Sir, – What factor best indicates how well Scotland has fared as part of the UK since the end of the War?
Let us look at population growth. In the 1951 Census Scotland’s population was recorded as 5.1 million and England’s population was recorded as 36.7m.
From 1951 to date England’s population has increased to 56.5m, 54% higher than 1951.
If Scotland’s population had grown at this rate it would now be nearly eight million.
Yet today it is 5.4m, only 7% higher than in 1951.
Where did we go wrong ? No other Western European country comes even close to such a record.
We should be ashamed yet we still have three Unionist parties extolling the benefits of our union and praising the ‘broad shoulders’ of Westminster Government.
I went to Abu Dhabi in 1978. They had a lot of oil and have done well out of this bounty.
The population of the UAE in 1978 was probably less than one million. Today it is approaching 10m.
That is what having a lot of oil does to a country which retains control of its resources.
Scotland has produced a lot of oil from its waters over the decades since the 70s.
Indeed between 1980 and 2010 Scotland produced more than the UAE mainly because of the UK Government’s policy of developing the North Sea to maximise output using a low tax approach.
They could do that because they had control. Norway took a different approach and have the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund to show for it.
In the early 1970s the SNP had an oil campaign that warned that only independence could secure the benefits of our oil for Scotland.
I was part of that campaign but we lost that argument.
So in spite of all this wealth arising from Scotland’s seas over decades, and the massive ‘benefits’ of the Union, our population could only manage meagre growth.
Will we ever learn that Scotland will only benefit from its resources when Scotland has control.
Nairn Way, Cumbernauld.
Tax plans will help NHS to recover
Sir, – I do like it when a Nat-apologist comes out with the usual tropes about “Tories” and “tax plans for the rich” (Alex Orr, Letters, April 21) .
What Mr Orr fails to recognise is that many of those in Scotland paying the highest rate of tax in the UK are senior teachers, nurses, police sergeants and a whole host of other people who would be very surprised to hear themselves described as “rich”.
The manifesto pledge from the Scottish Conservatives was that the Scottish tax system would be brought in line with that of the UK if and when finances allow, and not before.
When this happens Scotland might be able to fill the 500 vacant consultant posts in our NHS and enable us to recover from the NHS backlog.
Or is that not part of the plan for delivering a fairer society?
Dr Elizabeth Robertson.
Farington Street, Dundee.
Remembering 700 years but not seven
Sir, – How sad. Alex Salmond in the Alba party campaign video invoked the 700 year old Declaration of Arbroath as cause for yet another independence referendum.
Yet he failed to remember the seven year old Edinburgh Agreement that he signed, which declared that both sides of the 2014 Scottish referendum debate will accept the “settled and sovereign will” of the Scottish people.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also seems to have inherited the same Scottish nationalist condition at her recent appearance at the Holyrood inquiry.
Give away lager to save the planet
Sir, – Scientists at the University of Reims have discovered there are between 200,000 and two million CO2 bubbles in 250ml of lager.
So instead of wasting billions of taxpayers’ cash trying – and failing – to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground to “save the planet”, all we need to do is produce more lager and instead of storing it underground give it away.
Springfield Road, Linlithgow.