Ms Sturgeon called this latest instalment: “Independence in the modern world. Wealthier, happier, fairer: why not Scotland?” The answer is that under an SNP government, very ably assisted by the First Minister’s Green friends, Scotland is poorer, no one is happy – not even her own supporters – and this is not fair, we cannot keep revisiting tired old policies. Ms Sturgeon and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie have a cartload of everyday crises to deal with, either ongoing or upcoming. There is no-one in the Scottish Government actually dealing with realities, they are all engaged in dreaming. They are public servants paid for by the taxpayer to fix problems, not create more.
Gerald Edwards, Glasgow
In launching a drive for another referendum, Nicola Sturgeon said that she has received a mandate for this, from the Holyrood elections last year. Unfortunately for Nicola, some of us remember her words from said election, ie, it was not about constitutional change, but about her handling of the pandemic. Some of us have a better memory than her!
William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian
Look to future
The Scottish Government’s second independence referendum “scene-setter” (your report, 14 June) evokes the political equivalent of historical battle reenactment, whether The Sealed Knot re-staging the English Civil War or the Battle of Prestonpans reenactments, much closer to home.
No and Yes camps will muster right and left. To the right, conservatively minded believers in the safety of “no change” would be joined by Brexiteers and those who fear the EU. Their flags hang in strategically arranged folds beside a man at a podium in whom – unfortunately – not even they fully believe. This camp’s happy place is 1707; 300 years of history matter. Their mantra is “once in a generation”.
To the left are those with eyes on the future, not the past. Pro-Europeans. Equality-minded, outward-looking and self-determining; fearful of little except failing to take decisive action on climate change. Their priorities are the challenges of poverty and physical and mental health, welcoming migrant workers who contribute to Scotland’s economy, sheltering refugees and asylum seekers. Carried in tens of thousands, their flags flutter optimistically in the winds of change. Their mantra is “what’s in a generation?”
Reframing the concept of generation as a question, not a statement, offers fresh perspectives, starting with the two generations since the post-Falklands 1980s. Destructive Thatcherite industrial and trades union policies did not lead to the path Nicola Sturgeon is now advocating for Scotland to evaluate “how neighbouring European countries comparable to Scotland use full powers of independence to tailor policies to their own circumstances, and achieve better economic and social outcomes”. The 1992 General Election led instead to the intensification of Scotland’s democratic deficit and a movement coalescing around “The Vigil” outside the Royal High School with a huge pro-devolution march in December 1992. Some 74.29 per cent voted in 1997 to reconvene the Scottish Parliament. Ten years later the SNP began 15 years as the democratically elected representatives the people of Scotland most trusted to defend their interests. 2014 was an episode in a trajectory covering two generations, not a defining moment of one of them.
Nicola Sturgeon’s scene-setter is about “focusing”, “building”, “navigating challenges”, “being in charge”, Scotland finding its own way towards becoming the country it wants to be, learning from successful small European countries including Ireland and Denmark. Today, 81 per cent of Scotland’s population is under the age of 64. This new generation, and its choices, are theirs to define.
Geraldine Prince, North Berwick, East Lothian
I watched the "Scene Setter" press conference. Judging by informed and mildly hostile media questioning, newspaper reports will be sceptical at best and many commentary articles will be scathing.
If everyone in Scotland read these, Indyref2 would be a dead duck. The problem is, perhaps only 300,000 people read the papers and an additional 500,000 watch the Scottish TV news channels, which won't be able to hide the folly of the whole enterprise but will do their best to maintain the balance it just does not deserve.
But there are 4.3 million voters in Scotland, the majority of whom will be unaware that this charade even happened, therefore it will go on and on.
When I look at and listen to Patrick Harvie and Nicola Sturgeon I just despair at the decline of Scotland.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Where are facts?
Nicola Sturgeon has the temerity to launch an independence work of fiction under the heading “Wealthier, happier, fairer”. She ignores the advice from Professor John Kay, an esteemed economist and former adviser to the First Minister, that Scotland would likely begin independence in debt to the tune of £180 billion with a requirement to borrow c£20bn per annum. We will be “happier and fairer” with a continued widening of the attainment gap, lower life expectancy, longer NHS waiting lists in an economic ideology mired in the past. The real question must be as to why, after 15 years of SNP Government, we as a nation are not already “wealthier, happier, fairer” with tax-raising powers and control over Education and the NHS? Oh yes, that is all Westminster’s fault. I look forward to Ms Sturgeon answering the real questions around currency, tax, our borders, Nato and EU membership, nuclear weapons and the role of the Bank of England in an independent Scotland.
Until she can answer these questions with facts and authority, independence is a fantasy that will continue to divide our nation and waste our money.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon, in desperately seeking reasons to revisit the independence issue again, has listed a number of small European countries which are performing better than Scotland. However there is a very good reason for this – they do not have the SNP in charge.
Barry Hughes, Edinburgh
With all the failures of the SNP in everything from £400 million ferries to BiFab, Prestwick at £40m and the £568m aluminium plant which didn’t deliver on jobs, it is time for some answers from Nicola Sturgeon.What is her solution? Simple! Spend £20 million earmarked for the poorest and most needy in Scotland on a referendum which we all know is illegal. Not only is it illegal, but Westminster will stand up for the people of Scotland and tell the SNP that they cannot hold a second referendum, because we have already had one and we, the people of Scotland won.Nicola Sturgeon is desperate that the debate move on from her party’s failures to a different topic in the hope she can get off the hook. Sorry. I’m afraid not.
Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh
J Moir suggests any independence referendum should attract at least 60 per cent in favour to be accepted due to it being a “radical and fundamental change to the UK” (Letters 14 June). Interestingly, the EU referendum did not require this and neither do General Election seats. Is either not “radical and fundamental” to the politics of the UK?
D Mitchell, Edinburgh
J Moir makes a very good point regarding the majority required for any referendum result that fundamentally changes the UK and Scottish Constitutions. They suggest that a simple majority of 51 per cent in favour would be unacceptable. Before SNP supporters jump all over this citing “democracy” and “will of the people” etc, they should perhaps reflect on the following. Clause 27 of the SNP’s own Constitution (unless it has changed recently) states the following: “This Constitution may not be changed, except by a vote of at least two-thirds of the delegates present and voting at National Conference.”
So, it appears that a simple majority is all that is required to change the Constitution of an entire country, impacting greatly on every single person, but a “super” majority is required to change the Constitution of a political party, impacting (probably only slightly) on a small group. Interesting.
James McLeod, Leslie, Glenrothes, Fife
So Nicola Sturgeon says it is time to talk about Independence again. Can she clarify when she hasn't been talking about it as I must have missed that ten minutes since 2014.
Elizabeth Hands, Armadale, West Lothian
The UK is in the hands of those who have created huge contradictions of purpose in our national efforts. We are catering for those who have schemes so impractical as to be unbelievable – to anyone except government, that is. The Net Zero and renewables drive is just a small part of it.
Would any country that has nuclear power and sits on huge reserves of energy from natural resources abandon all that and embark on a policy of obtaining that energy from sun and wind? No. We are simply being manipulated into that position by those who would see us in the economic dustbin. Could we please just wake up before it is too late?
Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross
Write to The Scotsman
We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line. Do not send letters submitted elsewhere. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.
Subscribe at www.scotsman.com/subscriptions