Letters: Time to focus debate on the high costs of independence


NOW that Boris Johnson is PM (“Welcome to Planet Boris”, The Herald, July 24), nationalists are ecstatic. Surely No voters will now come to their senses and take the only escape route from the horror of a hard-right Brexit PM and vote for independence? After all every tabloid, broadsheet and heavyweight politician from Gordon Brown on the left to William Hague on the right have promoted this seductive trope, either welcoming it or warning of the ultimate break-up of the Union as a result of it.

In my view it is testimony to the downright irresponsible coverage and shallow analysis of constitutional matters that none of these papers or politicians has pointed out that because of the tanking oil price the economics underpinning independence are far worse now than in 2014 when oil was around $100 dollars a barrel; today it is $65. Has anyone bothered to remind us that Scotland spends £13.4 billion more than it raises in taxes whilst the Scottish NHS costs around £13 billion annually to run? No one has taken the time to tell us which taxes would increase and which welfare services would be cut and by how much to reduce this deficit.

Again, in the rush to promote the break-up of the Union no one has bothered to discuss the minor irritant for Scots who have taken out their mortgages in sterling of the distinct possibility that their wages will be paid in a new Scottish currency which could be worth less than sterling. Do pensioners really want to take the risk of having their pensions paid in a new Scottish currency whilst the rest of the UK continue to receive theirs in sterling? It really is unbelievable that such important information is not even being discussed in this latest round of ”independence is just around the corner”.

The fact that independence is always discussed, stripped of its economic context, gives rise to the promotion of shallow but seductive tropes such as independence is the obvious alternative to a Johnson-led hard Brexit. But is it really? My hunch is that when people become aware of the turbo-charged austerity which would inevitably follow independence, that staying in the UK trumps a Johnson-led hard Brexit.

Because of the appalling level of debate when it comes to constitutional issues the great worry is that the country could sleepwalk into independence. The crucial challenge for the majority who wish to remain in the UK is to recalibrate the independence debate to focus on the crucial economic consequences of independence that are never discussed: consequences such as how to pay off our fiscal deficit and our population share (£120 billion) of UK debt and how to find the £40 billion to buy the currency reserves to fund a new currency to mention but a few.

Robert Hoskins, Glasgow G43.

LIKE many who cannot accept our devolved power in Scotland and fancifully believe all would be well with separation from the UK, Hugh Kerr (Letters, July 24) seems to me to confuse personalities with policy.

Having lived through 16 Prime ministers I can assure him that, to the public at least, politics is very often no more than a passing parade. Boris Johnson will come and go like the rest of them. If he attempts to behave presidentially he will doubtless meet the same fate as Margaret Thatcher.

Although I personally feel that we have had to suffer the enervation imposed by the Tory Party elevating their court jester when our reserves were still depleted by Brexit, this is surely a time to keep the ship on an even keel.

The “wake-up call” advocated by Mr Kerr and targeted at the SNP is surely misdirected and as many would suggest, should be aimed at the Liberal Democrats. I consider that the Labour Party has, through self-inflicted errors of judgment, managed to make itself less likely to be elected into power than at any time since the Second World War.

It is now for Jo Swinson, leader of the LibDems, to “do a Boris” and rally the troops while the Conservative party is still in conflict with itself. Not since 1905 when Henry Campbell-Bannerman became Prime Minister for the Liberal Party has such an opportunity been presented.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

CAST your mind back. The minute the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was announced, the SNP declared it was on the offensive. The minute the 2016 Brexit referendum was announced, the SNP declared it was on the offensive. The minute Boris Johnson’s premiership was announced, the SNP immediately declared itself on the offensive. All three events linked by the ” necessity” for Scotland to go its own way.

In these five years, Scotland has not done very well, but the important question is would it have been better if we had split from England? The answer is resoundingly “no”. The proof is the current state of Scotland’s already-devolved powers and the numerous failures these have engendered. Saying that given all powers this would be so much better, is demonstrably wrong. The SNP is seeking any excuse to seize any half-chance to promote independence. That suggests desperation.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

IF there was ever a crystal-clear indication of the pathetic state of the Labour Party in Scotland it is surely the comments by Labour councillor Alex Gallagher (Letters, July 24).

On the day when the United Kingdom has had possibly the worst Prime Minister ever forced upon it by an extreme right-wing element within the Tory Party how does this representative of the Labour Party react? He writes a letter criticising the First Minister. You really could not make it up. If Mr Gallagher genuinely cared about this “United” Kingdom his thoughts and actions should have been directed towards ways to counteract the little Englander policies which Boris Johnson espouses.

Not only does this show that Labour is in a deep hole but it also tells us that Mr Gallagher and his cohorts just can’t stop digging.

David Stubley, Prestwick.

LIKE him or not, Boris Johnson has the same charismatic charm and panache as Alex Salmond used to have with the people and Scottish folk will soon warm to him as a politician with real character.

He has a very difficult ahead taking the UK out of Europe but he is the one politician who has the capability to deliver to the people what they actually voted for.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen AB21.

THE village joker has been anointed the saviour of the nasty party. A Titanic moment for the UK?

Ian Lennie, Falkirk.

IS the world destined to be governed by self-serving, childish oafs, lacking in social skills or any degree of statesmanship, sporting dodgy haircuts and putting their personal ambition before what is best for their countries?

I, of course, refer to The Donald and to Kim Jong-un, and not to anyone at Westminster or Holyrood. The latter are, I am sure, working selflessly on our behalf.

Brian Johnston, Torrance.

Letters: Johnson win should be SNP wake-up call


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