Otherwise he is quite right about the “absence of vision, passion and emotion”. One would think the Yes team is being too much influenced by an economist who once worked for a bank.
Nevertheless, we await with mounting excitement the flood of visionary exhortation due out soon, which we are assured will turn the debate around. In the meantime. I continue to sit on the fence.
As someone who was resident in Canada during the 1995 Quebec referendum, I was surprised that Nate Silver cited Quebec as evidence that the Yes side has “virtually no chance” of winning Scotland’s independence referendum (your report, 13 August).
As I recall, the early polling in Quebec was almost identical to the current polling in Scotland in favour of No. However, as the referendum approached, the Yes side surged until it had a slight lead going in.
Friends in Quebec attributed this to two things. One was a wave of public sympathy for Bloc Quebecois leader Lucien Bouchard, who had survived a life-threatening condition. The other was a growing resentment among Quebecers about the conduct of the Federalist side, which seemed to be insisting that they vote no out of fear rather than conviction.
Some believe that the No side’s late change of tactics – including the promise of more powers for Quebec and 100,000 people from outside the province love- bombing the locals at a rally in Montreal – was the reason that it squeaked out a one-point victory.
If anything, the Quebec experience should give encouragement to the Yes side in Scotland and provide the No side with some lessons on how not to do it.
It has been interesting to read the views of the American expert on the outcome of our referendum. Doubtless, like me, he has taken into account that the Scottish population may be roughly divided into thirds.
The first third to be considered are the Loyal North British Provincials, those whose living rooms are decorated in red, white and blue, and who go to bed to the strains of Rule Britannia; these folk will vote No.
The next third to consider are the fearties, with the subsection “What’s in it for me?” people. Most of the fearties would probably wish for independence.
Unfortunately, being fearties, they will wring their hands and wail: “We canna dae it, we are naethin bit wee fushionless bodies, wha wull tell us whit tae dae? Wha wull luik aifter us? Whaur wull the siller come frae?”
These people will also vote No.
The final third are the Scots – a Scot will automatically vote Yes.
The result of the referendum depends entirely on the fearties, how many of the fearties can have airn pit in thair rig banes by the Scots and develop some smeddum. I am not over-confident, but live in hope.
R Mill Irving
Gifford, East Lothian
The article by Peter Jones describing a vision of Scotland as a European pioneer of direct democracy (Perspective, 13 August) is positive and stimulating.
It demonstrates his abilities as a journalist, and The Scotsman’s position as a force for good.
The only purpose of the referendum for independence is to allow Scotland to reform itself. The suggestion of referenda to achieve this is truly radical.
Equally radical was Lesley Riddoch’s thought, the day before, that each citizen would have a legal right to some land.
I have always considered these proposals too extreme to discuss, but now find I am being left behind by the speed of the debate.
Perhaps the next subjects to be raised are the abolition of poverty and unemployment which, like slavery before them, have been around for far too long.
Iain WD Forde