All the present MSPs have been elected to the Scottish Parliament for the purpose of deciding a very limited scope of issues that were devolved to them by the UK parliament in Westminster.
They were certainly not voted in for the purpose of deciding all of Scotland’s political issues in the event of a Yes vote in the independence referendum in September.
Although the SNP currently has a majority in Scotland, the fact is if Scotland votes Yes for independence the electorate may have no further use for them; they may prefer to be governed by Scottish Labour or Scottish Conservatives or Scottish Liberals.
It is also reasonable to say that if Scotland votes Yes in September the job description of MSPs will change beyond recognition when independence actually begins.
No doubt the very first ‘issue’ MSPs would decide if Scotland votes Yes for independence would be to vote themselves a massive pay rise for all the “extra duties” they would incur by having to decide on all of Scotland’s political issues instead of just the few they are currently allowed to decide.
It is reasonable to argue that, if Scotland votes Yes for independence, all the present MSPs should, in effect, have to re-apply for their jobs and they should be legally obliged to do so.
Fact is it is not for Alex Salmond and/or the SNP to decide the date Scotland becomes independent; it would still require the UK Government in Westminster to introduce an Act of Parliament granting Scotland their independence.
I believe if the UK Government introduces such an Act they should make it a condition of the Act that a general election takes place in Scotland prior to independence being granted; that way no individual politician or political party would have any unfair advantage over any other and they would, thus, be legally prevented from making any irreversible changes prior to a general election in Scotland taking place.
A sensible date for independence in Scotland to start (in the event of a Yes vote) would be the next due date for a Scottish Parliament general election which is May 5, 2016.
Kenneth Brannan, Greenlee Drive, Dundee
Council funding of police has a history
COUNCILLOR Cammy Day is either remarkably ill-informed or deliberately trying to con the public when he told the Evening News that “this is the first time we have entered into a formal agreement” over police officer funding from the council.
As a councillor for a while now and as the convener of Lothian and Borders Police Board from 2007 until 2013 I can assure everyone there have always been written agreements in place with the Chief Constable of the time.
The very first officers were funded by the council in 2004 as part of a partnership on Youth Action Teams. Maybe Cammy should talk to his former Labour colleague Donald Anderson who, as leader of the council, was at great pains to assure us that he would have a written commitment that these additional police officers would be employed on joint priorities (barring major incidents or events).
The same kind of agreement was maintained and updated as council funding for police officers increased over the years meaning the main use was to bolster community and City Centre teams. Youth Action Teams were merged into this work.
Cllr Day rightly says that we want to target community officers where there is the highest crime or where there are particular problems. That is the whole point of joint tasking between the police and the council and is the approach I know was taken by senior police officers in the former Lothian and Borders force.
Police Scotland also carefully targets officers with the Divisional Commander and Chief Constable both publicly stating in the Evening News their determination to change deployment to target criminal behaviour.
If Cllr Day knows nothing of this work you have to wonder what he has been doing as community safety convener.
Councillor Iain Whyte, Conservative councillor for Inverleith Ward, Edinburgh City Council
No more union means no more Team GB
Dr Ann C Chandley asked if top Scottish sports stars would be eligible to play for Team GB after independence for Scotland (Letters, February 5).
She seems to overlook the fact that Team GB would cease to exist.
Great Britain is the term that describes the unity of Scotland, England and Wales.
Steuart Campbell, DipArch, BA, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh
Bedroom tax must be ended for good
I welcome the move by the Scottish Government to provide £35 million to fully mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax. This will help improve the situation of many of our tenants who have suffered financial and emotional distress at the hands of this policy.
However, a full repeal of the bedroom tax remains the best and only course of action for the long term.
As long as this policy remains on the statute books, any extra money going to mitigate its effects here in Scotland will simply represent an ongoing and rising drain on public resources, taking away precious funds that could be more usefully applied elsewhere.
The cross-party consensus achieved in Holyrood to effectively end the bedroom tax in Scotland is laudable, but more work remains to be done to see off this iniquitous and ill-conceived policy.
Keith Anderson, chief executive, Port of Leith Housing Association, Constitution Street, Leith