Readers' Letters: Sturgeon still unconvincing on independence

It was a rather nervous Nicola Sturgeon trying to make the case for Scottish independence convincing.

In this respect she failed because none of the big questions such as borders or currency were truly answered and much was left for another day.

This idea of drip feeding information about how all of this will be achieved simply reinforces the paucity of the arguments. What is happening right now to Liz Truss shows that even if you talk everything up the external markets can bring you crashing back down.

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Despite the arguments from the nationalists that Scotland earns more than it spends, this is spin. The reality is that Scotland would be in financial trouble from Day One of independence. Westminster would have no need to help and the European Union would not be interested. Ms Sturgeon said independence was not without risks and these words are prophetic. They are also perhaps the only words we can all agree on.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a press conference to launch the third Building a New Scotland paper yesterday (Picture: David Cheskin-Pool/Getty Images)

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Border reivers?

At the launch of paper on the economics of independence Nicola Sturgeon agreed if Scotland joined the EU there would be border customs checks at rail freight destinations, and the two main road crossings, the M6-M74, and A1.

When it was pointed out there are 25 other road crossing point she shrugged off the question, saying that would be part of the negotiation with the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon might only want two, but what if the UK want more? For example, the SNP are proposing more liberal immigration policies, People who can't get into England might use Scotland as a back door. All the UK needs to do is set up border posts and there's nothing the SNP could do about it.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Poor PR

Angus Shaw asserts that Scotland is governed undemocratically by Westminster (Letters, 17 October). Has it not occurred to him that many of the problems Scotland faces are as a result of having an administration (SNP/Greens) that is unfit for purpose, and most certainly does not represent the majority of electors. The cockamamie version of PR in place in Holyrood is to blame.

Until such time that a more carefully thought out and adopted form of PR is in place in the UK, there will always be a majority of voters unrepresented.

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EP Carruthers, Lockerbie, Dumfries & Galloway

Power packed

Angus Shaw appears not to have heard of devolution. He says that we are “governed by a legislature where the Scots have little voice and no influence”. This is a specious claim. First, “the Scots” do not speak as a bloc, with one voice, any more than the English do. Perhaps Mr Shaw has not heard of the party system. A majority of Scottish voters vote routinely for parties other than the SNP.

Second, the legislature at Holyrood has pretty much absolute power over the issues that matter most to Scots in daily life – health, education, housing, transport, policing, among much else. Westminster sends Holyrood annually £2,000 more per head above the UK average for the SNP leadership to spend as it chooses.As for MPs at Westminster “ignoring” Scottish MPs, Mr Shaw perhaps means that MPs – including Scots from parties other than the SNP – are heartily embarrassed by the whingeing of SNP MP grievance mongers whose only mission is to invent new ways of traducing the UK.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Bank bunk

The Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, has the nerve to criticise the UK government in saying that “flying blind is not a way to achieve sustainability”. Very true, but that is exactly what he has done for a year with his myopic view of our inflation risk consequent on his quantitative easing monetary policy – asleep at the wheel complacency, in Brian Monteith’s words.

If he had any self-respect and integrity he would resign voluntarily.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Give us details

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As we await the decision of the Supreme Court on whether the Scottish Parliament has the ability to legislate to hold a referendum on Scottish independence, the nature of the UK itself is under scrutiny.

It has been acknowledged that the UK is a multinational state, with nations free to leave if they want to. However, apart from Northern Ireland and in the absence of a written constitution, there are no legally or politically agreed ways of allowing this to happen.

If it is decided by the Supreme Court that the Scottish Parliament does not have the ability to determine Scotland’s future, it is then in the hands of the British state to agree to this. Even if the Supreme Court decides that it does, the UK Government does not have to abide by the result of any such referendum, although one would hope it would. Given the current mood in Westminster, it would not be unexpected for it to legislate to reverse this judicial defeat.

This clearly changes the nature of the Union, from what it was believed to be, one based on consent, to one based on law.

So, we have the obvious contradiction of a UK Government that accepts Scotland can become independent, as was illustrated by the vote in 2014, but none of the leading UK parties is willing to outline how such a political goal can be achieved.

The Supreme Court will not provide the answer to how Scotland can determine its own future, this will be a decision for politicians. If continued SNP victories in elections are simply to be disregarded, the onus is on the UK political parties to outline in what circumstances such a vote can take place.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Too much power

Your editorial, "Truss must resign or be forced out by MPs” (15 October) shows the extent to which social media is making Britain ungovernable. Britain was once envied and admired as having the mother of parliaments because of its respect for the electoral process but now we find ourselves on the brink of anarchy.

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Your opening paragraph states, “It is extraordinary, deeply regrettable and frankly absurd that, today, The Scotsman is calling for the resignation of a second Prime Minister in less than a year”. Exactly. You report that Liz Truss was elected as Conservative leader by 80,000 party members yet almost as soon as she took office members of her own party sought to unseat her. Why? She made her intentions very clear.

Did party members understand her manifesto and approve it or did social media persuade them that she was the better candidate? Did they vote for her because she isn't Rishi Sunak and there was a media campaign against him? Did they vote for her because, despite 14,000 letters to the 1922 Committee to put Boris Johnston's name on the ballot paper, the party refused to do so?

So, was their vote a protest vote against the parliamentary Conservative party? Did they vote for Liz Truss because she seemed to represent a movement away from Government decisions which the majority of the electorate disagree with?

This matters a great deal because if the electorate feels that parliament does not reflect its thoughts and beliefs and that elections can be overturned by a few MPs, why bother holding them? Why not just accept that we are now governed by an elite which is impervious to the views of the majority?

We cannot return to pre-social media times but until its influence is moderated and the majority of the electorate can once more trust that the outcome of elections is an accurate representation of their opinions as opposed to that of “social media influencers” the concept of democracy in this country is in danger.

Lovina Roe, Perth

Zip it, Miriam

Actress Miriam Margolyes cannot restrain her need to be the centre of attention, no matter how inappropriate the timing.It matters little that more intelligent people share her dismay at the latest governmental over-promotion.

Called upon to pay tribute to the late, great Robbie Coltrane on Radio 4, she spent more time spouting expletives about new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt than eulogising her colleague.Oh Miriam Margolyes we do implore, to go away and swear no more.But if that effort be too great – just go away at any rate!

Mark Boyle

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Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Get tough

Decent people will be shocked and angry at the continued criminal behaviour of supposed eco-protesters trashing public and private property to get their way. Their behaviour may be seen as childish, akin to a five-year-old bawling and pouring milk on the floor but it's not childish; it's wicked with malice aforethought.

The media continue to describe these people as “protesters” and “campaigners”. They are neither. They are engaged in criminal behaviour and are therefore criminals and should be described and treated as such.

The police should be given free scope to physically enforce the law by proactive measures against these deluded maniacs.

William Loneskie

Oxton, Berwickshire


Belatedly, I've realised why Nicola Sturgeon famously used “detest” (regarded by many as inflammatory and offensive) in respect of her attitude to Tories.

She's perhaps a tad shaky on the nuances of the English language because – surely I must be correct in assuming? – that it's her third language after Gaelic and Scots?

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

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