When thinking about Scotland “winning” its “independence”, the obvious and very fundamental question is who rules Scotland now – independence from whom?
Scotland is part of a union, but the use of the word independence suggests that somehow we have no say in that union. The reality is that four countries make up the United Kingdom, and the whole is governed for the common good by the UK parliament which sits in Westminster and is made up of representatives from all four countries. Therefore we are partly governed by ourselves and we contribute to all the big decisions which affect ourselves and our closest neighbours.
Why do the separatists want us to believe that we have no say in how our country is run? Why is it that Northern Ireland or Wales are never mentioned in this debate, even though representatives from these two countries are voting on issues which affect us in exactly the same way that the representatives from England are? It is easy to use old rivalries between England and Scotland from the 1300s to fuel this idea and the location of the UK parliament is often used as evidence that Scotland is ruled from outside.
So why does the UK parliament sit in London as opposed to Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast? The original union between the countries was in 1603 when James VI took over the crown of England to become James VI and I of England, effectively a Scottish takeover of England. Although when this happened the seat of government could have been anywhere within the UK, King James found it easier to rule the two countries from London rather than Edinburgh. When the union of parliaments was proposed 100 years later it made sense for this parliament to also sit in London.
Had Edinburgh been chosen as the location for the new combined parliament in 1707 would we be talking about Scottish “independence” now?
Willie Thomson, Ayrshire
Pope’s fearless act was very admirable
Recently on TV I saw Pope Francis walk fearlessly and casually, without the security of the popemobile, into dangerous territory to spread peace and justice to hostile divided countries, a solitary target, for a horrible fanatic (thankfully nothing happened!).
I never imagined that anyone could possibly replace the late, much-loved John-Paul (now a saint). I hope the humble Pope Francis has a sense of humour? In people’s estimation, with the deepest respect and admiration, he’s reached number one in “Top of the Popes”!
Mrs Sylvia M De Luca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green, Edinburgh
My wish for trams is granted . . 60 years on
In 1954 I took part in the vigorous debate being carried on in the “post bag” columns of the Evening News on the merits of trams and buses.
In a letter from me, published on July 20, I wrote “. . . what we can hope for is the rebuilding of a system in the years to come . . .”. Nearly 60 years later it is gratifying to have one’s hopes starting to be fulfilled and I look forward to the present short line expanding into a system to serve the greater Edinburgh region. Only then will the benefits of scale bring speedy and comfortable public transport to everyone, with the added bonuses of less air pollution and noise.
Neil Mackenzie, Grange Loan, Edinburgh (in 1954 living at Albany Street).
Heart rules head in referendum debate
With regards to Ian Swanson’s op-ed piece about the independence campaigns appealing to voters’ emotions (News, May 8) I firmly believe that the majority of people will be voting with their hearts first and foremost.
I expect that if the nation votes Yes, there will be some upheaval, the economy might wobble, we might take some time to address issues of independence, but in the end we will probably prosper and continue more or less as we are now.
But as a No voter, I don’t care. I am emotionally attached to the union, I like being part of a bigger nation and I love the city of London and am proud to be able to claim it as my own. Even if I knew for a fact that I’d be much better off if Scotland became independent I would still vote No. I would give up a more comfortable lifestyle to remain in the Union.
Therefore, all the political arguments about economics, state affairs, the EU etc don’t sway me. My heart is ruling my head and I suspect most people feel the same.
Veronica Noble, Morningside, Edinburgh
Allegiance of Order should be to Scotland
As a Scot living in Edinburgh and being very determined to vote Yes, I found the letter from Mr JG MacLean (May 22) Loyal Orange Order most interesting.
The maternal side of my family came over from Northern Ireland many, many years ago. I vaguely remember when I was a toddler seeing in our house in Craigmillar some sort of Orange Order regalia. My grandmother laughed when she told us about marching in an Orange Order parade when she was five years old.
In the latter part of the 1800s my family came from Ireland to Bellshill, to Newcraighall and then to Craigmillar. Miners, ironworkers, soldiers. For our family it was a clean break from Ireland. To the children in our family Ireland was never mentioned. We were Scottish and you had better believe it! Scottish traditions became our traditions, Scottish heroes became our heroes.
With all due respect to the men and women of the Loyal Orange Order, you as individuals are Scottish and your allegiance should be to the land of your birth, that is, to this wonderful country called Scotland.
Please vote how your heart determines.
Mr K Wilson, Middle Norton, Newbridge, Midlothian