What on earth gives Alistair Hill, living in Germany, the right to demand a vote in the referendum just because he claims to be a “Scottish patriot” (Letters, 5 December)?
Voting at the referendum is based on legal British, Republic of Ireland Commonwealth and EU citizenship, and residency in Scotland.
There is no possible way for any government to tell whether a British citizen living in the rest of the UK, or abroad, is also “Scottish” or indeed “English, “Northern Irish” or “Welsh”.
There is only that person’s word on the matter, based on points which themselves may be debatable.
Mr Hill may be “aggrieved”. That’s too bad for him.
His circumstances mirror a lot of foreign-based internet nationalists, and his attitude reflects their absurd sense of entitlement to things that are not physically possible to arrange in the real world.
Perhaps they should try living in Scotland if they love it so much.
Finance secretary John Swinney claims “the Scottish economy has performed better since devolution because we have some responsibility in our own hands” (your report, 5 December).
Unfortunately, his own data in the economic policy paper published prior to the white paper shows otherwise.
Table 2.4 shows that the improvements began in 1990, with an average growth rate of 2.9 per cent compared with 3 per cent for the UK over the decade.
Secondly, the table provides post-devolution data only from 1999 to 2007, when the average annual growth rate is again 2.9 per cent.
From 2007, the relevant data has been published in Scotland Performs. Since Mr Swinney became finance minister, our average annual growth rate has been minus 2 per cent. In what way is that an improvement?
(Prof) Arthur Midwinter
If the independence proposals were a retail financial product, I doubt they’d meet the Financial Conduct Authority’s clarity criteria.
But if such vague product were put on sale, it would have to come with a mandatory warning that your country would re-possessed if you couldn’t keep up the payments.
R A Wallace
If the referendum returns a No vote with a slim majority, the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recommends a re-vote within 15 years.
And if we have a Yes vote with a large minority voting No? Are we advised to hold a confirmation vote 15, or 30, years after a trial independence period? If not, why not ?
I would like to endorse Gordon Lawson’s plea (Letters, 5 December) that those of us who have already made up our minds regarding independence be allowed to vote now.
Then we would no longer feel obliged to listen to reams of dodgy statistics, endless discussion of when the oil will (or won’t) run out, spokesmen telling us that we will be able (or unable) to continue to pay our bills in sterling, assertions that we can remain (or not) in the EU, and so on.
We would also be able with a clear conscience to turn off the TV and radio and avoid being subjected to the kind of mindless and appalling bickering we observed on BBC’s Question Time from Falkirk last week. If a vote now is impossible, then please could we have a moratorium on any further debate until seven days before the referendum is held.
As we approach the referendum it is surely incumbent on journalists and newspapers of record to be meticulous in their use of statistics, particularly if the SNP’s white paper prefers to adopt a selective approach. Eddie Barnes quotes £130 billion as Scotland’s pro-rata share of the UK national debt, based on the latter’s official total of £1.5 trillion (Inside Politics, 4 December).
But, under the odd accounting rules which would not be permitted by private companies, that total excludes liabilities for state pensions, many public sector pensions, Network Rail, PFI projects, nuclear power station decommissioning and others, making a true total of well over £6 trillion.
So Scotland’s true share is around £550bn or £110,000 per head. It could be even worse, as that figure excludes a potential £2.6 trillion for the RBS/HBoS bail-outs.
We have been living “on tick” and under false pretences since the war, leaving our children and theirs to pick up the tab with, relatively, reduced global economic strength.