There are some very straightforward facts to answer Douglas Cowe’s basic questions on independence (Letters, 12 October).
Q: Why was Andrew Wilson’s Report, which confirms years of austerity if Scotland becomes independent, being ignored and not debated at the SNP conference?
- Far from being ignored, Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission was debated at three all-day assemblies, involving hundreds of participants, with more to come.
Q: If independent, Andrew Wilson confirms Scotland would be carrying a massive deficit, how will this deficit be reduced without incurring substantial tax increases, a reduction in public services and no Barnett Formula payments?
-The GERS “deficit” of £13 billion includes several items that don’t get spent in Scotland, such as a theoretical £3.6bn a year for Scotland’s “share” of interest on the UK national debt, or the £3.1bn charged as a pro rata share of UK defence when less than half that amount is spent in Scotland. With oil prices around $85 a barrel, if an independent Scotland levied taxes at the UK 2010 levels it would bring in £6bn a year. Combined, these items would almost wipe out the GERS deficit.
Q: Why is the democratic No vote of 2014 not being respected?
- It has emerged that the NO vote on 2014 was built on a tissue of lies and, having been taken out of the EU against our democratic wishes, the SNP now holds two democratic mandates in 2016 and 2017 backing another independence referendum.
Q: Why would the SNP have us become independent only to try to have Scotland apply to Brussels to become part of a larger, more expensive and more regulated body?
- Small nations have much greater say in EU decision making, and often have a veto, whereas Scotland is regularly ignored without any say on UK decisions such as the Brexit negotiations.
Q: If independent, what sort of defence force would Scotland have?
- Scotland can have the same type of defence set-up as other small northern European countries at half the cost the UK charges Scotland under the GERS figures.
Economically, the UK remains the most unequal country in Europe, whereby London sucks government infrastructure investment at the expense of the rest of the UK.
Also, Scotland’s GDP per head is greater than France or Germany’s.
According to the recent IMF World Economic Outlook for 2018, the UK is forecast to fall from 163rd place out of 194 countries for growth to 173rd place over the next six years – not much of an advert for remaining in an isolated unequal union.
Mary Thomas, Edinburgh