Independent points of view

As one of the Scottish electorate in whom A. Graeme Morrison (letters, May 12) is so disappointed, perhaps it would help if I explain why I voted SNP.

Let me assure him it was not a “knee-jerk rejection of Labour and the Lib Dems”, neither was I “charmed by flagship SNP policies”.

Like the majority of the Scottish electorate I voted Labour at every election from 1974 to 1997. Up until 1979 there was a general feeling which had persisted since the war that the average person in Scotland shared roughly the same political values as the average person in the rest of the UK, so that while culturally most, if not all, Scots identified strongly with Scotland, politically, the majority did not favour independence.

That all changed, however, when Margaret Thatcher was elected with a huge majority three times, despite having little or no support from the Scottish electorate. For the next 30 years we desperately hoped that the majority of people south of the border would eventually close the distance between us, but this has never happened.

Realising this, the Labour Party deserted its historic position in British politics, moving sharply to the right in the hope of attracting the so-called “middle England” vote. This they did very successfully, but in so doing they left the Scottish electorate high and dry, as they had consistently voted for the Labour Party without requiring them to swing dramatically to the right.

Between them, the Conservative and Labour parties had destroyed the UK consensus.

The Scottish centre of politics has always been considerably to the left of the UK centre anyway, but now Labour voters found themselves totally at odds with the very party they had supported loyally for the past 60 years. Many began to feel that if they could no longer find common political ground with the majority of people south of the border then the only way to build the kind of society they wanted would be in an independent Scotland.

The Lib Dems, in turn, have now completely deserted their core support in Scotland, and earlier this month deservedly paid the price.

It always amazes me that when unionist politicians and their supporters are asked if they agree with independence for Eire, Norway, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, Czechs and Slovaks – in short, any other country – they immediately say “yes”. But if you then go on to ask them about Scotland they say “oh, no. I don’t agree with that!”

Is there anyone out there who thinks that any of these free peoples chose independence for mainly economic reasons? Of course they didn’t, and neither will we. I am more convinced now than ever that an independent Scotland will have a bright economic future – but that’s only one of the many reasons why I’ll be voting yes.

I’ll be voting yes because remaining in the Union guarantees in perpetuity a UK government of whatever colour forming policy and taking decisions without our consent. I’ll be voting yes because I prefer to trust the people of Scotland to create the sort of society that I want my granddaughter to grow up in.

Kenny Speirs


A. Graeme Morrison (letters, May 12) manages to briefly drag himself from the depths of despair to complain that proposals seeking an independent Scotland are doomed to economic failure due to misguided assumptions.

Can I point him in the direction of the Government Expenditure and Review Scotland (GERS) dated 2008/9 (the most recently published statistics) which show Treasury revenue raised from Scotland being £55.2billion, while Treasury expenditure in and to Scotland totalled £54billion.

By my rudimentary arithmetic, that paints a totally different picture to the basket case you choose to portray Scotland as being. You might not like this fact, but could at least do us the favour of presenting a reasoned argument.

You go on to mention Greece being a financial cesspool and yet its rate of growth is currently 0.8 per cent, being greater than ours. Perhaps the difference lies in stricter economic controls within your dreaded eurozone at a time when the UK was printing billions of new money. This will come back to haunt us all.

Nonetheless, I agree that now is not the time to join the euro at €1.13 per £1 – we should have joined at €1.57 before the value of the pound plummeted.

Your point about the BBC is interesting, if only because it, as an organisation, is being criticised for bias, plummeting standards and all points between. The case for proper Scottish TV has never been stronger. Currently, the licence fee raises millions more in Scotland than is spent here. Another dividend of your Union, perhaps.

Can I finish on two points. Firstly, if the Isle of Man, Jersey et al are big enough to be independent, then why are we too small? Secondly, why is it that so many purporting to support the Union use the same arguments to propose leaving the European Union as those supporting Scottish independence use to leave the UK?

I am delighted we can finally have a debate about independence – but can we rise above the sky will fall in?

David Munro

Weirhill Place


Goodness, what a whinge from A. Graeme Morrison (letters, May 12 )! I do hope there are few such pessimists like him in the rest of Scotland.

Let us take one whinge at a time. He says voters “ignored the cleverly hidden agenda of independence”. Well, if he had troubled himself to read the SNP manifesto, he would have found two whole pages devoted to the benefits of independence. The subject was also aired on radio and TV.

However, the SNP knows there are far more pressing problems to be tackled before independence, such as greater financial powers, alcohol abuse, sectarianism, etc. Again, the manifesto stresses its priorities.

In any case the SNP has always promised that the Scottish people will decide if they want independence in a referendum. Were we allowed any such luxury when other major policies were thrust upon us, such as the disastrous Tory poll tax?

While there may be dissatisfaction among parts of the populations of some Eurozone countries, I defy Mr Morrison to name one country which has definite plans to abandon the euro. Further, if the people of countries experiencing extreme financial difficulties such as Eire, Iceland or yes, Greece, were asked if they would prefer to abandon their independence, a very dusty answer would be received.

As one of only two large area Conservative constituencies in Scotland, and therefore the most English, perhaps it is time for Mr Morrison to organise a petition to move the border north, or to get over it now, before Armageddon.

Richard Walthew

Whitsome Crofts


In his letter published last week, A. Graeme Morrison states that Scotland is a proud nation, and a prominent and vital part of the United Kingdom.

But he also says that we Scots have a disproportionate number of the population out of work and on state benefits, and a majority of people in the public sector all having to be financed by an ever-decreasing private sector workforce.

I do hope he does not subscribe to the persistent contention that Scotland is financed by England. Surely the Scottish nation would wish to advance without the alleged financial dependence on our larger neighbour.

Where has he been for the past few weeks that he finds that the independence issue was cleverly hidden by the SNP while it was proclaimed from the rooftops by the opposition parties? The Labour Party talked of nothing else.

I look forward to his book on how an independent Scotland, unlike dozens of nations who have become self-governing in our lifetime, could not possibly govern itself.

His worry that we could lose BBC Scotland is not surprising as the 6pm domestic news items are consistently labelled “in England” as Scotland now looks after its own domestic affairs.

Mr Morrison’s ray of hope that the Borders could secede from an independent Scotland and join England I shall take in the jocular spirit I hope it was made.

F. G. Philips

Leyden Park