Letters to the editor

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wake-up call

Yet another independent academic study has exposed fundamental flaws and untruths in the SNP’s dreams and propaganda concerning the quality of life in Scotland following a “Yes” vote next September.

Glasgow University’s Centre for Political Policy for Regions (CPPR) forecast that, post-independence, Scotland would lose the £7 billion in cash terms (or £1,400 for every man, woman and child in Scotland) it has received every year for decades from the UK Treasury (and UK-wide taxpayers) under the Barnett formula.

These monies are designed to cover the far-higher costs of social services and general infrastructure for a highly-dispersed population (five million scattered over 30,000 sq. miles) compared to the rest of mainland UK (60 million over 50,000 sq. miles). This £7billion loss is twice the most realistic SNP projection of oil income (£3.3-4billion in 2015-16), assuming Alex Salmond manages to retain our geographical share of dwindling North Sea oil revenues.

Any future independent Scottish Government would have no choice but to cut public spending drastically and/or raise taxes to eye-watering levels (28 per cent basic tax was estimated by a recent Treasury/Office of Budget Responsibility report) to maintain the benefits we currently enjoy – thanks to the 60 million taxpayers “down south”.

Food prices will be higher in an independent Scotland because of added transportation and distribution costs which are currently averaged out over the whole of the UK.

Everyone I meet from outside the UK simply cannot believe that Scotland is thinking of committing such an insane act of narrow-minded, self-destruction and economic suicide.

The SNP bullies behave like malcontented, intolerant children who simply want their own yard to play in, with no regard for the economic costs falling on those left stranded in an independent, remote country.

Michael Wilson


State of citizenship

The term “EU citizen” is simply shorthand for the unwieldy “citizen of a member state of the EU”.

EU citizenship does not yet exist in its own right. Nor can it until such time as there is a United States of Europe. Admittedly, this is the endgame for some EU leaders, but it hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, that the people of Scotland can also call themselves EU citizens derives directly from Scotland being part of the member state that is the UK. The syllogism could not be clearer.

In the event of a “Yes” vote in next year’s independence referendum, no doubt the EU would agree to negotiations on member state status starting with Scotland at some time. But the idea that all 28 member states will fall down on their knees and accept all the SNP’s diktats on terms and conditions, including keeping all the UK’s opt-outs, is absurd.

When Councillor Jim Brown (letters, December 12)refers to scare stories issued by other EU leaders with vested interests, he is presumably referring to the Spanish Prime Minister who has said that Scotland would have to apply from scratch to become a new member state.

Spain certainly has a vested interest in demonstrating to the Catalans the folly of separation. That doesn’t mean Spain’s stance can be dismissed as of no account. In any negotiations Spain will quite understandably defend its own interests to the full. Moreover, the presidents of both the European Council and European Commission have said the same as the Spanish PM. I wonder what their vested interests might be?

The fact is that Scotland would not be negotiating with a monolithic body speaking with one voice called the EU. The terms and conditions that would be offered to Scotland – and, just as importantly, when they would be offered – have to be agreed unanimously by all 28 member states, each with their own interests to protect.

That isn’t scaremongering. It’s harsh reality.

Peter Heald


Why would we want leave UK?

I was intrigued by correspondence (Southern, December 12) arguing that because Scots are currently EU citizens, they will remain EU citizens should Scotland separate from the rest of the UK.

This argument is flawed because it ignores the fact that our status as EU citizens is entirely conditional on our status as UK citizens. Scotland is not a member state of the EU, so if Scots vote to leave the UK, they will also be voting to leave the EU.

This is not just my view, but also that of the presidents of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy.

On December 10, 2013, Mr Barroso wrote: “If part of the territory of a member state would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the [EU] treaties would no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the treaties would no longer apply on its territory.”

Mr Van Rompuy has subsequently reiterated this view.

This means that an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the EU under Article 49 – not Article 48 as Alex Salmond has wrongly insisted – and the process would take, on past performance, a minimum of two years and 10 months – not the 18 months that Mr Salmond has claimed.

But, having said all this, the real question is why would Scotland want to leave the UK? We have a shared history, shared institutions, shared triumphs and shared values. Scotland is enriched by being part of the UK, just as the rest of the UK is enhanced by its relationship with Scotland.

We are, indeed, better together.

Simon Mountford

(councillor for Kelso and District)


On behalf of St Boswells Nursery Playgroup and Toddlers Group, I would like to thank the kind people who supported our Christmas Bonanza morning on December 7.

It was lovely to see so many people from the village come along. We would also like to express our deep gratitude to all the local businesses who donated prizes for our raffle.

A magnificent £872.82 was raised for the group’s funds and will help provide the children with outings, parties, and new toys and games.

Kyra Tweddle