Scotland on Sunday letters: EU result must stand for 30 years

The Conservatives have promised a referendum on membership of the EU.
The Conservatives have promised a referendum on membership of the EU.
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THE European Union in-out referendum is a waste of time unless there is a legal stipulation that another cannot be held for, say, 30 years.

Taking their cue from the Scottish Nationalists and the French separatists in Canada, the losers, of whatever side, will merely lick their wounds and after a suitable time return to carping and campaigning for another.

A decades-long legal bar on holding a second referendum will concentrate minds and secure a result that will stand.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

HOMEOPATHIC principles have not changed since the system was invented in 1810. They were irrational then, and they remain so now.

In the 1850s, the great Scottish obstetrician and pioneer of anaesthetics, Sir James Young Simpson, took the lead in arguing against them. It was easy for him to deem them unscientific. “That a billionth of a grain of oyster shell, or chamomile has any possible effect whatever, is a ridiculous, absurd and impossible idea.” But he understood “the charm that homeopathy was likely to have for the nervous patient”.

Our life span has doubled since Simpson’s time. Modern medicine works wonders. But it is expensive. Your leader “Back science, not hunches about homeopathy” and article by Martyn McLaughlin (News, 20 September) hit the nail on the head. And what a pity that the post of Chief Scientific Adviser Scotland has been vacant since last year without any signs that it will be filled any time soon.

Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen

Let the curtain fall on royalty

FULL marks to Dani Garavelli for a down-to-earth assessment of our supposedly national anthem (“God save our right not to sing an anthem”, Insight, 20 September). It is, of course, not national at all, merely royal, and was completely out of place at the Battle of Britain anniversary celebration, as Dani pointed out.

God Save The Queen/King is appropriate only on occasions when the monarch is present, and performing an essential duty – it’s hard to believe that people used to stand in cinemas when it was played at the end of the screening, and were presumably expected to do so at home when it finished off the evening’s television transmission.

The ritual opening of parliament is obviously a genuine occasion for honouring the monarch in this way, so why does it not require a choral rendition from our assembled parliamentary representatives?

At a time when the idea of the majesty of monarchy has evaporated to the extent that people are openly recommending a game of succession leapfrog to allow William to sideline Charles as king, it would perhaps be appropriate to consider the very existence of royalty. Elizabeth has already reigned long over us, no doubt with some years yet to come: let her be the last.

Robert Dow, Tranent

Grievances take centre stage

IT IS no surprise to me that according to recent polls the country appears to be split 50/50 on the issue of independence. Calls for a second referendum are based on polls which suggest there is a chance that the SNP and their fellow separatists might just shout their lies loud enough and long enough to sneak over 50 per cent of the vote. Were that to ever happen it would mean that they would have to take on the complex and costly adventure of creating a new country with almost half the population disengaged with the task in hand. Any credible political party would never call a referendum until it was a simple rubber stamping of the popular feeling with a mandate of 80-90 per cent of the electorate. Could this ever happen in Scotland?

In her speech on the anniversary of the referendum Nicola Sturgeon chose not to remind everyone of the obvious benefits of leaving the UK but instead to continue the nationalists’ abstract grievance against Westminster in general and David Cameron in particular. Oh, how the positivity of the Yes campaign has evaporated in the last year!

Dr S J Clark, Edinburgh

Prison service is the latest failure

THE list of services in Scotland that are performing badly keeps getting longer and the latest figures on the Scottish prison service make grim reading, as overcrowding is at record levels and the salaries budget is well out of control.

The warning bells have been ringing at Holyrood for many years but no-one is listening as the SNP administration simply slope shoulders and blame Westminster for everything, while being obsessed and preoccupied with the independence issue and the staging of another referendum. There is a limit to what the Scottish people can withstand with persistent poor performance in our essential services and that limit has now been reached.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn