SNP moral vote

May I point out, in response to Willie Rennie’s attack upon him that Alex Salmond, in both principle and practice, is correct in proposing to adjust SNP voting policy on English issues.

Assuming the next parliament is politically fractured, and SNP Members have a decisive role, there will be occasions when it will not be moral or ­sensible to abstain from voting.

Future deep cuts in central government spending are now inherent in the policy of the two parties that might form a ­government in 2015.

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Suppose, for example, an English-only provision would inflict further pain and misery upon the poor in England, and the SNP vote could prevent it. On what moral grounds could the SNP abstain? I suggest none. If it were to do so, Mr Rennie of the Lib Dems and the Labour Party would be loud in their condemnation, with accusations of narrow nationalism that cares not for others. I doubt if any member of the SNP could ­answer that charge.

The political principle of not voting on English matters has to be weighed against the greater moral principle of doing no harm to people.

As long as we remain as ­fellow citizens with others in the United Kingdom we have an obligation to ensure that our ideas of social justice do not stop at the Border, and to act to prevent ­further inequality in all parts of the state.

I think the people of Gordon, and the rest of Scotland, will recognise that Alex Salmond ­understands these matters, and is a deeper thinker, than the leader of the Lib Dems.

Jim Sillars

Grange Loan


How might Prime Minister David Cameron have responded outside Downing Street on the morning of 19 September had there been a very marginal Yes vote in the referendum?

His comments about English votes for English laws after the No victory have already created some controversy. Now, surprisingly, even Brian Wilson and former First Minister Alex ­Salmond seem to be on the same side (Perspective and your report, 20 December). There is little logic in the proposal. But what Mr Cameron might have said had the case for independence been victorious is worth thinking about.

Clearly, thoughts of resignation might have been in his mind. But so too would the point made by the BBC’s Nick Robinson on television a few days before the poll. The United Kingdom would have faced the prospect of 1.8 million votes in Scotland determining the future of more than 60 million other people in these islands.

The Prime Minister would have had to say something about the negotiations that would follow the vote. He would have had to say something about the position of the 59 Scottish MPs in the House of Commons while these negotiations were going on.

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The complexities of EVEL seem very simple compared to the furore that might have erupted over this matter. Mr Cameron would also have had to say that whilst he repected the result he, or his successor, still had a duty to look after the ­interests of all British citizens.

The political ramifications of all that would have been quite considerable, making arguments about EVEL seem a constitutional stroll in the park.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court