Readers' Letters: SNP needs to make up mind on Indy currency

Whilst Sir John Kay has helped stimulate some debate on the question of the currency in an independent Scotland, his Edinburgh Book Festival talk reminds us just how complex this matter is (your report, 19 August).

Any new Scottish currency after independence must be optional, said economist Sir John Kay
Any new Scottish currency after independence must be optional, said economist Sir John Kay

To be persuasive, the case for a new currency needs the merit of simplicity. The suggestion that the new arrangement should not be compulsory for people or businesses could lead to confusion among non-economists about how it would work in practice. But Sir John should be praised for reminding us that, post-independence, there would be may contractual issues which might take years to resolve – issues that could have a serious impact on pensions, savings and mortgages.

In 2014 the Yes case was on the defensive as soon as the then Chancellor George Osborne and then Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls announced that a newly independent state would not be allowed to use the pound. It was just unrealistic to have different tax and spending regimes under the same currency. It seems that modern SNP thinking has not overcome this problem. Andrew Wilson's Sustainable Growth Commission wanted to keep Sterling for a period of at least ten years after autonomy. Vaguely, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggests that keeping the pound is an outdated strategy.

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Well, she and her advisers need to make their mind up quickly. For even if a legally watertight referendum was to take place next year, the holes in the SNP approach would be cruelly exposed. The 2014 scenario could easily repeat itself. The same group of voters who were prepared to back the party to run the Holyrood government were not prepared to see their incomes put at risk because of currency uncertainty. There is no reason to suppose their view has changed.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes, Fife

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Lifeboat lesson

When I read the news these days, I feel like those poor souls on the Titanic when she hit that iceberg – time to don a lifejacket and line up at a lifeboat station.

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Time to get out from under a corrupt Westminster government. Scotland needs Independence and fast. Unless the Supreme Court rules for a referendum, we need to vote for it and get out of a union that is now dragging us into poverty.

Yet there are still folk who ignore what is going on because they lack for nothing and feel that voting Conservative keeps them “Upper Class”, and special. They ignore news that Boris Johnson allowed a plane-load of dogs to be evacuated from Afghanistan leaving endangered Afghans who had worked for the British forces to the mercy of the Taliban. They see no wrong in bypassing the civil service vetting of potential office-bearers in national organisations and appointing Conservative donors and supporters. They encourage the headlong enlargement of the House of Lords by appointing Conservative cast-offs as the UK shuffles closer and closer to fascism.

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A Scotland, already self sufficient in energy, water and able to trade with Europe and the UK would thrive. We have a lifeboat and should use it while we still can.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh

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Flying low

In response to Steven Robertson’s letter regarding the the absence of the Union flag on St Andrew’s House, if he takes a stroll past there on Remembrance Day he might catch a glimpse of one then, and only then (Letters, 17 August).Those who gave their lives must be turning in their in their graves that such is the legacy of their sacrifice. Those responsible for ensuring the flag of the EU, of which we are not a member by virtue of a UK referendum, flutters every day from government buildings, yet the flag of the UK, of which we are a member by virtue of a referendum, flies one day a year, are an utter disgrace.

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Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Union blues

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To partially quote David Bone the extent and tone of comments seeking to smear the SNP and by implication all supporters of independence, over the actions of a tiny minority of protesters with questionable motives, “has been breathtaking” (Letters, 19 August).

Of course, verbal abuse and the display of derogatory banners are rightly to be condemned, and many who are legitimately concerned about the now exploding cost of living and insidiously increasing racism across the “United Kingdom”, including those who were protesting peacefully outside the Conservative and Unionist Party husting in Perth, will not thank those who did not act accordingly.

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That said, those who use “extremist language” of their own in letters to newspapers in duplicitous attempts to vilify the millions of law-abiding and respectful citizens who support Scotland’s right to self-determination are not helping to make any possible reasoned case for sustaining a grossly dysfunctional “Union”.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

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Dark underbelly

Supporters of the SNP have never understood the difference between patriotism and nationalism and now David Patrick has confirmed it (Letters, August 19). He writes of the “patriotic nationalism (of) Ukraine”, when he means patriotism. The Ukrainians are, indeed, facing “imperial nationalism of the worst kind” and there is indeed a division between different kinds of nationalism, as Mr Patrick says, just not the kind that he has created.

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Patriotism is the love of one's country and positive. Nationalism is hatred, or intense dislike of other people’s country/ies and is negative. This is typified by the sort of splenetic behaviour by nationalist yahoos at the Conservative Conference in Perth. For the sake of euphemism, which we see daily in nationalist rhetoric, “English” is replaced by “Tory”, or “Westminster”. SNP MPs refer to being in “enemy territory” when they are at Westminster, for example.

Patriots are those who love their own country, but not in a reactionary way. Nationalism is menacing and aggressive and often racist. In the case of Scottish nationalism, the English are objectified as figures of hate, but euphemistically, as “Tories”, when the actual meaning is “English”. The actions of nationalists at the Scottish border during Covid revealed this dark underbelly of nationalism.

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Patriotism, on the other hand, is warm and embracing, expressing love of the positive attributes of one’s country, not hatred or antipathy towards another nation, or another race. Russia’s ex-President Medvedev calling the Ukrainians “scumbags” for defending themselves epitomises nationalist hatred, just as does James Cook being called a “traitor” in Perth, presumably for being a BBC correspondent.

Patriotism and nationalism are polar opposites and suggesting that they are one and the same is a misrepresentation.

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Andrew H N Gray, Edinburgh

Peace plea

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In 1982 Alexander Haig shuttled back and forth between the relevant capitals to try to broker peace and prevent a war over the Falklands. Sadly, I've seen little or no effort by prominent politicians or the UN to bring peace to the Ukraine. All Western politicians do is send ever more arms and encouragement to the Ukraine leadership, which is like fighting fire by pouring petrol on it. These are the same politicians who say we are on track to catastrophic climate change by 2030. If nuclear war breaks out over the Ukraine it certainly won't do the climate much good.

Can someone please give peace a chance. Who knows, it also might bring energy bills down.

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Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

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Scottish independence: New Scottish currency must be optional after independence...
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Integrity needed

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) had said that the UK can't afford huge tax cuts. They are infeasible because spiralling inflation will push up the cost of government spending, leading to a lack of spare capacity for tax cuts. The IFS claims that short-term borrowing to support families through the coming rise in energy bills is possible and preferable to permanent tax cuts.

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Liz Truss economics seems quite irresponsible in comparison to Gordon Brown economics it would appear. The Rishi Sunak campaign says that this analysis drives a coach and horses through the Liz Truss’s plans, but sadly the die is cast and Liz Truss seems to be heading for victory. Yet a quick easily implemented plan is now all we have time for – which is why the Keir Starmer plan has merit.

But what happens if the Johnsonites rallying round Liz Truss go for a massive costcutting package as advocated by Jacob Rees-Mogg?What happens depends on the level of integrity which the Sunak team and supporters can muster. With even a grain of integrity, Tories of that camp must consider joining the opposition with a threat to bring down the government if it does not become one of national unity immediately. After all, these Tories are in agreement with leading economists that the Truss plan is most likely to increase inflation while doing nothing for growth and productivity. Why would investors take risks promoting industrial development at this time, just because of new tax cuts? A major recession and hyper-inflation is bearing down – creating weak demand. Reducing inflationary pressures is therefore the priority. Only neo-liberal ideological zealots fail to see that.

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Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

Bike ideas

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Making cycle lanes far more conspicuous is a good idea, but I would go one step further (Inside Transport, 19 August). Cycle lanes should be fenced off from other road users, with cyclists prohibited from using the road if there is an adjacent cycle lane. It would also be an excellent idea if cycles were identifiable, by a small code plate or transponder, allowing the owner/rider to be identified, and by legislation requiring riders to take a riding test, carry third party insurance and pay road tax.

Ian McNicholas, Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale

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