Letters: Independence would start years of bickering

The Scottish Cabinet. Pic: Comp
The Scottish Cabinet. Pic: Comp
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Alex Orr (Letters, 9 April), in his response to comments about the international complications that might arise if Scotland votes ‘yes’ in September’s independence referendum as outlined by George Robertson, former UK Labour Minister of Defence and NATO Secretary General, overlooks the latter’s observation that Scotland’s separation from the rest of the UK would involve a long debilitating divorce.

If people are already getting tired by the continuing politicking surrounding the referendum campaign they should prepare themselves for several years of further wrangling if Scottish electors do vote ‘yes’.

The un-costed fantasy wish list that is the Scottish Government’s independence ‘plan’ (in the document Scotland’s Future) assumes that the government of the remaining United Kingdom will happily go along with its numerous demands.

As we have seen in relation to the currency union, the armed forces and weaponry, energy policy, banking regulation, pensions and more, there will be continual hard bargaining on both sides with no guaranteed outcomes for Scotland or the UK.

With all such issues and others to be resolved, the Scottish Government’s timetable for independence in March 2016, 18 months after the referendum, is also fanciful when we consider that it took much longer for the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament even to resolve the single issue of same sex marriage legislation.

People who vote ‘yes’ will, if they are successful, have to prepare for a bumpy ride with great uncertainty as to the future, for several years.

Unfortunately if there is a ‘yes’ vote, those opposed to independence will also have to endure the same consequences.

Professor Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

Yes vote may aid Euro separatist movements

ALEX ORR (Letters 9 April), brushes aside the negative effect separation is likely to have on other countries confronted with separatist movements.

The Spanish prime minister has already voiced concerns over the effect that separation would have on the Basque separatist movement.

Separation would give encouragement to several other separatist movements, such as Corsican independence in France and Flemish independence in Belgium.

We live in a global village and separation would have worldwide consequences. Although clearly not a decisive issue in the independence debate, we would be irresponsible to ignore the difficulties separation is likely to cause other countries.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh

Tourist tax can pay for our schools buildings

Regarding the possible £1 a week on the council tax to pay for Edinburgh’s crumbling schools, I think we should revisit the ‘tourist tax’ to help pay for this.

Let’s see what kind of income this would generate and then and only then, if there was a shortfall, investigate the council tax scenario. I’m quite sure a £1 a night on hotel bills will not stop people visiting Edinburgh.

John Gray, Stenhouse Drive, Edinburgh

Retain Parliament’s Christian tradition

As a member of the public with a deep attachment to Scotland’s rich cultural, historical and religious traditions, I oppose the petition PEO 1514 by Dr Norman Bonney seeking to change allocations of contributors to Time For Reflection in the Scottish Parliament.

I believe this petition is unrepresentative of the views of most of Scotland’s population, most of whom, however unaffiliated or indifferent they may be on faith-related matters, do not wish to change the fundamental nature of Scotland or its Parliament from an underlying Christian culture.

Indeed, as I write only 23 names have been listed online as supporters of this petition and most are committed activists in either the Edinburgh or Scottish Secular Society.

Readers may see this petition as part of a wider campaign to detach Scotland from its Christian heritage when, in fact, the memberships of the committed secular lobby groups who support it are numbered at best in hundreds. Churches in Scotland, by contrast, still have hundreds of thousands of members.

The petition is at least honest in not wholly pretending that it seeks secular objectives so much as to give atheists a voice.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick

Time for us to form Scotland’s first tri-city

As City of Edinburgh Council and other local authorities in south east Scotland finalise their strategic plans and housing allocations, is it time to consider the potential benefits of a tri-city in Scotland?

Poland’s cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot work together as a ‘tri-city’ to ensure interlinked public transport, planning and promotion. With Dunfermline and Livingston located very close to Edinburgh, we may consider a similar model. The construction of a range of new transport projects, including the new Queensferry Crossing, the Airdrie-Bathgate Line and the potential for the tram route to be extended, perhaps brings it closer to reality.

The major transport hubs of airport, port and motorway network, along with many key education centres lie at the crossroads of the three communities, as a shared resource. With some co-ordinated planning, more could be done to ensure that the three ‘cities’ could work to the benefit of one another.

Ross Laird, Kirkhill Road, Edinburgh