Earlier this month its author, Andrew Wilson, wrote that “if Scotland votes to become independent, it will be the richest country ever to do so. The economics of the independence debate start with this clear and simple fact”. He continued, “Scots have the choice of independence and a return to the European Union. Not choosing that would be economically high-risk. The process will not be simple; it will be hard work and take effort, but like most acts of self-improvement, it will also be satisfying and meaningful”.
Kit Fraser (Letters, same day) asks why shipbuilding on the Clyde has largely been consigned to history. That is down to the failure of successive UK governments to use Scotland’s oil bonanza to modernise our shipyards or to seriously invest in our infrastructure and renewable energy like Norway.
As much oil and gas has been extracted in the Scottish North Sea as in the Norwegian sector. If an independent Scotland had replicated Norway’s policy of creating a sovereign wealth fund, it would now be, per capita, the wealthiest country in the world.
Unfortunately, under London control we are consigned to years of austerity.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh
Face real issues
The Scottish Government urgently needs to change its direction. Independence is no longer a viable issue. The fact is that the political parties supporting the Union received far more votes than the independence supporting ones in the recent election.
This was true also in 2014, with a huge turnout and in reality this has not changed ever since. Now we observe that even the flag-waving independence marchers’ numbers are dwindling to derisory levels. The support simply isn't there but Scotland is facing a cost of living crisis which really needs Nicola Sturgeon's full attention instead.
Our health service and education are in trouble too. Her government also needs to come up with a more practical scheme to heat Scottish houses rather than ultra expensive and inefficient heat pumps. If we are all struggling with the cost to heat our homes right now just how will most Scots afford to junk their present systems for this new one? It is time to join the real world.
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
Labour, the Lib Dems and our very own SNP have the answer to the cost of living crisis – a Windfall Tax. While I agree that this would be of immediate help, it is but a relatively small one-off so would only postpone the current problems.
The SNP could act first, however, and raise a similar amount for Scotland, but at literally no cost. Labour estimate a windfall tax would raise £1.2- £1.9 billion, so Scotland’s share would be about £130 million – which, coincidentally is almost exactly the amount the SNP have kindly increased the drinks industry’s profits by with the advent of minimum pricing.
Why give this money to big business, especially as they seem to have a dislike of it? Had it been a tax then they would have had the very monies to spend on those who are currently struggling. To me that £130m is an excess profit and one that’s never going to be invested back into society.
Ken Currie, Edinburgh
Get tough, Boris
Thank you for Brian Monteith’s article (Perspective, 16 May) giving the facts of NI/GB/EU life and refuting the one-sided views of fellow Scotsman columnists Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 13 May) and Christine Jardine (Perspective, 16 May). Are they among those whose default position, in any UK dispute with the EU, is that the UK is wrong?
Neither of them even mentioned the Protocol’s Article 16, whose sole raison-d’etre was agreed by the EU precisely to resolve UK/EU disputes – and was of course invoked by the EU in Ursula von der Leyen’s vaccine tantrum (albeit soon withdrawn)!
It is not a question of “ripping up” the Protocol but of how it is operated in practice. Trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland equates to well below 0.01 per cent of the EU’s GDP, yet Brussels insists on implementing on that miniscule fraction around 20 per cent of all its external-border checks on goods.
Until June 2017, under the then Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, the UK and Ireland cooperated in developing sensible electronic off-border checks and controls; and the EU itself was reported to have published a similar solution. Kenny was then replaced by Leo Varadkar, Theresa May lost her majority and authority in her totally unnecessary general election, and Ireland and the EU decided to weaponise the border issue, resulting in May’s backstop and then Johnson being forced to accept the Irish Sea border, with the Protocol’s Art 16 safeguard, in order to achieve any sort of Brexit whatever.
Lord Frost and Liz Truss have proposed sensible changes to the EU’s demands; if it requires the UK to invoke Article 16 to achieve them, with infinitely greater justification than von der Leyen had, then so be it.
John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife
Nicola, name date
It is gratifying that Nicola Sturgeon is perceived, throughout the UK, to have been more than competent in dealing with the Covid pandemic. She is, however, only rendering managerial competence to our incompetent London overlords!Westminster remains determined to bypass Holyrood with the UK Internal Market Act and the infamous Nationality and Borders Bill, along with imposing British freeports and levelling up schemes.
Furthermore, Boris Johnson’s dysfunctional government is ready to suspend democracy by refusing any debate on independence, irrespective of political mandates or the growing majority wishes of the peoples of Scotland.A strong response, not platitudes, is now required from senior SNP figures as they consider a date, as promised, in 2023 for Indyref2. I firmly believe that independence and the breath of freedom gives meaning to life, not only for an individual but also for a nation.
Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland
Nicola Sturgeon was to deliver a speech on foreign policy and climate change yesterday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. There is something surreal about an institution full of expert researchers listening to the thoughts on foreign policy of someone who has no significant experience or expertise in that area, because it is not a part of her devolved remit.
Brookings’ view of Ms Sturgeon and her presumptuousness has been articulated by its director of research in foreign policy, Michael O’Hanlon, who has criticised Ms Sturgeon’s allegedly preferred timing for another referendum, 2023, calling it “weird” in view of the international crisis caused by Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. In O’Hanlon’s opinion, attempting to break up the UK at present is the work of “political opportunists, in a slightly unfriendly way to the broader Nato good”. That is putting it diplomatically.
In tone deaf mode, Ms Sturgeon’s line is that Scotland and America – apparently as equals – must cooperate at a time of international crisis: “That is why visits like this one matter.” I doubt that I am the only person (on either side of the Atlantic) left muttering “delusions of grandeur” at that claim.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh
Keep Justice blind
I was horrified by the view expressed by Iain Livingstone, the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, to the Sheku Bayoh inquiry. His QC stated on his behalf: “Nor is it enough simply to be non-racist. Police Scotland needs to be anti-racist.”
A non-racist police force is one that treats people equally under the law regardless of race or ethnicity. Such a force is entirely in keeping with our legal traditions, Western philosophy and our Judeo-Christian heritage. An anti-racist police force is something quite different.
Anti-racism divides people in to two classes: oppressors and the oppressed according to their ethnicity, and then treats people differently according to which class they are assigned to.
It was anti-racism which led to social workers, politicians and policemen turning a blind eye over several decades to the racist grooming gangs operating in many British towns and cities. In 2014, the Jay report concluded that there had been an estimated 1,400 child victims of the grooming gangs over 17 years in the town of Rotherham alone.
It is anti-racism which makes much of the wicked murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, but completely ignores the torture murder of Kriss Donald in 2004, because it goes against the narrative of whites as oppressors and other ethnicities as the oppressed.
The bigoted and divisive Marxist dogma of anti-racism should have no place in our criminal justice system nor in our society. Instead, we should remember that Justice is blind and treat people equally.
Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife
I think I have the answer to Andrew Gray's query about his blood donor form (Letters, 16 May). I was donating last month – no 147 – and the person next to me asked his same questions and was given the answer that a different form is used in England and in Wales it is even duplicated in Welsh!I presume, therefore, that the choices there are White English or White Welsh! What a staggering waste of duplicationScott Miller, Joppa, Edinburgh
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