Readers' Letters: If Brexit is so bad, how can Scexit be so good?

According to SNP MSP Mike Russell “there will be very significant damage to Scotland's economy and society because of the UK Government's decision to leave… the EU... in the middle of a pandemic and a recession”.

Michael Russell MSP likes the European Union, but not the Union of Scotland and England
Michael Russell MSP likes the European Union, but not the Union of Scotland and England

Yet he supports leaving the UK while we are still in a pandemic and recession. If Brexit is bad for Scotland, surely leaving a 300-year-union with the fifth-largest economy in the world would be much worse.

After all, we have an open border with England, speak the same international language, depend on England for more than 60 per cent of our exports, share a free and open single market with high safety and environmental standards, have unfettered access to that market, share a common currency, and enjoy support from one of the most prestigious central banks in the world.

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Surely even the most zealous supporters of leaving the UK can see the contradiction between saying that leaving the EU will be disastrous but leaving the UK will be great. Brexit bad, Scexit good. It doesn't make sense.

William Loneskie, Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder

Blame voters

On Radio Scotland yesterday morning, Michael Russell MSP blamed the UK government for the impending disaster of Brexit.

But the UK government is merely carrying out a marginal decision of the electorate, who were consulted in a fiercely demanded referendum, after having been advised of the financial benefits of leaving the EU by the single issue UK Independence Party that has now gone very quiet about things, instead of being out there leading the predicted scenes of rejoicing.

Malcolm Parkin. Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross

Bee in her bonnet

I wonder if Lesley Riddoch ever reads her own articles. If she did, she might notice the complete inconsistency of her argument about Boris Johnson and the ”first past the post” system (Perspective, December 14) that she regards as being “destructive”, rather than decisive.

First past the post normally gives us a government which can run the country effectively because it does not fudge everything, which a system which requires coalitions does. She implies that she would prefer a bizarre system such as proportional representation, which is used elsewhere and which often results in crippled government in such countries as Italy or Belgium.

She describes an attempt made by Boris Johnson to speak to leaders of the two major EU powers as “clumsy”, but I bet that if he had not attempted to make contact with them, he would have been described as “aloof”, or “stand-offish”. He is simply trying to talk to the organ-grinder, rather than to his monkey, as the EU Commission demands.

Boris really can’t win with Lesley, can he? Always wrong. Then again, Lesley proves that she has a bee in her bonnet about the EU. Indeed, her total inconsistency reveals itself, when “Remain-voting Scots” get a look-in, but the many hundreds of thousands of Leave-voting Scots don’t get a mention.

That isn’t very inclusive, but, there again, her approach echoes that of the EU. If you’re with the mainstream, you count. If you aren’t, you don’t count.

It's not really terribly different from first past the post, is it?

Andrew HN Gray, Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh

Mill and will

C Scott (Letters, December 14) thinks that a written constitution should include a condition that any future referenda should only be considered mandatory if carried by a two-thirds majority. He quotes John Stuart Mill, who says that this would “prevent the despotism of the numerical majority”. It appears that Mr Mill and C Scott both deplore the democratic will of the majority as despotism and prefer the tyranny of the numerical minority.

Gill Turner, Derby Street, Edinburgh

Smokescreen

During the pandemic First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has always insisted that she “has followed the science” in coming to a decision about placing areas in specific tiers.

Yet it now seems that this is not the case in respect of Edinburgh when public health officials last week apparently recommended that Edinburgh could be placed in Tier 2 because of falling infection rates in the city but Ms Sturgeon kept the city in Tier 3 as she moved Glasgow from Tier 4 to 3.

Did she not want to upset voters in Glasgow by moving Edinburgh to Tier 2, as justified by science? It would seem that Ms Sturgeon is quite happy to use “science” as a smokescreen when it suits her purposes but politics continues to be a major factor in her decision-making.

Bob MacDougall, Oxhill, Kippen, Stirlingshire

Ill-judged

Christine Jardine (Perspective, December 14) rightly points out that the decision to keep Edinburgh in tier 2 was based not on the evidence or the scientific advice but on the judgement of Nicola Sturgeon and her cabinet.

This is worrying. Only the previous week a Holyrood committee report on the Ferguson Marine debacle delivered a damning verdict on the judgement of this cabinet. SNP ministers were accused of “poor decision making and a lack of transparency” in what was labelled a “catastrophic failure”.

It's a safe bet to assume that an inquiry into the Bifab or Prestwick shambles would produce a similar verdict and the conclusion that “catastrophic failure” fits the bill on a regular basis.

The even more serious question is whether such a description applies to the handling of the pandemic? Have there been other occasions when the scientific advice has been overridden by SNP judgement?

It remains to be seen since we cannot discern if there has been poor decision making because of the SNP's record of a lack of transparency.

Colin Hamilton, Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

Tell the truth

When a well-known and nationalist-leaning academic like Sir Tom Devine squeals in outrage at the warped version of history that was destined for our kids in SNP-run Scotland, we all should share his anger. This was an Orwellian Ministry of Truth version of the historic events leading up to the Scottish parliament and could have been written by some frenzied and over-refreshed zealot just back from the latest SNP march.

More than anything else, it tells us the weakness of the nationalist argument for breaking up the UK. Is it really so difficult for nationalists to tell the factual truth?

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

The CAP fits

I have read Martyn McLaughlin's article on the recipients of EU subsidies for their farming and forestry enterprises in Scotland.

The CAP is designed to assist farmers. It does not discriminate between the wealthy and the poor or between foreign owned and UK owners.The point of the CAP, and indeed, whatever replaces it following Brexit must ensure we have a successful vibrant agricultural sector which meets its environmental responsibilities. Whoever is prepared to invest in this sector should be welcomed, not discouraged.

Andrew P Godfrey, St Mary's Drive, Dunblane

Complex history

For far too long the people of Scotland have been inundated, whether they believe it or not, with the ongoing forlorn cries of the disciples of the SNP for, in their own words, “independence”.

Firstly, let us define this word which can only be described as being in a state of overuse in Scotland at present. The dictionary indicates that it means (1) a state of being independent; or (2) a country having full sovereignty over its territory. Relatively clear, one might think, but hold on, the status quo in what are often referred to as the British Isles is more complex than SNP members would have us believe.

It has to be acknowledged that from a leadership point of view it was a King of Scotland who became the first monarch of what became Great Britain. Then later, in 1707, it was mutually agreed by both the parliaments of England and Scotland that a joint Parliament at Westminster should be formed.

When in more recent times, under section 44 of the Scotland Act 1998, the Scottish Executive was formed in Edinburgh, it was with the full agreement of Westminster. Similar local assemblies were created in Wales and Northern Ireland in a move for more decentralisation.

In 2014 when the SNP raised the question of Scottish “independence”, discussions with Prime Minister David Cameron eventually led to what was described at the time as a “once in a generation” referendum being held on the subject of Scotland becoming independent of the UK. The SNP campaign was unsuccessful!

If the vote had gone the other way, would the SNP have agreed to a plea from the Unionists for a second referendum? I think not! Thus what we now have is an impasse which is appropriately referred to as “Neverendum”.

In my view the Scottish Nationalists should be relieved that they were unsuccessful in 2014, especially when one gives consideration to the state of Scotland's economy under their Administration. One has only to look at the last GERS figures for Scotland – a deficit of 8.6 per cent of GDP, amounting to £15.2 billion. And what, prithee, will the figures be like once the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic are ultimately felt within the Scottish economy.

Robert I G Scott, Northfield, Ceres, Fife

Smile

I thought that I recognised the new pop No 1 for Christmas from the days of my distant youth until I learned that the first line was not “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”.

Andrew Broom, Traquair Park West, Edinburgh

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