The sad state of the unionists’ contribution

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Sir, – Hugh Cameron (July 8) puts his finger on the flaw running through every contribution on Scottish independence by unionist supporters at all levels.

Namely, a total lack of any positive counter argument.

It can fairly be stated that practising dentistry in a coop would be a more successful undertaking than extracting a positive case for continuation of Westminster rule.

The lack is in itself lamentable.

The dishonesty employed, however, is criminal in application and intent.

Their staggering lack of belief in our bountiful country, with a worldwide brand to be envied, inhabited by a people renowned for industry, artistry and innovation, beggars belief.

To employ such tactics in a concerted effort to continually run down our country in the eyes of the world, utterly shameful.

Winston Churchill stated that: “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.”

Yet, according to the narrative employed by supporters of Westminster rule, we are: “too wee, too poor, too stupid” to govern our own beautiful little corner of this planet.

I sympathise wholeheartedly with Mr Cameron’s position, but he shouldn’t hold his breath in expectation of an alternative unionist approach.

It is sadly, as history shows us, all they have to offer.

Ken Clark.
335 King Street,
Broughty Ferry,
Dundee.

Unionists left red-faced

Sir, – It was good to read the piece by Rod Selbie (Letters, July 10), which echoed my long-held understanding of the fact that Scotland is denied the necessary fiscal levers to run a country by its masters at Westminster.

This concept is beyond the ken of the pro-union brigade who continually attack the Scottish Government’s growth performance – only to end up with red faces last week when they all joined the media experts to tell us all about the country teetering on the brink of a recession the day before the UK
Government’s official stats people revealed the true position; which
confirmed the Scottish economy had grown four times as fast as the UK equivalent in the latest quarter’s evaluation.

Not such a good read was the piece by regular SNP denigrator and devout Tory supporter Derek Farmer, who doesn’t seem to understand the reasons for the international banking crisis in 2008.

He is right to point out that it was Gordon Brown and not his party that was in post at the time, but this was a crisis born in the good old USA where the sub-prime mortgage market allowed loans to be given to people on a massive scale in the full knowledge they could not meet their repayments.

And yes, he was also right to pinpoint Sir Fred Goodwin as the perpetrator of various dodgy get-rich schemes, and although he was not the only one – guess which party awarded him his knighthood.
Allan A MacDougall.
37 Forth Park,
Bridge of Allan.

What the UK has done for us

Sir, – Hugh Cameron is vexed at those who criticise the Scottish Government’s performance and link it to the SNP’s focus on independence (Letters, July 8).

He would like to hear what unionists think could have been done
differently, as well as their explanation of the benefits Scotland has received from being in the UK.

He mentions me as one such “serial contributor”, so I will try to respond.

The SNP’s quest for independence has been built on trying to be all things to everyone, offering universal benefits as freely to those who could readily manage without them as to those genuinely in need.

This pursuit of populist policies has taken resources away from where the need is
greatest – for example limiting bursary support for students from disadvantaged areas, and has seen the SNP strip more than £1 billion out of education funding (as recently estimated by the Scottish parliament’s research unit).

The pillaging of local authority budgets over the SNP’s 10 years in power has seen local services undermined, while centrally money has been found for favoured projects like baby boxes.

The independence project requires the SNP to admit no wrong, encouraging ill-judged legislation, such as the named person scheme, and poorly thought through reorganisations, such as the creation of Police Scotland.

No party would have found governing easy during a time of such
limited budgets, but the SNP’s choices and focus has been less on
delivering for Scotland and the disadvantaged, and more on impressing for the SNP and its overriding ambition.

As for the benefits of the UK to Scotland, the advantage is not just one way, but rather a positive interdependence through the best and worst of times, economically (e.g. the bailouts during the financial crash), socially (the creation of the welfare state) and in terms of national defence and security.

The achievements of enterprise, science, technology, sport and culture have all seen many examples of  positive interactions between Scotland and the rest of the UK, quite apart from our deep social relationships and common heritage.

For many, these all add up to something of enormous value, to
be cherished and not undermined.

I appreciate that some simply do not see it that way.
Keith Howell.
West Linton,
Peeblesshire.

Throwing away an opportunity

Sir, – In retracting his comments that
businesses are “fed up” with Nicola Sturgeon’s independence obsession Highland Spring boss  Joe Montgomery threw away two huge opportunities.

The first was to finish off the whole independence threat and set an example for Scottish business to speak out and force the SNP to scrape off this piece of chewing gum stuck to Scotland’s sole.

I recently attended a Scotland In Union business breakfast in Aberdeen.

The 44 businesses there opposed independence and the catastrophic rise in business rates, were eager for a quick solution to Brexit and looking for leadership from their various trade organisations on the subject.

The French Duncan survey in March this year was discussed.

It showed that more than 80% of the 800 businesses that responded were against independence, felt the country would be worse off and that the threat has impeded investment.

I’m sure most Scottish businesses want independence taken off the table permanently.

Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Institute of Directors, SCDI and the various trade organisations should speak out on behalf of their members.

The second opportunity Mr Montgomery missed was the chance to increase sales.

A whole 85% of his sales come from  England.

If he had stuck to his guns the inevitable Tunnocks/Barrhead Travel-style boycott by Nationalists would have created a huge backlash and would have encouraged me and thousands of others  to buy a few bottles in protest.

So what on earth did the Scottish Government say to Highland Spring that was so persuasive? Or threatening?
Allan Sutherland.
1 Willow Row,
Stonehaven.

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