit an independent Scotland like a glove and return power to the people.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Key questions

Before 4 July, John Swinney must answer the following questions in detail:

1. How is an independent Scotland to be financed to ensure Scots will be better off financially and socially?

2. How will an independent Scotland defend itself in an increasingly dangerous and volatile world?

How can Scots be expected to vote for separation, into a void, with the most important questions unanswered?

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire

Brexit bluster

In their campaigning, John Swinney and the rest of the SNP establishment constantly reference Brexit.

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I'm no fan of leaving the EU, but let's not forget that a vote for the nationalists in the 2014 referendum would have knowingly taken us out of the EU – at the time Alex Salmond utterly failed to produce any evidence to the contrary nor any indication from Brussels that an independent Scotland’s entry would have been in any way fast-tracked.

And little has changed. The SNP harp on about Brexit simply because they know Scots largely voted against it. Scotland's nine per cent deficit level (against the three per cent required by Brussels for joining members) means we couldn’t join without many years of austerity in the form of cuts to public services combined with tax increases.

So the SNP’s focus on Brexit is the pointless politics of grievance – they offer no realistic tangible solution, just another predictably negative anti-Westminster whine.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Manifesto mistake

The Labour Party says that one of the ways it will raise money is by reducing tax avoidance. It is strange that they don’t know that tax avoidance is perfectly legal and enjoyed by millions of people. They probably mean tax evasion, which is illegal. I wonder how many other basic mistakes can be found in their manifesto?

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

Labour lunacy

Despite appearances to the contrary, the wheels may be coming off Sir Keir Starmer’s bus. First of all, Labour won’t develop any more oil fields, so despair all you oil folk! The Chinese, Indians and Americans can develop their industries and pollute to their hearts’ content – oh, and make all the things we used to make – but we must stick to green nonsense, because some voters have had their brains removed. So no new oil.

Add to that the enticing prospect of the private education sector of the economy crashing, with no places in state schools for the tens of thousands of schoolchildren (sorry ‘students’) whose schools will shut without room for them in the state sector and it just gets better.

Maybe people will start waking up to Labour lunacy. It’s only marginally better than Nat nuttiness.

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Council fat cats

The Taxpayers’ Alliance recently released their latest edition of their Town Hall Rich List for 2022/23 revealing all the council employees with total remuneration over £100,000. Remuneration includes salary, bonuses, benefits in kind payments, loss of office, pension contributions and pension strain payments.

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There are 3,106 local authority employees paid over £100,000 and 175 of them over £200,000. In Scotland Aberdeen City has nine with an annual bill of £1.29 million and top salary £199,839. City of Edinburgh has 13 over £100,000 and the highest is £193,306. West Lothian has 13 over £100,000 with the top one on £186,370 and two on £163,013. However pride of place in Scotland must go to Glasgow City with 42 over £100,000 with the highest on £278,469, another five over £200,000 and ten on £185,022.

Councils plead poverty and increase council tax and there are potholes everywhere but they always seem to be able to increase their own salaries.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian

It’s a turn-off

One of the reasons people are turned off politics is the way politicians are aggressively interviewed on television.

The politician will be asked a question, and midway though his answer the interviewer will talk over him and interrupt with another question. Then, again, something he or she has said or posted in social media years ago will be brought up although it has no relevance to the general election, or to public policy. Some “star” interviewers seem to think they are more important than they really are. Of respect there is little. They will keep repeating things like "Yes or no, Prime Minister?" when the answer is really nuanced.

I want to hear what politicians have to say, not what the BBC or Sky News opinion-formers think we should hear.

William Loneskie, Lauder, Scottish Borders

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