At breaking point

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Patricia Walton (Letters, 18 ­December) despairs of the quality of debate by politicians in ­respect of the forthcoming referendum. The issue of Europe, which is dominating the media, is a case in point.

The only reason for continuing this futile debate about whether or not an independent Scotland will inherit membership of the European Union on the same terms as the current UK membership is because the unionists believe they have the SNP on the back foot.

It is irrelevant to debate such issues before the 2014 referendum because, firstly, the Scottish Government does not have a mandate to negotiate terms and secondly, no-one in the EU or Westminster will commit to agreeing anything with the SNP government until such a mandate exists.

As far as forecasting Scotland’s future is concerned, if the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Bank of England and the Treasury are unable to forecast the UK economy accurately for six months ahead, who is going to predict the shape of the EU, the euro, the UK or Scotland in two years’ time?

What happens if a No vote wins or even if a Yes vote wins but the Scottish Government is unable to negotiate a viable state? Unionists winning the 2015 election before the settlement deal is completed would create a really interesting conundrum.

Voting Yes is an emotional ­decision for those who believe Scotland gets a poor deal from the UK. They will have already made up their minds regarding independence; facts and figures will not sway them.

Likewise for those who believe there is comfort in belonging to a larger enterprise. The floating voters may choose to leave the British Isles to escape the pathetic level of debate we are currently having to endure.

Mike Underwood