Your letters on the independence referendum

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Independence

United we stand, divided we fall...

As a nation, we cannot afford to dwell on the internal issues of the day when the wider world picture looms so large, so terrifying.

I pray, for our children’s children’s sake, that Scotland will remain as part of the UK which after all we proudly helped to form. Great Britain is not another country – it is our country!

Only together do we have a hope of upholding freedom, democracy and a relative peace – at least in Europe.

We are living in a very tense world. We have engaged in wars which ave not helped the current state of affairs, but we cannot turn back the clock.

What we can do is look to safe-guarding the future.

We must ensure that the spectre of force, religious and political intolerance and fanaticism are held at bay from our shores. If Vladimir Putin sees a chink in our armour by Scotland splitting away from the rest of the UK, democracy and influence abroad will be severely eroded.

We already have the enemy within from the Islamic militants – how much weaker and vulnerable our position if we break up? Great Britain is only as strong as it is because we are united. That was so evident in the first and second world wars. Who would mind the back-door if she broke away?

I am amazed that we are even discussing this referendum when we live in such a hostile and dangerous world. Throw away the politics and personalities and focus on what is really happening out there.

The old epithet United We Stand, Divided We Fall was never more prophetic than now.

Sylvia Hawkins

Kelso

Don’t break ‘family’ ties

In 1927 my father was leaning over the garden gate when a man approached him, selling insurance. Dad, being a practical soul, was convinced and, at the age of 16, and living in Warwickshire, joined the Scottish Clerks Association (now Scottish Friendly). He remained with them, through all the changes, until around 1979. He bought policies for my sister and me at our births and for my sister’s children. He was active in the London branch and attended each AGM, sometimes as a delegate. I remember several visits to Scotland as a teenager. Dad really believed in the SCA and was proud of the links it gave us with Scotland.

Dad died in 1995 at the age of 84 and would, I know, have been devastated by the proposal for Scotland to leave the Union. My husband and I are devastated too. We feel like children of parents about to divorce, powerless to do anything about it; not even being asked for our views.

Most of the arguments for and against seem to have come from politicians or economists, but I don’t know if anyone has made a plea on behalf of ordinary people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This plea is about the love we have for Scotland as part of our family Union; love and pride about being part of the same great family. We don’t want you to leave. Please vote “No” and stay with us.

Margaret Duncum

Eade Road, Norwich

Why rule out a central bank?

Can anybody please explain why the SNP is so dead set against Scotland having its own national central bank?

Without its own national central bank Scotland would be unable to participate in the EU’s European System of Central Banks under Article 282 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, nor later in the Eurosystem for eurozone states as would certainly be required. And it has been made perfectly clear that this would be an insuperable bar to Scotland’s accession as a new member state of the EU; so why has the SNP adopted this strange stance?

Dr D R Cooper

Maidenhead

Everyone’s opinion is valid

Mr William Loneski’s letters appear regularly and are always filled with long- winded statements.I am now thoroughly fed up with him.

I do not profess to be a political person, but my opinion is as valid as Mr Loneski’s.

Firstly, the Yes campaign is made up of people from different parties and none, and is not the sole dominion of the SNP.

Secondly, the referendum is to give the Scottish people the right to vote for what they believe in and to be given complete power over their own affairs if they desire it.

Thirdly, talk of borders, barriers and the blame game is utter nonsense. People taking this decision are thinking how this will affect their lives, their families and their futures.

Lastly I would like to know what the real benefits of staying in the UK are.

Should we consider staying and being ruled by a coalition government which Scotland certainly did not vote for? Over seventy per cent of the cabinet are millionaires and the house of Lords is unelected. Should we support a government who borrows billions in our name to get out of financial trouble and allows banks and big business to pay out huge bonuses, while austerity measures are hitting many families hard and food banks are increasing at an alarming rate?

The Scottish people will consider these things for themselves and make up their own minds.

Doreen Philips

Clovenfords

TV debate was nothing of sort

That wasn’t a debate, it was a slanging match. It reminded me of my grandsons fighting over their toys, with the elder trying to explain to the younger why he couldn’t have everything he wanted and the younger, seeing his ambition thwarted, responding by shouting and bullying.

Heaven help this wonderful country if we allow reason to be swayed by bullying.

I suppose the one good thing to come out of the so-called debate is that we can now see the unpleasant, true nature of personal ambition.

Jo Mountford

Yetholm

Yes voters are blind to ‘truth’

Forty-five years ago, Winnie Ewing (the Separatist icon) tried to recruit me to the cause. The more I listened to her and the less she was able to answer certain “hard” questions, the more I became convinced of the woolly, pie-in-the-sky prospectus the SNP had at that time.

During the current debate on the run-up to the referendum nothing appears to have changed.

The heap of known unknowns which lies beyond the referendum remains a barrier, I maintain, for intelligent people.

Who are the Yes people?

For sure, there is a hard core of Scots who (at best) do not like the English, although the word Westminster is now generally used to cover that attitude. Such people would seek separation even if it could be absolutely proved to them that Scotland would be severely diminished as a result.

There are also those who see personal gain from separation, John Masefield they represent, “The jangle and the jargon and the hate of strivers after power in the state.”

Neither of these groups are remotely interested in the many downsides of separation. I do not expect them to change.

But who are the others who would not recognise themselves as being in either category? Have they all been taken in by the Separatists’ admittedly brilliant rhetoric and propaganda? Are they just dreamy romantics? Are they limited in their appreciation to a single cause – wars, nuclear, the bedroom tax etc – or simply, would prefer to be run from Edinburgh rather than London? Are they truly happy to wrench Scotland away from the security of the United Kingdom for such simplistic reasons?

Can they not see the vast disruption and cost that separation will cause to businesses and families throughout this nation? People both within and beyond Scotland who have never asked to be so disrupted will hardly regard Scotland with favour if their help is sought to unravel all the matters which remain to be resolved.

Are these Yes supporters not being just a little bit short-sighted – and selfish?

For Yes voters, the referendum is a cliff over which, lemming-like, they will be hurling themselves into a maelstrom of uncertainty. How can any intelligent person allow themselves to do such a thing?

Tim Usher

Chesters Grange, Ancrum

Yes vote means mortgage hike

Here’s why your mortgage could cost more on a Yes vote.

1. To keep the Pound with Westminster blessing, we would have to take a share of UK Government debt and pay interest on it. We would also broadly have to balance our budget each year. This would cause endless arguments between Westminster and Holyrood about shortage of funds, hence London politicians won’t go for this option.

2. To walk away but carry on using the Pound, like Panama, we would be seen by the financial world to have been walking away unilaterally from our debts. Money men don’t like this; borrowers such as this are higher risk. They would charge higher interest, generally raising our interest rates.

3. Panama, which has a huge, continuing, government-owned asset – the Canal – and a minimal welfare budget. We only have a huge but volatile, and over time diminishing, tax income from oil – and a big and growing welfare budget. The whisky industry is already owned by the English. We would be acting more like Zimbabwe, where banks can only lend dollars to the extent that they have dollars in their vaults. There would be reduced lending, with competition between industry and mortgages for funds; and shortages make interest rates rise.

Adair Anderson

Selkirk

No to lack of influence

A Yes vote is looking increasingly possible.

I have already voted No by post. I implore you to join me.

Here are four reasons why:

First, people living in Scotland did vote for the government in Westminster. At the 2010 general election, 63.8 per cent of voters in Scotland turned out: 35.6 per cent (one in three) of them voted either Liberal Democrat or Conservative. No, it is not a majority, but it is a significant minority which reveals the refrain of ‘A government in Westminster we didnae vote for’ to be incorrect and based on the dangerous myth of a politically homogenous nation.

This myth has been engineered by leaders in the SNP who prefers to say that the Conservatives won 1 out of 59 seats in Scotland in the last general election rather than admit that 16.7 per cent (one in six) of Scottish voters voted Conservative. Salmond and Sturgeon have made it clear that in their ‘fair’ and independent Scotland there will be even less space for the Conservatives.

Secondly, this referendum is not about policy or ousting the Tories. It is about dressing up parochial nationalism in the new cuddly, agreeable façade of Alex Salmond. It is about shattering civil institutions that work, and then trying to glue them back together again by 2016. It is about abandoning those in the rest of the UK to a sick political system rather than rolling up our sleeves as British citizens and working for more radical UK-wide change. The political system is sick. But seeking only to attend to our little corner of the UK through nationalism is not the way to fix it. In short, the SNP’s nationalism will break what works and not fix what is broken.

Thirdly, the SNP’s ‘fix’ will leave us at risk. In a recent letter to the Times, former chief of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, wrote that “the Scottish Government proposals will not offer the level of protection and support currently provided by the highly-sophisticated British security and intelligence agencies.”

We need the long history, strong oversight and international credibility of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to ensure that our state can deliver on its primary purpose: ensuring the safety of its citizens.

Fourthly, voting Yes also puts our safety at risk when we go abroad. An independent Scotland would not have as much influence as Britain on the global stage. Fact. It would not have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It would not be able to intervene in humanitarian crises such as that currently in Kurdistan. It would not be able evacuate its citizens from volatile places like Libya, as happened in August this year. Instead, Scotland would become like nearly every other country in the world, begging the Brits or the Americans to please rescue some of their citizens too.

It is this ability to enable Scots to get out there and do significant things in the world and protect our citizens from harm which sets us apart from other ‘rather nice’ countries like Norway or Germany.

I’m not surprised if you’re wavering towards Yes: the ‘Better Together’ campaign is incompetent and has been steam-rolled by the ‘Yes’ machine.

Do not, however, let that fool you into thinking that we aren’t better together or that nationalism is the answer. With Great Britain we are represented, secure and influential. Vote No.

Edward Watson

Jedburgh