Sir, – Given the result of last week’s referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union and given the geographic distribution of voting patterns, I would like to pose the question: how large a majority is enough?
In many organisations and clubs, a large majority is needed before there can be a change in their rules.
For example, you will recollect that the Muirfield Golf Club had a vote on whether to allow lady members. More than 50% voted for (I seem to remember the figure was 62%) but that side of the debate did not have the necessary two-thirds or 66% needed to change the rules and so the motion was defeated.
You will be well aware of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU and you will be aware that although there was a large majority for the Remain side in every region of Scotland, the majority, taken over the whole of the UK was 52% in favour of Leave.
Now just consider the importance of the question of whether the UK should leave the EU.
Is a simple majority enough? Is the 52% found over the whole UK enough? Then, would 51% be enough? Or 50.5% or 50.1% or 50.005% be enough?
The result of the choice is a serious one. It is not like going in or out of your back door, or even like electing an MP. The result of the action cannot easily be reversed.
I would suggest that MSPs and MPs should stand up in Holyrood and in Westminster to argue that 52% is a trivial majority and could easily have been different.
The only action that might be justified would be the promise to re- consider the question again before too long and at that time to set a threshold for an acceptable majority.
Dr DKL MacKerron.
30 Gotterstone Drive,
Brexit has hit prudent savers
Sir, – I started work at the age of 17 in 1977 when Britain was part of the EEC. I remained with the same company until I decided to retire in 2007 at the age of 47.
I never claimed any benefits but have enjoyed a fruitful life.
Everything I have earned was through hard work and prudent saving.
I enrolled in the works share save scheme and reaped the rewards. May I add, I did not go to college or university but was from a council estate in the north of Dundee and went to Kirkton High School.
If the EU is so bad for the UK how come I (and others I know) were able to retire at 47?
At 17 I had limited savings but saved prudently to have a portfolio that included unit trusts, ISA, bonds, savings accounts, shares and investments.
Prior to Brexit my portfolio was increasing year on year but in one fell swoop, Brexit has decimated my portfolio by more than 10% or £8,000. How many other prudent people have also been impacted by the lies put forward by the Leave campaign?
Nigel Farage has now said the money given to the EU will now not go to the NHS.
How many people were hoodwinked by this and other untruths?
Those who voted Leave did not fully understand the consequences and the UK will take years to recover.
Scotland can’t be ignored
Sir, – Your political editor Kieran Andrews was spot on with his analysis in Saturday’s Courier.
I am furious with David Cameron. Surely the whole point of MPs is for them to debate major issues and make decisions, using their superior knowledge and expertise, on our behalf.
For his own Tory party reasons, David Cameron whipped up the idea of a referendum on Europe and it has backfired big time.
Now he will walk away and allow the lunatics, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and others, to take over the asylum that is the very disunited kingdom. The very different democratic decision that Scotland made cannot be brushed away and dismissed.
2 Ordie Place,
Time for strong leadership
Sir, – The arguments are over and Britain has decided to make its way in the world outwith the membership of the European Union.
The task is for Britain to capitalise on any advantages that this new position brings and to ensure that our exit from the European Union has a beneficial effect on our economic and social well-being, that would not have otherwise prevailed.
For this to happen, we will need strong and inspirational leadership with a clear vision and a successful plan and to be rid of adversarial politics for which we no longer have the luxury or the time.
15 Gamekeepers Road,
Folly of new Scots poll
Sir, – The decision taken by the majority of UK voters to exit membership of the EU is very unfortunate, but we must accept that it is the will of the people.
As one would have expected, Nicola Sturgeon is already trying to make political capital out of the situation. Not surprisingly she is indicating that another Scottish independence referendum is now inevitable. Let’s face it, she has been looking for an excuse ever since she took office.
Ms Sturgeon should remember that she leads a minority government, and that the elements of the Better Together campaign organised by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties and their supporters can easily be resurrected.
We should remind ourselves that the result of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was: 2,001,926 votes or 55.3% for no and 1,617,989 votes or 44.7% for yes on a turnout of 85% of voters.
I am certain that if Ms Sturgeon should actually succeed in legally obtaining permission under the Scotland Act 1998 to hold yet another referendum, then she will experience the same humiliation as Alex Salmond did in 2014.
Just because the majority of the electorate in Scotland voted with the Prime Minister for the UK to remain in the EU does not necessarily mean that they would support Nicola Sturgeon’s call for independence from the UK. I am certain that such folly would be met by the same fierce opposition as in 2014.
Robert I G Scott.
Spain may be key to our future
Sir, – So Nicola Sturgeon is going to call in European consuls with offices in Edinburgh to discuss immigration, a legislative area beyond her remit.
Ms Sturgeon has separately suggested she is open to the possibility of a reverse Greenland deal.
Doubtless the majority of us wish her every success in that ambition: this would in effect return Scotland to the position it held before last Thursday.
It is likely, for Scotland to remain within the EU and the UK, the agreement of every EU country will be required.
The Spanish government’s stance over Catalonian separatism has meant it has consistently opposed back-door deals between the EU and Scotland, though this is a somewhat different situation.
Perhaps Ms Sturgeon’s time with the Spanish consul would be more profitably used by learning his views on this matter and then sharing them with us.
4 Royal Circus,
Don’t make the complex worse
Sir, – A word in the ear of Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney: the question was: should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’
Those of us in Scotland who voted to remain took it to mean what it said, for the UK to remain, not for Scotland to remain if the UK voted to leave.
It is not an endorsement of a second referendum. Please don’t make a complex and delicate situation worse.
Craighall Castle Drive,