Readers' Letters: Let new voters in on Indyref2

Sir John Major has suggested there is a case for a two-tiered independence referendum in Scotland; one on the principle and a later one on the terms.

Former British Prime Minister John Major attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. This year, the service has been closed to members of the public due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Former British Prime Minister John Major attends the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020. - Remembrance Sunday is an annual commemoration held on the closest Sunday to Armistice Day, November 11, the anniversary of the end of the First World War and services across Commonwealth countries remember servicemen and women who have fallen in the line of duty since WWI. This year, the service has been closed to members of the public due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

This ignores the words of Nicola Sturgeon et al that the vote on the independence of Scotland in the 2014 vote was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, often quoted as main reason for not holding another vote.

There is another important democratic aspect to this debate which is all too often ignored. If another vote were to be held in 2021, seven years will have passed since the previous one. The phrase “once in a lifetime” does not apply to present voters in the 18 to 25 age group who could not vote in 2014. According to the 2011 census this group represents approximately 8 per cent of the total population, which is roughly 10 per cent of the population with a right to vote.

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The voice of this 10 per cent should be heard. Organising a “John Major” preliminary ballot of this group would be no more difficult than organising a full referendum. The case for “once in a lifetime opportunity” would then have more force – obviously only if this group were to vote “No”.

(Dr) Francis Roberts, Duddingston Square West, Edinburgh

Trump card

Unfortunately for the Democrats, news media and those with Trump Derangement Syndrome, it is the Electoral College electors who decide who is President-Elect, not them or media. The electors meet on December 14, as long as all legal wranglings are resolved, which may go on for some weeks, as it did in 2000 with Bush-Gore.

And, as then, the vote may not go as the Democrats and media wish or predict.

Steve Aiken, Goslawdales, Selkirk

Get together

Brian Monteith argues that “the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems must work together to defeat SNP” (Perspective, November 9). The recent US election result indicates that he is correct. Many Americans viewed Donald Trump as a narcissistic, populist leader, who stoked up divisions in his country, did nothing to address the problems it faced, and blamed it all on someone else. Luckily for them, they were able to oust him by voting for the candidate of the single party in opposition. The anti-Trump vote was not split amongst several parties.

In Scotland, many consider Nicola Sturgeon to be a narcissistic populist leader who also stokes up divisions, does little to address the problems she has control over, and blames it all on Westminster. The last few Holyrood elections, and many by-election results, resulted in an SNP administration because although more people voted for anti-Nationalist candidates, the votes were split amongst several parties.

The recent Scotland Matters poll of nearly 2000 pro-UK voters from all the parties indicated that 93 per cent were willing to support the idea of co-operation and co-ordination between the anti-Nationalist parties. The leaders of these parties should listen to this clear message.

No doubt the SNP will portray this as panic setting in amongst the anti-nationalists. In one way they are right. Having seen the SNP’s failure and incompetence while in government, and knowing the issues faced due to Brexit and covid, people are willing to put aside existing party loyalty and prejudice rather than allow the Nationalists to add catastrophe to calamity – which would be enough to panic anybody.

Mark Openshaw, Earlswells Road, Cults, Aberdeen

Unity makes sense

It is simply not true to state that Scotland had the highest level of care home deaths in the UK and Paul Lewis (Letters, 10 November) provides no evidence to back up his claim. On the contrary, research published by Stirling University on August 30 found that care homes in England recorded a 79 per cent increase in excess deaths, compared to 66 per cent in Wales, 62 per cent in Scotland and 46 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The recent Public Health Scotland report said: “The analysis does not find statistical evidence that hospital discharges of any kind were associated with care home outbreaks.”

And back in March, Labour and Tory politicians demanded that elderly patients be discharged into care homes to free up hospital beds. The hospital discharge policy was based on Public Health England advice and followed by all four nations so it does makes sense that a UK-wide inquiry is held to determine whether different approaches, if any, resulted in better outcomes. Nicola Sturgeon has promised that there will be a public inquiry but surely no one wants front line medical staff tied up dealing with an inquiry in the middle of the pandemic.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Hate to say it...

Juries are told that they are entitled to draw inference of intent from a person’s actions.

On this basis, Scotland’s Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, himself could be guilty of hate crime. The Hate Crime Bill, as currently proposed, would subject people to a degree of inquisition that most would find utterly unacceptable. They would be examined regarding assumptions about what they might (or might not) have thought in private or intended, about whether or not insult amounted to offence, about the harm done by alleged offence, and about the acceptability of various responses to alleged offence. As people came to realise the extent of their oppression, quite naturally there would be a lot of hatred. Yousaf’s actions would thus be hate crime.

Why go beyond making a clear distinction between legitimate debate and rabble-rousing, as recommended by Lord Bracadale?

John Gordon, Grange Crescent, Edinburgh

Folly of Brexit

It seems to me that the country in which I grew up no longer exists. Having an English father and a Scottish mother, plus a command of both languages, I grew up believing that I had the best of both worlds. I have lived for many years in relative comfort on the shoulders of what was formerly the British Empire, secure in the knowledge that I was British.

I have steadily and increasingly departed from that position. After years of war, and deaths, we now have a workable European Union, which did not come about by accident. As December 2020 approaches, to withdraw from the European Union is an act of complete folly.

Those in power must recognise and be confident in Europe’s abundance of intellectual talent to enable us to move forward, into the new world that awaits.

FW Rapson, Falcon Road West, Edinburgh

Nature of disasters

Week after week in his Inside Environment article Dr Richard Dixon blames mankind for global warming. But what about Mother Nature herself? Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and undersea eruptions all create emissions and damage to the infrastructure. The recent earthquake in Turkey destroyed buildings and the infrastructure so will need to be rebuilt; this involves cement, the manufacture of which emits high levels of emissions. The tsunami which devastated Japan led to the closure of the nuclear plants and coal-fired power plants being built.

Not widely reported – concealed? – was that Sir David Attenborough has repeatedly said that the fast growing world population was the real problem. Today it is 7.8 billion, by 2050 it will be 9.7bn and by 2100 the UN forecasts this will reach 11bn. This is a 41 per cent increase. Can the good Doctor give us his solution to this next week? The fictional little Dutch boy who saved the town by sticking his finger in a leaking dyke is well known.

The climate zealots who try to put a sticking plaster on Mother Nature are doomed to failure.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Shot in the foot

Dr Richard Dixon’s endless ideas on how to return us to the Stone Age continue with his suggestion that Scotland – having banned fracking – should not benefit from the fracked ethane gas presently imported by Ineos at Grangemouth, in order to send a message to the world (Inside Environment, November 10).

I doubt that countries which are building fossil fuel power stations in increasing numbers to cope with industrial demand will be interested in such a gesture of economic self-flagellation from Scotland. This constant commercial negativity in pursuit of the green dream, only serves to drive us further into the basement of failed economies.

If Scotland ever gains independence, and the views of Dr Dixon are typical of its management, we are in for a hard time.

Malcolm Parkin, Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood

Happy years

My partner, Tom Fidelo's, obituary appeared in The Scotsman (October 28) and I would like to let you know that there are two inaccuracies.

Firstly, the brilliant obituary refers to Eileen McCallum as Tom's wife. She was not his wife, as they were divorced many years ago.

Secondly, the obituary states that I was Tom's partner for ten years; in fact we had a very happy and wonderful 12 years, both in Edinburgh and at our apartment in Marbella, Spain.

(Mrs) Margo Cumming, Drummond Place, Edinburgh

Energy queries

Could Hannah Smith (Friends of the Scotsman, November 10) inform those living in fuel poverty as to how the increase in fuel bills from £1,250 a year to an annual £5,000 can be paid since renewable energy (16p/unit) is four times the price of Gas ?

In addition, who will will repay the £470 billion infrastructure debt when the CEO of Scottish Power stated in a paper to the World Forum on Climate Justice that “renewable energy is too expensive for the consumer”?

Ian Moir , Queen Street, Castle Douglas

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