Smears on backers of Union must end

IT is right and proper that the Scottish people get the chance to vote on whether they wish to see independent status restored to their nation.

The latest development in the independence debate involves the former Borders MSP, Jeremy Purvis, who has been unveiled as the leader of the campaign for what is termed “devo-plus”.

This is a proposal whereby Scotland would be responsible for income and corporation tax and its share of North Sea oil revenue, but not, as under “devo-max”, raise all taxes north of the border.

Whether the SNP’s agreement to put devo-plus on the ballot paper for the referendum in autumn, 2014, instead of devo-max is an indication First Minister Alex Salmond and his nationalist colleagues are no longer certain of a vote in favour of total seperation, and now realise the need for a fall-back, is anyone’s guess.

Hopefully, the next two-and-half years over which the debate on independence will occupy many more column inches in newspapers, will see a mature, sensible debate, as would be expected from a country that has given so much to the world.

But there is one small, insidious note that has started to seep out from some quarters and that is the view that if you are anti-SNP or anti-independence, then you are anti-Scottish.

That would be an insult to a huge number of Scots and should be stamped out now.