Readers' Letters: Emptiness of nationalist dreams laid bare

GRETNA GREEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16:  The sun sets behind the Union flag (C), the flag of England (L) and the Scottish Saltire (R) on September 16, 2014 in Gretna Green, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)GRETNA GREEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16:  The sun sets behind the Union flag (C), the flag of England (L) and the Scottish Saltire (R) on September 16, 2014 in Gretna Green, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
GRETNA GREEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: The sun sets behind the Union flag (C), the flag of England (L) and the Scottish Saltire (R) on September 16, 2014 in Gretna Green, Scotland. Yes and No supporters are campaigning in the last two days of the referendum to decide if Scotland will become an indpendent country. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
In yesterday's Scotsman (6th April) Alexander Orr wrote in the section, commenting on columnist Brian Monteith article on the 5th of April, ' The only thing that adds up is independence at any cost, and with any leader, we'll fix it later'

We should be grateful to Mr Orr for revealing that, though I suspect we already knew this, the golden future the nationalists predict is, if not a myth, certainly some time in the future, probably some considerable time in the future if ever.

Mr Orr, indeed nationalists as a whole predict that independence is some form of magic wand.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Are we so downtrodden and impoverished, and unsupported that independence is an elixir we in Scotland need? The money that flows out of the UK government and the ongoing successful vaccination programme, which again comes to us courtesy of the forward thinking of the UK government, hardly supports the insinuations that we are either impoverished or unsupported.As to “we'll fix it later”, the SNP have governed Scotland for 14 years. Education and health is a mess, not to mention the police and local government etc.As an example, the recent Audit Scotland report on education does not make pretty reading. Indeed Ms Sturgeon who said she would be judged on education, should already be handing in her resignation.

There is nothing to support the suggestion, that the present government, with Independence, would ever be able to “sort” it. This government has still to take on all the powers available to them with the devolution settlement. How are they going to manage when all the additional “levers of powers” come to them with independence?

Is independence really worth, the impoverishment, the mismanagement , and the resulting misery it will bring to the Scottish people ? It is about the personal aims of a group of people more interested in their own vaulting ambitions than the good of Scotland.We should, though thank Mr Orr for his brief statement as it reveals the emptiness of the nationalists' claims.

John B Gorrie, Craigmount Gardens, Edinburgh

Defining terms

The SNP's draft referendum bill contains only three clauses: one on the date of the referendum (not yet determined), one on the question to be posed (it suggests the same question as asked in 2014 but admits that the view of the Electoral Commission would be sought), and one on the franchise (no change that I can see).Surprisingly, there is no mention of the majority required to pass, implying that, as in 2014, only a simple majority would be required.

The majority required should be stated. In fact, considering the future of the UK would be at stake, that majority should be two thirds (a “super majority”), as in the SNP's own constitution. In addition, there should be a requirement for a simple majority of the electorate. These provisions ensure that the break-up of the UK does not take place with almost half the electorate opposed.

In addition, any referendum should be consultative, allowing negotiations to commence, with the requirement that there would be a later substantive referendum on the terms agreed, if they are agreed.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Agree to disagree

Much to my surprise I find myself in agreement with Kenny MacAskill (Perspective, 8 April), firstly on transgender rights. Women have rights too. They are entitled to women-only spaces from which males must be excluded and "simply pronouncing yourself female cannot suffice". Making such statements in support of the rights of women is not transphobic as Mr MacAskill rightly states.

I was also in agreement with his view that Scottish education "has slipped" until he implied that one of the reasons for the failure to close the attainment gap was Covid. Certainly it has got worse in the last year. But if Mr MacAskill paid full attention to the writings of professor of education, Lindsay Paterson, whom he "admires" he would note that the professor points to recent evidence to "show not only no progress between 2016 and 2019, but perhaps even a worsening of the situation". The pre-pandemic 13 years of SNP promises and policies seeking to close the attainment gap have failed. Scottish education is not "in meltdown" but to describe it as "not as good as it used to be or should be" is something of an understatement.

Colin Hamilton, Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

Good game

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A lot of commentators and politicians are complaining about how Alex Salmond is “gaming” the electoral system with his new Alba party. While it is true that he has seen an undoubted advantage in fielding candidates for just the List vote and may get a smallish number of seats for a relatively disproportionate vote, this hardly makes a mockery of democracy. To those doubters, may I suggest they calculate how many seats SNP would have if the Westminster-approved system of first past the post were used? The SNP would be sitting on a massive majority totally disproportionate to their vote. So I suggest the well-conceived Scottish voting system is serving democracy in Scotland well.

David Morris, Newmills Road, Dalkeith

Who needs ideas?

I don't think many people realise what a masterstroke Alex Salmond has pulled with his new party. Normally in a general election the various parties at least pretend to have different policies and trot out the same old promises of how things will be much better if they get your vote. Here, however, we have Alba which has no policies apart from wishing Scotland to leave the UK, and because of our list system they could crucially affect the outcome of the election by giving independence supporters an advantage over the rest of the electorate.

There must be a temptation for independence supporters to hold their noses and put Alba second on their voting paper in the hope of reaching their goal. This would not be illegal, but certainly immoral, an affront to democracy, further tainting politics in Scotland.

I hope they don't get away with it but if they do I would regard any agitating to have another referendum because of the number of independence-supporting MSPs as lacking legitimacy and would hope the Westminster government would give them short shrift.

Eric Cartwright, Stirling Road, Edinburgh

Blue sky thinking

Mary Thomas quite wrongly asserts that “thanks to Brexit and Boris Johnston’s poor decisions, the Covid recovery will be longer and harder than that of most of Western Europe” (Letters, 7 April). In fact, according to the latest International Monetary Fund’s World Economic outlook the exact opposite is the case. The report says that Britain will clock up faster growth than the US and Europe next year as the recovery is turbo-charged by the country’s world-leading vaccination scheme and a Treasury spending spree.

The UK will be the fastest-growing advanced economy in 2022, the IMF said, as it updated its growth forecasts after millions of people were vaccinated to protect them against Covid-19. SNP ministers are on record in press headlines at the time of berating the Conservative government for going it alone on vaccination procurement rather than joining the EU’s process.

I am sure there can be no doubt, even in Mary Thomas’s mind, that had we not gone our own way and joined the EU’s shambolic scheme tens of thousands more lives would have been lost, we would now be joining France and Italy in total lockdown to the severe detriment of the economy and we would not be in the satisfactory situation outlined in the IMF’s report. This is yet another example of the benefit to Scotland of being a part of the UK.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Friends of Putin

You are right to say about Alex Salmond “any reasonable democratic politician would run a mile from any kind of association” with Putin, a “brutal and warmongering dictator” (Leader, 8 April).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But what have the EU’s de facto rulers, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, just done in a joint phone call to Putin? They’ve kowtowed to him, hoping he’ll release the Russian Sputnik vaccine to the EU, despite it not having EU approval, after deliberately encouraging their populations to “run a mile” from the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which both the WHO and EU regulators do approve even allowing for the minuscule blood-clot risk.

That, of course, follows on from Merkel’s support for Putin’s gas pipeline project – against the interests of her fellow EU member Poland and of the hard-pressed Ukraine – which helps to fund Putin’s malign regime; and their enthusiasm for the EU’s Trade and Investment Agreement with that other malign regime, China, against the clear view of the USA and the wider need for solidarity among all the western democracies in confronting both such dictatorships.

John Birkett, Horseleys Park, St Andrews

Proven system

Steuart Campbell latest letter struck a chord (7 April). As I watch the political parties talking about disposing of the Not Proven verdict, I must admit that I am not in agreement. The verdicts of Proven or Not Proven seem very sensible. My own view of the three-result system is that, if one is found Guilty that is an end to it. A Not Guilty' verdict means that they walk free – note that they have not been declared “innocent”.

Here is where I feel that application of the Not Proven verdict is a sensible one. If someone, charged with a crime, is found Not Proven this should mean that they can, at any time, be called back to court in the event that more evidence becomes available. At no point would the person be free and could always expect to be re-tried.

Colin J Oliver, Parklands, Broxburn

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected]m 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.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.