Would I now travel north to visit Scotland? I think not. Would I have investments in Scottish companies if a border came into being? Never.The reason is the rhetoric which we hear coming from our neighbours in the far north. It is so filled with hate. Whilst I am an ardent supporter of us all still living side by side, as we have for the last 300 years despite our differences, I am getting very tired of listening to Ian Blackford’s rants in Westminster.If there really is a majority who think as he does, let Scotland leave the Union – and good riddance!
Jim Bell, Heol Y Dwr, Hay on Wye
I did chuckle reading Joyce McMillan’s latest column (Perspective, 14 May). As a supporter of independence she has decided that “alleged weaknesses in the case for independence” must now be addressed. Specifically, she is looking for the SNP to publish its position on borders, currency and pensions. She ought to add to that list access to markets and balancing public expenditure with tax revenue.
This request from Ms McMillan brought to mind a scene from the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Mel Gibson’s character, Max, makes his perilous way along the outside of a runaway train until he can speak to the engine driver, Pig Killer, through the open window.
Max: “So what’s the plan?”
Pig Killer (laughing): “Plan? There ain’t no plan.”
George Rennie, Inverness
Many of those who voted for a nationalist party at the recent Scottish election must be wondering whether they had taken leave of their senses only days after the result was announced. There are still no answers to the big questions about currency, central bank, borders with the rest of the UK, getting into the EU (if it still exists) and so forth. However, the things that really take the biscuit are Joyce McMillan opining that the Conservatives have caused “the unnecessary pain of austerity”, for which read “giving billions of pounds to the SNP which are never spent on the Scottish people as the Conservatives intended, but which are stuck in the bank”. She adds that the same Conservatives are wrapped “in a cloud of nostalgic Union Jack patriotism”, when Scottish nationalists wrap themselves in an even more nostalgic Saltire and want to turn the clock back 700 years.
Then, we have two Alba MPs who have collected £50,000 accommodation expenses since 2019 when they were SNP MPs, with Kenny MacAskill alone costing us £1,711 a month to rent a London flat that he doesn’t live in. Of course, Mr MacAskill, MP for East Lothian, doesn’t live in his constituency either! Why, then, did gullible voters there vote for him?
Andrew HN Gray, Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh
While fully sympathising with Simon Francis (Letters, 14 May) over Kenny MacAskill's apparent neglect of his East Lothian constituency, I would not support the axing of the latter's Perspective column. Where else would one get the Olympian take on Scottish politics? Perhaps, however, Mr MacAskill could explain why last Thursday he chose to wax lyrical on the apparent demise of Labour without even a passing, and one would hope, very human, reference to the fate of Alba and its leadership?
John Wood, The Croft, St Boswells
It’s time to talk
I agree with David Hamill’s (Letters, 13 May) regarding the need for politicians and voters to remove their blinkers. I was a candidate at the 2019 Westminster election in Mr Hamill’s constituency and was heartened that then the East Lothian Scottish Liberal Democrat team increased its vote share by a substantial margin.
However, I am now tearing what is left of my hair out as I witness my party and other parties’ lack of gumption in the wake of the Holyrood elections. The only person on the stage who seems to be talking sense and taking the initiative is Gordon Brown. Of course, a large portion of the electorate wants another referendum while an equally large part opposes this move. Of course, Scotland’s constitutional position has changed since the UK left the EU. Is it too much to hope that we might learn from past mistakes? No party and no believer in democracy should be afraid of a referendum conducted on sensible terms. I suggest these terms could include the enfranchisement of all those born in Scotland who, presumably in the event of independence, would be eligible for a Scots passport; a threshold of 50 per cent of the electorate, not just those who bother to vote; and a two-part vote with the first on the principle and the second on the negotiated terms, assuming a green light at stage one. This does not have to be done in a hurry: let’s take our time and get it right.
Willie Rennie, Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar, Patrick Harvie and Nicola Sturgeon, please wake up and start talking to each other before we hit the rocks. We deserve better than this. Well done Gordon Brown for showing us a possible way.
Jaw jaw not war war.
Robert O’Riordan, Hill Road, Gullane
It’s hard to believe that the Gordon Brown of old would be so naive about Conservatism as is his Our Scotland’s Future campaign (Perspective, 10 May). Let’s imagine, if we can, that this campaign to convince “middle Scotland” of a middle way between nationalism and a “muscular unionism” is successful. What happens next? Nothing, so long as the Conservatives are in power at Westminster, which could be for a very long time. A proposal for a very different UK, which devolves more power not just to Scotland but to English regions, is going nowhere.Brown’s idea that this neo-Thatcherite, Brexiteer government could embrace principles of “empathy... reciprocity... solidarity... cooperation” is as laughable as Willie Rennie’s claim that he would “persuade” Boris Johnson to rejoin the E.U.The curious thing about this campaign is that it targets Scots when it is surely English voters who need convincing about constitutional reform. This suggests a different, underlying intention; to diminish support for Scottish independence with an empty promise, boost the prospects of Scottish Labour and resurrect from here the party he used to lead. It’s more about saving UK Labour than saving the UK.
Robert Farquharson, Lee Crescent, Edinburgh
The D'Hondt PR system attempts to allocate seats in the Parliament roughly in proportion to the votes cast, but it makes a poor job of it. If each party got seats in proportion to the votes cast for them, the SNP would have only 57 seats (-7), the Tories 29 (-2), Labour 25 (+3), the Liberal Democrats 8 (+4) and the Greens 6 (-2). Four seats would have gone to others. The result is a poor reflection of votes cast; in fact it distorts public opinion. A switch to the Single Transferable Vote PR system would surely get a more proportional and fairer result.
Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh
McVitie’s, the biscuit manufacturer, has decided to depart Scotland. Anyone not seeing the significance of this announcement with the SNP in power in Scotland again and therefore five more years of uncertainty and grievance and continuing threats of referendums and borders, are being wilfully blind. It gives no pleasure, even for a pro-UK supporter, to say that McVitie’s are only the first of many.
We should look at Canada. It was for this very reason the Quebec separatist bandwagon came to a grinding halt and the press for separation, once as strong as it is in Scotland at present, came to an end. When businesses start pulling out and jobs disappear, the time for fantasising comes to an end and even the most zealous nationalist must stop and think.
Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh
The latest Scotsman has some of the best writing in a newspaper I have seen in a long time. Impeccable English! But, please, Scots, try making up your minds whether you want independence, or not; stop moaning, and give us poor sassenachs some peace.
Alexander Robinson, Sawston, East Anglia
Free us to fly
Bill Cooper (13 May) is right to protest at the lack of information for travel abroad. Let us hope the Scottish Government is at last sticking to the four-nation travel-light system. Unlike him we do not have relatives abroad but experienced the sad death of a dear friend in the tiny French village where we holiday, and as Ryanair start flying again I have booked to go in early June. But when I telephoned the local health centre where my wife and I had our double vaccinations to ask for verification of this I was told “we are awaiting instructions from the government”. Let us hope for an early announcement including whether Scottish airports are like those down south equipped with testing facilities.
David Steel, Selkirk
Klingon to power
I find it odd that some MSPs are taking the oath to the Queen in non-English languages when almost 100 per cent of Scots speak English as a first (in most cases, only) language. Who is this aimed at? Certainly not the vast majority of Scots these members represent. Well, I'm a Trekkie and demand representation too. Why not go all out and do the oath in Klingon? Hab SoSlI' Quch!
David Bone, Hamilton Street, Girvan
Write to The Scotsman
We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid Letters to the Editor in your subject line.
A message from the Editor
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.