Readers' Letters: There's no case for new independence referendum

How are there still calls for Indyref2 after general election results, wonders reader

Robert Farquharson (Letters, 6 July) resorts to the standard separatist gambit of trying to provoke pro-UK people into another referendum by claiming we are afraid to have one. Actually, those who remember the miserable experience of the 2014 referendum do not want a repeat of that – especially since we won it decisively. The only clamour for another referendum comes from a noisy minority of nationalists.

Mr Farquharson ignores recent evidence. The SNP put, and John Swinney boasted of putting, a demand for Scexit on page one, line one of its manifesto. Swinney claimed a majority of seats for the SNP would be a mandate for separation negotiations to begin. But the SNP’s loss of 39 seats last Thursday is a clear demonstration that Scottish voters have given no such putative mandate and did not endorse the SNP’s commitment to Scexit. The Alba party’s failure to attract more than a derisory 600-800 votes where it contested constituencies merely underlines that. Alba lost all of its deposits and has failed to live up to Alex Salmond’s expectations.

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Major constitutional change requires overwhelming endorsement, not the hope of a perilously divisive 50 per cent plus 1 vote. Brexit has demonstrated the perils of a very narrow majority. The SNP lauds Norway as an example to emulate. The Norwegian independence vote in 1905 returned 99.95 per cent in favour. The SNP constitution requires a two-thirds majority for change – good enough for the SNP but too good for Scotland?

Despite John Swinney's insistence, there is no case for another Scottish Independence referendum, says reader (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)Despite John Swinney's insistence, there is no case for another Scottish Independence referendum, says reader (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Despite John Swinney's insistence, there is no case for another Scottish Independence referendum, says reader (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

On that basis there is absolutely no case for another referendum. Surely even diehard separatists can see that?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh

Quick question

Now that the dust is settling after the general election, it may be appropriate to ask: Was that election the “De Facto Referendum” or is it the next one?

Mike Watson, Edinburgh

Not key issue

Interesting election results in Scotland, in that some at least, for the first time in a while, were not basing their vote on the constitutional question. Polls, if accurate, say the issue is split 50/50 (although the Yes vote may be soft), yet the party of independence received only 30 per cent of the vote. The Unionist vote, spread over four parties if you include Reform, was over 60 per cent. Conclusion, the constitution is no longer the key issue. Good!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

Scotland isn’t ready

I’ve had time to reflect on that disappointing election result. While I remain a Liberal socialist, like many others, I joined the SNP 20 years ago to win independence.

With still a 50/50 divide on independence, evidently many Yes supporters returned to Labour to dispel the Tories; which at the same time has nearly destroyed the SNP. Whether they return to the SNP will depend not only on how UK Labour performs but also on how the SNP perform after losing a host of good people,, such as Joanna Cherry, Drew Hendry and Tommy Sheppard.

In truth, the SNP may have been in power too long in Holyrood without securing their core objective of independence. From a high of 56 MPs in 2015 to nine today is almost unforgivable and must reflect on the leadership clique over the last few years. Also, the excessive time spent on gender issues and other low priority policies must be part of the cause and effect.

Finally, and sadly, all this maybe down to the fact that the Scots are just not ready to take responsibility for their own affairs and to lead this ancient, well-endowed nation, which has given so much to the world, back to independence and progress. It does take courage and confidence to build a better life and it may be true that the best of Scots leave, to do just that.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore, Highland

Follow French

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The elections in France taught us that a coalition of parties can win. Being afraid of Marine Le Pen winning, many left wing candidates withdrew from the second round of voting, concentrating left wing votes and defeating the National Rally (RN) candidate.

If the unionist candidates use similar tactics at the 2026 Holyrood election, Scotland could rid itself of the SNP for a generation. Despite the clear-as-a-bell Page 1, Line 1 SNP manifesto stating the general election was about independence, 63 per cent of voters rejected the SNP and its candidates. If anti-nationalism candidates unite this way, Holyrood could return to being a Parliament run by grown-ups serving all the people of Scotland, and the Saltire could reclaim its rightful place as a Scottish flag, not an SNP one.

Brian Barbour, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

Back and forth

So Tweedledee has replaced Tweedledum and after some years of argy-bargy it will be ‘Dum’s turn again, as determined by our uniquely undemocratic election system, as laid bare in The Scotsman editorial of 6 July. You also correctly say that despite the election result Scottish nationalism is not dead. Neither is Welsh nationalism, while that of the English is, as always, seen as part of the natural order of things.Meantime in Northern Ireland the ultra-Irish Nationalist Sinn Fein has overtaken the UK nationalist DUP.

However, the new Prime Minister is visiting the heads of all the devolved administrations and the Northern English mayors, so that will sort everything out.

S Beck, Edinburgh

Get it sorted

The new Labour ministers, like kids being given an old toy, seemed to just throw their hands in the air and say “it’s broken” – prison service, NHS et al. Well, Sherlock, the electorate already knew that and you were elected because you said you would fix it.

The Chancellor has no money to spend but we have a workforce already paid and available to start building new hospitals, prisons and schools and the potential to train as nurses, prison officers and maybe more. The taxpayer is paying £5 million a day to house migrants in hotels. There should be no free lunches! They came to the UK for a better life. Well, they’ve got to help build that – starting now!

Tell all the millions not looking for a job that one’s been found for them and get them working on “Project: Make Britain Great Again” as well. Fund all this by halting all foreign aid – apart from helping Ukraine with its war effort – until Britain is sorted.

This isn’t right-wing nonsense, it’s common sense, and the only way to get things done.

Michael Officer, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire

Same old...

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Local government wage negotiation is basically how much extra tax will the people stomach, because at the end that is what all government wage negotiation boils down to. I believe we are all agreed that those removing domestic and business waste do a worthwhile and important job and that should be recognised when considering the recompense for carrying out this work. Yes, it is not rocket science to move bins, but the importance of having this work done is not in doubt.

I suspect that there are many employed within local services whose output is nowhere near as important and if savings are to be made to fund a proper recompense for this work then perhaps this is an area to be considered!

I know in my local council area there is a policy of no compulsory redundancy, which boils down to either jobs for life or a golden pay-out for those agreeing to leave. Those who do leave are usually at the top and go on excellent terms, with good pension arrangements.

Be that as it may, we can be sure recent Westminster elections will ensure that the only change will be that we taxpayers end up paying more for the privilege of change. The more things change the more they stay the same.

T Lewis, Coylton, Ayrshire

Help non-doms

The government is planning to change the tax status of non-doms who live in the UK but claim their main residence is somewhere abroad. This benefit means they pay tax at a lower rate than if all income was taxed at UK rates. As a quid pro quo, the agreement is each one pays £30,000 per annum.

The problem is that many non-doms are looking to move to Monaco, Geneva or some other tax-efficient country, as a recent survey claims that tax consultants are being inundated by non-doms seeking advice on their tax position. If many of them go abroad to live permanently then the pot of gold to fund investment in the NHS and dentists will be somewhat lower.

James Macintyre, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Historic Bathgate

Prompted by Susan Morrison's article “Shocking dirty tricks of election history” (Perspective, 6 July), did you know that most of the procedures and practices we still observe and employ in our Parliamentary and municipal elections, such as the installation of a secret booth in which to record your vote; the rule that the ballot has to be marked with an “x” and only an “x”, as well as making yourself known to an electoral officer, even the order in which the prospective candidates appear on the ballot paper, are all a result of the passing of the Ballot Act of 1872 by Gladstone’s Liberal Government. Furthermore, the provisions of the Act had their first trial in the UK in a municipal election held in my hometown of Bathgate on 5 August 1872.

A further point worth noting is that for the first time this year, a general election saw Bathgate itself appear as part of a named Westminster constituency.

David W Main, Bathgate, West Lothian

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