Pig in a poke

ALONG with many others, I expect, I weary of the confident and often unsubstantiated assertions of the malcontents and obsessionists included in the minority of the population who support the pig in a poke that is the SNP’s case for independence.

I was struck by the recent comments of a descendant of a signatory to the American Declaration of Independence in relation to the debate in Scotland. He is Jim Alexander, the great (times four) grandson of the Reverend John Knox Witherspoon commemorated in his place of birth, East Lothian, and elsewhere as a founding father of the United States.

Mr Alexander, of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Society, is reported to have said: “Given the rise of the economy, the size of the population and so on, surely Scotland already gets the best of both worlds with a parliament in London and a parliament in Edinburgh for different issues.”

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As for the Rev Witherspoon, he really did have something to complain about.

Brian Cox

Shore Street

Dunbar, East Lothian

Your leader (“Tories’ war over Europe clouds deeper issues”, 8 May) suggests that these issues feed into the referendum debate. Unionist No campaigners propose that Scotland’s priority is to maintain the Union “regardless” of whether the UK “was in or out of the EU”.

This usefully, if perhaps inadvertently, clarifies the problem with the whole approach of the Better Together proposition: it is in effect a better together “regardless” campaign.

It is Better Together regardless of whether Britain is “in” or “out” of Europe. It is better together regardless of whether Britain is “in” or “out” of Afghanistan. It is better together regardless of whether or not Britain possesses Trident and regardless of whether or not the UK financial system or the banks have been rigorously regulated; regardless of whether Britain’s economic future continues disproportionately to depend on the (discredited) City of London; regardless of whether the British economy is flat-lining; regardless of how long economic failure is likely to persist; regardless of whether the welfare system serves the poor and disabled; regardless of whether the tax system has served best “aggressive”tax avoidance (if it is not actually blind to tax evasion).

And it is better together regardless of the slow, inexorable and relentless decline of Britain since the Second World War, with no end in sight; regardless of whether the resources of North Sea oil serves Scotland or continues to be squandered in Britain; and in the case of Scottish Labour, regardless of whether there is a permanent Tory government at Westminster.

This is Unionism in Scotland today, a mindless Unionism to be supported regardless of anything to inspire the young, comfort the old, protect the vulnerable; a Union regardless of any substantive content at all; a bleak, despairing Union: The Union Regardless.

John S Warren

Tulipan Court

Callander, Perthshire