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Letters: EU must be key part of the case for independence

IN his article on Indyref2, Andy MacIver (“How to win over a No voter: Well, it’s the economy, stupid”, The Herald, August 13) pursues a wholly economic premise with which we may woo No voters and win them over to the case for Scottish independence. I appreciate that his close links with the Scottish business community provide a rationale for this, but he conveniently appears to ignore the overwhelming Brexit-shaped elephant in the room in reaching his conclusions.

Leaving the EU unpicks the logic of Scotland’s place in the UK as we can no longer, as Mr Maciver intimates, be Scottish, British and European; a choice will have to be made.

Any economic argument for a future independent Scotland must include the possibility of remaining in the EU. Free movement of Labour is vital for Scotland to redress an ageing and shrinking population and only by remaining as EU members can this be achieved. Brexit is essentially an English project, releasing as it undoubtedly has, a Pandora’s Box of xenophobic English nationalism and reckless political and economic behaviours. A wide range of economic predictions show that the average UK income could be cut by 10 per cent by 2030 due to the effects of Brexit on our economic performance. An independent Scottish economy would mean that Scotland was the gateway for foreign investment that once came to the UK in the event of Scotland remaining a member of the EU.

Though Mr Maciver and others may argue, accurately, that two-thirds of our exports go to the rest of the UK and that oil is no basis for a future growing economy, it is nonetheless also true that Canada sells 75 per cent of its exports to the United States, which doesn’t preclude it from being an independent land.

Winning over No voters must emphasise a commitment to be part of the EU. Small states such as Ireland have flourished under EU membership and Scotland can certainly do likewise.

Mr Maciver must note that remaining part of the UK will be to experience economic uncertainty and a high level of negative growth for the forseeable future. Britain’s supine position will render it helpless in the face of American hawks like John Bolton and the welfare state, our greatest social and political achievement regardless of Mr Maciver’s scepticism, will be sacrificed at the altar of libertarianism.

Mr MacIver claims that he casts his vote purely on the merits of how this will advantage him and his family. Not all of us approach our political decisions with such a pragmatic selfishness. If paying more in taxes to redistribute the wealth of a nation is abhorrent to you then perhaps you need to engage in an exercise of self- reflection and realign your moral compass. I believe an independent Scotland is an opportunity to provide a fairer and more equitable nation for our children and our grandchildren.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

I AM afraid that Tony Jensen’s memory has deceived him with regard to our knowledge of the risk of Brexit in 2014 (Letters, August 13). The Scottish Government’s White Paper published in 2013 stated very clearly: “A new threat is now emerging: the growing possibility that, if we remain part of the UK, a referendum on future British membership of the EU could see Scotland taken out of the EU against the wishes of the people of Scotland, with deeply damaging consequences for our citizens and our economy” (p 210).

It is not “plain wrong”, or “Unionists fabricating recent history” but a simple matter of record that when we voted No, we knew Brexit was a risk and priced it into our decision.

Conversely we knew – because the European Commission in Brussels told us rather than due to any Unionist skullduggery – that to vote Yes was to vote to leave the EU on the same day we would leave the UK. This was clearly a greater risk in relation to a referendum which could have gone either way, but one that Yes voters likewise took heed of when they cast their ballot.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow G13.

HOW delighted I was to read Marianne Taylor’s piece (“Brown insults us all by claiming independence is an evil”, The Herald, August 12). Ever since his intervention in the 2014 ieferendum I have been shocked and ashamed at his anti-historical sermons on the independence question. (We both did history at Kirkcaldy High School and he is Dr Brown PhD History Edinburgh.)

On the cusp of a disastrous Brexit we live in this subaltern nation within a state whose hegemonic impulse is to persistently deploy state power in support of a Unionist-state ideology. Dr Brown is one of the leaders of this policy offering his own constitutional version of Tory Unionist-state hegemony. This Unionist-nationalism is neither a paradox nor an oxymoron but is proclaimed unscrupulously and bereft of shame by leading voices in the current Brexit discourse by Boris Johnson (with hints of English nationalism) as well as by Gordon Brown’s British nationalism supported with dishonour to its name by the Scottish Labour Party.

London’s power to dictate Scotland’s future post-Brexit will be economically profoundly damaging and constitutionally wholly unacceptable. Scotland as part of a post-Brexit union is politically unsustainable in defying the will of the Scottish people. Gordon Brown should know better and do better. He should support Scotland as a sovereign state as the only honourable course to rid Scotland of its subaltern status within the UK while retaining its rightful place within the EU.

Thom Cross, Carluke.

PHILIP Adams (Letters, August 13) persists with the sterile exercise of debating the issues which should determine the interval between national votes on the Scottish independence issue. Regardless of the merits of his analysis of the question, the simple truth is that independence will be achieved if and when the people of Scotland demand it, whether this takes a millennium, a generation or only a day or two.

Britain went to war in 1939, not on the basis of economic arguments, but to escape the tyranny of Hitler’s Germany. If and when the Scottish people decide to break free from the tyranny which their southern neighbours have chosen to endure, economic arguments will not be their prime consideration.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

DR Gerald Edwards (Letters, August 10) reminds us that the SNP “continues to pretend a simple majority is enough” in a future independence referendum. The difference between 50 per cent plus one and 50 per cent minus one is two votes (Higher mathematics, 1961). Not robust; more than two voters will die of natural causes between the poll closing and the result being announced.

I propose that a two-thirds majority would be required, reflecting the law in many nations; reflecting also the constitution of the SNP.

William Durward, Bearsden.

How to win over a No voter: it’s the economy, stupid

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