DA the First Minister is probably a little busy today, I give answers to Mark Smith’s questions (“Five questions the First Minister needs to answer in 2021,” The , Jan. 4). He says her New Year’s article in Politico prompted them.
Mr. Smith asks Ms. Sturgeon to clarify her claim on the beauty of Scotland. That’s an interesting question, because he instantly admits that this is a reality, but then says that it doesn’t mean that we need a special political structure, because we’re pretty much the same as our neighbors. Let me provide a way for him to overcome the contradiction. We are similar to, but not equal to, our neighbors. Many of us believe the political structure of the United Kingdom is functioning very poorly and needs profound reform. That’s why we’d like to pick our own.
Next, he wonders why they feel that independence is now supported by most Scots. Since opinion polls indicate quite consistently that more individuals are for it than against it. OK, that leaves the “don’t know,” out, but it’s a quibble in background. Particularly since the most recent survey (by The Scotsman/Savanta ComRes) reports that 52% of all respondents support independence and only 38% oppose it.
Next question: how are England’s values different from ours? A smart point, because that’s not what the First Minister was emphatically saying. She contrasted the principles behind Brexit with the common spirit behind the joint international vaccine production, which is very different from that. That was an overt twisting of her vocabulary.
Question 4 from Mr. Smith is on why Ms. Sturgeon disagrees with the United Kingdom. Where that question comes from, I don’t know. In her post, she did not discuss federalism at all. If Mr. Smith wants reasons against the federal proposal, I can refer him to countless articles in recent years. Among the many compelling points she makes, there are two: Scotland does not regulate its own economy in a federal Britain; and England would call the shots on all major issues.
Last question: why is she always calling this a “hard Brexit”? Response: because it is. It’s because, for fear of his fierce pack of Tory Brexiteer radicals, the British prime minister was too poor to negotiate any agreement. I am sure that the overwhelming majority of Leave voters – whose opinion I respect, even if I do not share it – would have been pleased with a much higher degree of accommodation with the EU, but Mr. Johnson’s vacuum of leadership did not allow him to seek it. Does Mr. Smith claim that a “soft Brexit” is what we have? I would like his points to be considered.
Edinburgh EH3 Lyn Jones.
A BORIS JOHNSON TOAST
For his swift action in procuring the BioNTech vaccine, CREDIT must be granted to Boris Johnson. According to the vaccine company’s CEO, the EU’s slow bureaucratic approval process and its meticulous small-scale ordering have led to shortages in EU countries. No wonder the German media are angry about the “EU’s dithering” as vaccination centers in the very country where it is made have had to close due to vaccine shortages.
So let’s give Mr. Johnson a toast at the beginning of the new year. Just be patient, Ms. Sturgeon, to save you from choking.
Houston’s Morag Black.
NO RAPID Return to the EU
NICOLA Sturgeon’s bold prediction that Scotland could be back in the European Union as an independent state “soon” (“Sturgeon: Independent Scotland will be back in the EU ‘soon,'” The , Jan. 2) lacks any basis in fact. Indeed, similar claims by Alex Salmond in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum were very quickly countered by Juan Manuel Barroso, then president of the European Commission.
Apparently, Michel Barnier has made it very clear that it would take a very long time for Scotland to have access to the EU. Spain will almost certainly veto such a request so as not to strengthen Catalan expectations of independence.
Ms Sturgeon has not yet stated whether, if pressured, Scotland will join the euro. She always ducks the issue of a growing Scottish deficit, well above the three percent of GDP allowed by the EU.
Unfortunately, her insubstantial prediction is just a wish.
Kingsbarns, Ronald J. Sandford, Fife.
HYPOCRISY OVER PRIVATIZATION
JIM Daly (Letters, Jan. 4) seems to adhere to the notion that if you do something often enough again