Myths and uncertainties of Scots vote

From: Keith Hartley, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of York, York.

THE recent TV debate illustrated the SNP’s focus on myths and emotion rather than facts. Trident is a further illustration of the point.

Alex Salmond claimed that without Trident, Scotland would save some £4bn which would be available for alternative public spending. Another of his many myths. Reality is dramatically different.

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The Trident replacement is likely to cost the UK around £100bn over 50 years which is an annual average cost of £2bn. Scotland’s share of these costs might be some eight per cent. This means an annual average contribution to the Scottish Exchequer of some £160m and not the billions claimed by the SNP.

The SNP has conveniently ignored two further implications for its defence policy. First, they claim that scrapping Trident (independence would not mean scrapping it) would rid Scotland of nuclear weapons. But an independent Scotland plans to join Nato which relies on a nuclear umbrella part of which is provided by the UK nuclear deterrent.

Second, there are implications for an independent Scotland’s future defence forces. Alex Salmond demands a currency union threatening to refuse to pay its share of UK debts. All policies have costs. In addition to the costs of default, such behaviour means that an independent Scotland would not qualify for its share of UK defence assets, namely, aircraft, warships and tanks. Without these transfers, an independent Scotland would have to buy such equipment, meaning other aspects of public spending would have to be sacrificed (or Scotland would have no equipment for its Forces).

Not to worry. Alex Salmond’s magic wand will solve all these problems.

From: Mike Smith, Birkby, Huddersfield.

WHATEVER the outcome of the Scottish Independence referendum, it is inevitable that it will be followed by months, if not generations of acrimonious debate. The main root cause will be money, which is the usual problem when families break up.

Alex Salmond and his supporters will be resentful if his demands are not met in full and the residual United Kingdom will be resentful if our own politicians pay a heavy price to buy him off.

Whichever way the cookie crumbles, it will be a very expensive exercise dividing up the assets and at a time when we can least afford it, especially while still recovering from 13 years under the Scottish economic management of Gordon Brown.

The prospect of Scottish independence is already causing uncertainty on the Stock Market and also in the banking world with negative impact on the pound. Then there will be the whole business of redefining nationality and what British means if indeed the very name continues to exist.

If the “Yes” vote wins, the virtual destruction of the United Kingdom will be down to the nationalistic dreams of a mere four per cent of the total population. After something like 200 years of reasonably harmonious relations and a great deal achieved in the world together as a United Kingdom’, I am certain a Scottish breakaway will be very costly for all parties – both financially and in terms of international influence.

From: Dr Glyn Powell, Kellington, Goole.

IF I were a Scot living in Scotland, I would most definitely vote for independence. I would then be free of harsh, out of touch legislation such as the poll tax, bedroom tax and other unnecessary welfare cuts foisted on the more socially aware and cohesive Scots by the right wing governments at Westminster. Also, I would be free from destructive and wasteful nuclear weapons located in my back yard.

Quite apart from ridding myself of ludicrous economic and social policies pursued by English Tories, I would also look forward to more enlightened foreign policies.

From: Geoffrey Stirke, Newton-le-Willows, Bedale.

AS a dyed in the wool Yorkshireman, I take no sides in the Scottish referendum.

But I ask the question, where are the so-called constitutional experts? They surely would say it must be unconstitutional and criminal for the Scots who live out of their country not to have a say in their country’s future. You can take a Scot out of Scotland, but you can’t take the Scottishness out of a Scotsman.

From: David M. Loxley, Hartoft, Pickering.

THE United Kingdom. United we stand, divided – we fall.

The “Scottish Vote”, because it is limited to those who live in Scotland, is more of an attempt by Alex Salmond to make an unilateral declaration of independence.

Ian Smith did that, some years ago with Southern Rhodesia; perhaps with fair reason. Alex Salmond is doing this for no reason. Does he wish to rejoice under the title of Mr President?

From: MA Myers, Selby.

IF Scotland votes for independence, it would solve a potential problem. I have told my family that if we ever get another Labour government I would leave the country. Moving to Scotland would be the answer.

From: Bill Robinson, Dewsbury.

I FEEL as a Yorkshireman that Scotland should be allowed to decide which way they should vote, not with bribes or promises of more money when they already get far better deals from our government on medical prescriptions and other elderly care costs.

If they don’t like the British way of life, then I suggest that it would be better to let them go.