Readers' Letters: Independence would break Scottish hearts

Scotland leaving the UK would be at a great human cost. For generations, Scotland and its people have been closely integrated in the UK.

The rest of the UK includes our families, friends, colleagues, customers and, of course, our fellow citizens. We have lived and worked together in the closest of possible unions, forming the deepest ties, interdependent across every aspect of our lives. For so many, Nicola Sturgeon asks for the impossible, namely that we turn our backs on those who matter most to us.

Yet Nicola Sturgeon demands she gets her way, no matter the real priorities of the Scottish people, nor what the UK government thinks. Even if the Supreme Court decides against her proposal to redefine what is legal, she plans in turn to redefine the purpose of a General Election.

Whatever the outcome on borders, currency, pensions, the EU and the rest, it will be the sheer human heartache of tearing our country apart that will be the worst of it. No matter how Nicola Sturgeon spins her ambitions, the people of Scotland and their loved ones throughout the UK will pay the price for her legacy.

Would many more people than the Prime Minister be locked out of Scotland were Nicola Sturgeon to get her stated Independence wish? (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty)

Keith Howell, West Linton, Scottish Borders

Many questions

Nicola Sturgeon calls for an independence referendum even though she stated at the Scottish election in May 2021 that “it was not an independence referendum”. She knows full well that the Supreme Court will rule against her so she will follow that ruling by railing against the overpowering, democracy denying big bad Westminster government. Thereafter the next General Election, she says, will be a “de facto referendum”. Conveniently she hopes that this will deflect examination away from her domestic record which, frankly, does not stand up to any scrutiny at all.

Eight years on from the last referendum in 2014, we are no nearer the SNP providing answers to the crucial questions about currency, our borders and monetary/fiscal policies. Her whole thinking is based on concocted grievance whilst providing ”hope” to her supporters that she will give them the vote they want, knowing full well this will not happen.

The reality is that Ms Sturgeon will breathe a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court decision goes against her and it will be very easy for readers to write the script at the next election!

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

A distraction

There will not be another referendum on breaking up the UK in October 2023. And the leader of the SNP knows that this is so. Nicola Sturgeon’s intention is to distract attention from her government’s track record by using taxpayers’ money to stage an expensive appeal to the Supreme Court. The “Union Dividend” that comes from the Barnett formula has been largely wasted – by the SNP. Although more money is spent on Scottish schools, those in England achieve better results. In literacy particularly, reforms in England have produced marked improvements for the least advantaged pupils. For the first time in centuries, Scottish education is under-performing by comparison with England. A similar situation exists in relation to health services.

The ferries fiasco, with a nationalised company buying vessels from a nationalised shipyard, provides a microcosm of life under SNP administration. The vessels are years late in being delivered, massively over budget and unlikely to be usable if ever completed. It is no wonder that the nationalists would rather we did not look at their record in government.

Alistair Tough, Newton Mearns, Glasgow

Master stroke

The petulant responses from Murdo Fraser (Perspective, 29 June) and all the opposition leaders at Holyrood confirm that Nicola Sturgeon has called their bluff and wrongfooted them over their anti-democratic stances.

The plan to make the next UK general election result a mandate for independence is a master stroke, as in 1988 former Tory cabinet minister Leon Brittan said in Parliament that if the SNP won the majority of seats in Scotland in successive elections, Scotland could go Independent. Since 2014 we’ve seen been three general elections all with massive SNP majorities, and all we get is London politicians standing in the way of another referendum.

Neither Labour or the Lib Dems will be campaigning for a return to the EU single market or freedom of movement and the dire economic consequences of Brexit will continue.

As for getting on with the day job, Unionist politicians don’t like UK comparisons with Scotland’s better performing public services or with the much better standard of living enjoyed by our independent northern European neighbours.

As for competence, Scottish taxpayers are paying the price of the UK government wasting billions on the over budget costs of Covid track and trace, MoD warships, London’s Crossrail, High Speed Rail and Hinckley Point nuclear power station, plus, it has lost £886 million in just six months since nationalising Bulb Energy.

However, the referendum is not about the SNP or Boris Johnson, it is about Scotland’s democratic right to choose our own future and our response to Westminster’s induced inflation, Brexit and energy crisis.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

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Burst of facts

A scene-setting paper and a route map, the first two chapter headings in the SNP’s latest rewrite of their voluminous 2014 Referendum White Paper which was binned the morning after. Comparator countries and constitutional law, titbits meant to whet the appetites for chapters to come like a serialised Dickens novel. Why now? Obviously to keep the restless separatist stalwarts onboard Nicola Sturgeon’s train to the sunny uplands of independence.Surely now is the time for our Unionist politicians to counter this fallacy by publishing a factual, not a fictitious, White Paper, complete with graphs and numbers, detailing every aspect of performance where the SNP have failed over their last 15 years in government e.g. education, health, drug deaths, police numbers, ferries and roads. Section 2 of said paper should highlight the benefits of being part of the Union, including vaccine development, furlough scheme, pensions, NHS, defence and trade. The conclusion should be that Scotland is far better off being in the Union. It’s time to burst Nicola Sturgeon’s balloon, with the facts not fiction!

George M Primrose, Uddingston, Glasgow

What’s the point?

The Supreme Court's decision on a consultative Indyref2 will be based upon legislation, not assumed electoral mandates – the Scotland Act is clear: constitutional matters are not devolved.

Nicola Sturgeon states any ballot paper question would replicate 2014's, with a Yes or No answer. Also unlikely. The Electoral Commission has made clear a Yes/No option favours Yes and so the answer would be Remain or Leave (the UK).

If all else fails, Ms Sturgeon tells us the next general election will be a de-facto cessation referendum and, if the vote favours the SNP, then Westminster must agree to independence. Once more unlikely. Westminster will insist a general election is about multiple issues, not merely Scottish constitutional matters, and will surely ignore Sturgeon's cunning plan.

Martin Redfern, Melrose, Roxburghshire

Majority rules

Now that Nicola Sturgeon has launched her campaign to achieve independence for Scotland, the Prime Minister will have to determine what his response should be. I have been a member of five golf clubs, all of which require a majority of 60 per cent or two thirds in favour of a change to their constitutions. While I consider that these constitutions are of the utmost importance, surely the constitution of the United Kingdom is slightly more important. Moreover, to change the constitution of the SNP requires a minimum of a two thirds majority. The Prime Minister should therefore insist that a similar majority should apply to any future referendum on changing the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Frank Gerstenberg, Dornoch, Sutherland

Obsessed!

Amidst a plethora of current important issues; the cost of living crisis, rising inflation rates, war in Europe and the morality of Boris Johnson, to name just a few, it is the height of arrogance and selfishness for Nicola Sturgeon to declare the SNP will fight a general election in 2024 solely on its own mono-obsession.

Bruce Halliday, Dumfries

Saving skin

The moves by the First Minister towards the holding of another independence referendum are surely more directed towards saving Nicola Sturgeon's political skin than setting the country on a course to becoming successful and influential on the European and world stages. With Putin threatening Europe and domestic crises covering the likes of NHS waiting times, the cost of living and the island ferries debacle, how can this be a good time to sideline such important issues in favour of constitutional change which is neither particularly needed nor urgent?

When Boris Johnson became PM, many Tory voters in Scotland feared his unpopularity here would embolden the cause for separation from England and this is proving to be the case. Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon is striking while the iron is hot, whatever the damage she inflicts on Scotland in the process.

I would never say “No” to Scotland becoming independent if there was a good chance of the country becoming prosperous and better governed. However, the present regime is going in the opposite direction.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Stirlingshire

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