Readers' Letters: Threat of independent Scotland underrated

I write as a concerned UK national living in Scotland with family and commercial interests in Scotland and England.

Would an independent Scotland see businesses fleeing to England? (Picture: Jeff J MItchell/Getty)

The threat of an independent Scotland is very real and it seems, greatly underrated.

It is difficult to see how economic trading for north and south divisions of SMEs would be viable if there were a UK border, a different currency and taxation.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

For ourselves, and no doubt many others, relocating the Scottish section of the business and moving south would be the likely outcome. No benefit to the English economy but a loss of a business and three households to Scotland.

Leaflets recently received from political parties dwell mainly on (uncosted) initiatives but have little reference to the effect of national independence. The claim from the leader of the SNP a few days ago was “Scottish people can best make decisions for Scotland”.

An appeal to Scottish nationalism but ignoring the financial dependence on English funding. I will leave it to others better qualified to ask pertinent questions regarding the misapplication of Westminster funding!

Scotland does not lack intelligent thinking persons but I have not read or heard one single person display statesmanship in the political arena. Division of the UK would leave both sides poorer and weaker, both economically and in national security. The northern English border would present easy access to unfriendly powers.

“Protection of our nationals” has been the excuse for foreign intervention from Nazi incursions in Europe in 1939 to Russia in the Crimea in recent times.

Wake up Scotland to what is happening!

Richard Smerdon, Craigfoot Walk, Kirkcaldy

Track record

As we approach the Scottish Parliament elections on 6 May we should reflect on the actual results of the last 14 years of SNP governance in Scotland.

In sport, business, healthcare and life in general, results are very important measures in our decision making – as the “scoreboard” they show us what has happened and often, to affect the results, we need to make some important changes.

The following results of devolved responsibilities are based on data publicly available from the Scottish Government: Economy – GDP has steadily worsened since 2007, now eight per cent lower than the UK average; Education – rankings are down, literacy levels have fallen to lowest in the UK; Childcare – the promised doubling of free child care is only 13 per cent ready; Healthcare – massive GP shortages, highest drug deaths in Europe, life expectancy falling; Poverty – up across all main measures; Council budgets – slashed and services reduced.

I would urge all voters to seriously consider this and ignore the senseless push to leave the UK – it’s not only a distraction tactic to mask these results and incompetency, it would also be an utter disaster for Scotland. Make no mistake, life would take a serious turn for the worse.

Don’t listen to empty promises about European Union membership – even they would scoff at this terrible track record!

Gerard Baxter, Ingram Place, Kilmarnock

Vote for… nothing

D. Jamieson asks the question, where's the positive vision for “Scotland in Union” (Letters, 22 April). How do you answer a whole array of assertions that independence is better than the Union without these being backed up with actual facts? Not a single set of figures is presented to back up why we should take the biggest step collectively we would ever have to make.

He asserts that “Scotland has a wealth of natural resources, a highly educated population and a highly developed export-driven economy, our country would thrive as an independent nation outside the UK”. Statista’s most recent figures: “In 2019 exports from Scotland amounted to £86.48 billion, while imports amounted to £93.45bn, resulting in a net trade balance of negative £6.97bn” So without oil to help, Scotland now has a significant deficit to finance.

With regard to thriving outside the UK, GERS paints a different picture. For 2019/20, “Scotland spent £15.1bn more on public services than it raised in taxes last year” – BBC. SNP supporters like to discredit GERS, and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes actually promised us her version. We are still waiting.

Scotland cannot “thrive” outside the UK with such a trade deficit on top of the budget deficit. Matters will not have improved as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is remarkable that the SNP put forward an independence draft bill without attaching any costings. How can you vote for a something that is presented as a nothing?

John Peter, Monks Road, Airdrie

No bar to virus

The First Minister’s warning to English visitors about staying away from bars and cafes while in Scotland tells us much. It illustrates profoundly that there should be an all-UK set of rules for the pandemic. When you have a nationalist administration in one part of the UK, it is certain their decisions will be nationalist-slanted. They have to appease their supporters.

If we judge the decision simply by the numbers of Covid infections in Scotland and England – as the nationalists so love to do – then an English person has a higher chance of being infected than in passing it on.

Finally, I do not think the coronavirus has yet learned to distinguish between Scottish people and others.

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Educated guesses

Can somebody tell me what is positive about my children’s future in an SNP-led Scotland?

“Let me be clear – I want to be judged on this. If you are not, as First Minister, prepared to put your neck on the line on the education of our young people then what are you prepared to? It really matters.”

The words of our current first minister in August 2015... So if we are to judge her on this, what would the verdict be? Ever since the SNP have been in control the standard of education has been in decline. Knowing this, she promptly scrapped the surveys that have been in place for years to track these standards.

Interestingly, her new way of reporting the numbers cannot be compared with previous years. And then she starts celebrating a set of results that barely even feature in other countries education reports.

Denial, and ignoring of consistent failures, have driven the Scottish education system to its knees since the statement above was made – the responsibility for this lies with the SNP.

Perhaps the only way to ensure good results for my children is to move them out of Scotland?

G Alexander, Whitecairns, Aberdeen

Answers please

I was out walking and a I met a friend and asked him of his view on the current political situation, to which he replied SNP majority, Independence, Bankruptcy.

I thought that about sums it up as no SNP politician has properly answered in these circumstances where is the money coming from once we ditch Westminster, and as a retired banker I find it extremely worrying that no one appears able to answer this question or are they deliberately avoiding it.

Perhaps some of your regular SNP supporting correspondents could put my mind at rest, as the politicians seem unable to do so.

George Storey, Glebe View, Hawick

Skulduggery

The news that Boris Johnson’s Tory government are accused of dodgy dealing with pals including James Dyson and Lex Greensill, as well as various unqualified companies looking to get rich quick through the manufacture of PPE, should come as no surprise to anyone. “It’s all for the good of the country,” insists Johnson unconvincingly. But what excuse is he going to come up with when he can’t use Covid as a convenient cover story for this arrogant and disingenuous government’s future skulduggery?D Mitchell, Coates Place, Edinburgh

Misplaced blame

It is understandable that in the middle of an election campaign some will blame the Scottish Government for issues that are much more complex than simple sound bites (John McIntosh, Letters, 22 April).

The decisions to discharge from hospital into care homes are taken, in the interests of the patients, many of them traumatised with dementia, by highly qualified medics in consultation with care home managers, skilled in the isolation of infected residents from decades of flu epidemics.

All of the reports on discharges found a strong link between the size of a care home and outbreaks. The larger ones, corporate-owned, high occupancy and with staffing problems plugged by itinerant agency staff travelling between sites, were more likely to have outbreaks and more deaths.

The reports were focused on hospital discharges, not on the source of care home outbreaks and provided no statistical evidence that hospital discharges exacerbated the position in care homes, and this pattern was replicated throughout the UK.

Colin Hamilton’s comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s Covid briefings have no foundation in fact, as several opposition politicians have regularly undermined the non-political Covid advice within a couple of minutes. When Boris Johnson gives his UK- wide briefings, the BBC doesn’t offer Westminster opposition leaders the right to respond. Why not?

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Postal vote fear

Has anyone received postal vote documents and a polling card? I did and I know others who have also received both. I destroyed my polling card but I wonder if there is the potential for Trump style concerns?

Douglas S Bruce, Foster Road, Penicuik

Write to The Scotsman

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

 0 comments

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