Wealthy Nation?

It was famously said of the Duke of Wellington that he wasn’t sure if his troops frightened the enemy, but they certainly frightened him.

I am sure that many of us who support the Yes campaign will be horrified at the prescription for an independent Scotland outlined by Mr Michael Fry and his Wealthy Nation group (Perspective, 3 January).

It seems that he wants the nation to return to Thatcherite economic policies that were so disastrous and so roundly rejected by the majority of Scots at the end of the last century.

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We only have to look at what “deregulation” has done to services that used to serve the public – railways and energy being two examples – to shudder at the prospect of more of this.

And what does “flattening taxes” mean? Is it that the low-paid manual worker will pay the same tax as the £200,000-a-year chief executive? A return to the poll tax and worse, it seems.

One of the encouraging things about the groups campaigning for independence, despite very different political positions, has been a common desire to see Scotland as a fairer, more just, more equal, and more peaceful country.

Wealthy Nation seems to reject all this except as the result of the “trickle down” theory of wealth creation – a right-wing position that has consistently failed to deliver as income disparity grows. Presumably Mr Fry still believes in keeping Trident, that highly expensive and dangerous drain on the economy.

(Rev Dr) Iain Whyte

Carlingnose Point

North Queensferry

Isn’t Wealthy Nation, a new right-wing party “alluding” to Adam Smith and laissez-faire, an anachronism? Can anyone be taken seriously saying: “It points to the path we propose for Scotland today”?

Proponents of Wealthy Nation should note that Keynes’s The End of Laissez-Faire came out in 1926. Among the many telling criticisms it isn’t the case that “enlightened self-interest operates in the public interest”.

Moreover, we all know from recent experience that it isn’t true that “self-interest is always enlightened”.

He calls the self-interested entrepreneur a “tarnished idol” and is doubtful “if it is he who will lead us into Paradise by the hand”.

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Arguably, Keynes’s dismissal of the relevance of laissez-faire is most apposite in recovering from a depression and Scotland’s future prosperity.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk