Your letters on independence

What kind of Scotland do we really want?

Peter Heald accuses me of “total ignorance” on the subject of Scotland and the EU (Southern, January 16).

The arguments I make are a restatement of the views of Sir David Edward, successively Director of the Europa Institute, Judge of the European Court of First Instance and Judge of the European Court of Justice.

Mr Heald thus regards Sir David’s views as displaying “total ignorance of how the EU is set up and how it operates”. Readers can make their own judgement.

The rest of Mr Heald’s letter attempts to construct some bizarre “implied threat” of a Scottish oil embargo, and has the startling revelation that he believes that negotiations between Scotland and the EU post independence will have to be conducted by the UK. Not even David Cameron has mentioned that one.

Mr Wilson needs to update his information on the story about supermarkets putting up prices in an independent Scotland. All the big supermarkets have distanced themselves from this story. None of them have said that prices will rise in an independent Scotland. They will remain in competition after independence, keen as now to retain and expand market share against each other. This reminds me of how Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Moore were lining up last year to issue dire warnings about how “uncertainty” over independence was harming inward investment to Scotland, only for us to discover that in 2013 it actually rose by almost 50 per cent, moving Scotland to the number one target for inward investment outside London in the UK.

Mr Stratton responds to my charge that he failed to answer Jim Brown’s point (that Scotland would be within of the EU throughout the process of renegotiation) by quoting a section of his original letter which, as far as I can see, fails to answer Jim Brown’s point all over again.

Can I also suggest that those who think the issue of the EU and energy is all about the price of a barrel of oil take a look at some of the strategic papers produced on the subject of diversity, security, and the future direction of energy policy within the EU, particularly with regard to renewables.

Mr Donald acknowledges the point I’ve made about the huge difficulties that would exist for the EU in trying to eject Scots from EU membership – in addition to the fact that there is neither procedure nor precedent for them to follow in actually doing so.

I don’t question the competence of member states in handling issues as they come. Neither do I question their common sense in refusing to create a totally unnecessary mountain of woes out of the molehill of Scotland’s continuing membership.

Last week’s extensive efforts from your “No” correspondents continue to ignore the substance of arguments which have been made against them and repeat points which have already been answered.

As I write, William Hague is up on a day trip from London trying to heat up the same cauld kale about Scotland and the EU, failing to add that the referendum his government is committed to will most probably (on current polling in England) result in Scotland being taken out of the EU regardless of opinion north of the border anyway.

All this EU minutiae is making my eyes glaze over, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’d like to think it’s time to move on to thinking about what a “Yes” or “No” vote actually means. What kind of Scotland would you like to see develop for yourselves and your families? How do you think we can best achieve that kind of Scotland in the future?

Eric Falconer


Time for the real debate

Am I the only one who is fed up with the ongoing debate about EU membership and Scottish independence?

The facts are simple. If we vote “Yes”, then Scotland may or may not be a member of the EU in 5 years time – it depends on the outcome of the negotiations that will take place.

If we vote “no”, then Scotland may or may not be a member of the EU in five years time – it depends on the outcome of 
the UK EU membership 

There is uncertainty either way, so it is pointless to use it as an argument for or against independence.

Of course, if we vote “No”, the people of Scotland will only have a marginal influence on the outcome.

Instead, let’s have the more interesting debate about the kind of Scotland we want, and whether it is more likely to be achieved if we remain within the UK, or as an small independent country. Or the debate about the kind of world we want, and whether staying in the UK or leaving it, is more likely to bring about the changes we want.

David Bethune

Marion Crescent, Selkirk