No camp needs to get its act together
Andrew Whitaker’s twin articles, “Sturgeon hits back at Darling’s criticisms” and “Poll shows strongest support for a third way – more devolution” (6 January), put in a nutshell some of my own concerns regarding the current independence debate.
Although a firm opponent of Scottish independence, I actually agree with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in that the Better Together campaign really does need to firm up and agree a strategy among the component parts of this disparate grouping and make it clear to voters what the alternatives are after a No vote in September.
Mr Whitaker quotes a recent poll showing that 32 per cent of adults in Scotland would much prefer more devolution as opposed to independence or even the status quo.
Although this “third way” is not an option on the referendum ballot paper, the Better Together campaign needs, as a matter of urgency, to make the “more devolution” option an agreed policy between all the unionist parties.
This needs to be done now. Further delay only puts the Yes vote in a stronger position; the outcome of this referendum is vital to the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom and should by now be devoid of party political posturing, sitting on fences or in-fighting between those who purport to be fighting for “the Union”.
It is interesting that Neil Sinclair (Letters, 7 January) would argue that those supporting a Yes vote in the referendum are demonstrating a lack of “dignity and respect” towards the people of Scotland in advocating a face-to-face debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron.
The basis of his perspective would appear to be that the people of Scotland are not sufficiently intelligent to distinguish between the relative strength of the arguments put forward by our top government ministers and any personal antipathy towards Mr Cameron and the Conservative Party.
Given that many supporters of a No vote appear to have great difficulty in separating their personal antipathy towards Mr Salmond and the SNP from the referendum debate, this is perhaps not surprising.
However, I would respectfully suggest to Mr Sinclair that such an attitude is not only disparaging of the intelligence of the people of Scotland but diverts attention from discussion of the hypocrisy of a Prime Minister who takes every opportunity to lead the “fight for the Union” from the comfort of his “war office” while seeking every excuse to avoid the heat of battle in the trenches.
I fully agree with Nicola Sturgeon that we need more answers about the likely consequences of a No vote in the referendum. So, to add to her questions, if we vote No, will the SNP lose its whole raison d’être and disband?
Will Salmond, Sturgeon et al resign?
Even if they lose by just one vote, will they promise not to raise the question of independence again for a generation?
Will they at the very least shut up about independence, stop trying to blame Westminster for everything, and get on with the job they are elected to do: running our everyday affairs?
I suspect that it is wishful thinking that we will get any straight answers to these questions, as with so many others.