Letters: Let’s follow Canadian line on independence issue

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In September, there will be a referendum. We stand at the moment between the over-simplified exaggeration of the Nationalists and the Jeremiah-like utterances that rumble out of Westminster.

When Québec sought independence in Canada, Canadians from across the country told Québec they had a high regard for them and wanted very much to stand together.

The Jeremiahs said, ‘Québec will not wear a hair shirt for nationalism’. The French language was guaranteed at every level by federal Bill 101. The separatists exaggerated their differences. Canada remains together today because Canadians showed they cared and because they ultimately shared a common purpose.

Whatever happens here, it can never be the case that a homogenous population of Scots seeks separation from a homogenous population of English. Not when there are so many business people from South Asia; not when there are such excellent Scots-Italian restaurants, shops and ice cream parlours; not when there are so many Scots from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Each of these, having a dual identity, find it natural and comforting to describe themselves as British.

As one of over three million Anglo-Scots, with, in my case, a Scottish father and an English mother, I am very proud to think of myself as British. If you add to that the millions of Scots, who live in England, with English-born children, and the millions of English, who live in Scotland, with Scottish-born children, it becomes clear that there are links of heart and blood which cannot so easily be broken. Who would want to?

When my father and grandfathers fought in two world wars, they did not regard any of their British fellow combatants as ‘foreign’.

We have shared these islands since before the Romans came. Whether we stay together or not has nothing to do with the artificial political slogans of either side of this debate.

We have had our differences, it would be foolish not to recognise that. When all is said and done, though, we have kinship ties and shared experience.

Speaking personally, if there was to be a break, I would feel all the pain and bewilderment of a child whose parents are divorcing. I have the River Spey and the Grampians rolling through my veins and also the Devon countryside and the River Exe. I am 70 years old. A break would tear me apart.

Let us stand by one another as the Canadians did, not because we follow slogans of one kind or another but because we too share a common purpose and a high regard.

Yours aye,

The Reverend Ewan A MacPherson, Wells, Somerset

Choice of school is important for jobs

I read your article about school placements with interest (‘Schools reject 50% of placings requests’, April 14).

My daughter goes to a school well out of our catchment area, due to bullying. We had to put her there at first because both my wife and I work full time in the city centre. If we had to take her to the catchment school one of us would have to give up employment, due to early starts and late finishes.

We work in the hotel sector and the hotels are very good to help us, but we would not be able to take our daughter to and from school if it was in our catchment area.

Time to rethink, Edinburgh council. Either we go to work with a school close by to our employment, or do we tell the job centre one of us has to pack in employment?

Alan and Sandra Small, Westburn, Edinburgh

Trading Standards loss a big blow for public

I don’t know if many people are aware that in Edinburgh, due to cutbacks, Trading Standards is no longer in existence for the public but only for businesses.

This is scandalous as it is the public who need assistance from certain unscrupulous businesses.

It is most definitely a step backwards and should be reinstated. I myself would have welcomed the assistance of Trading Standards with faulty furniture I received (and where the shop wished a few repairs to be done) and where I should, in terms of the Sale of Goods Act 1979, have been entitled to immediate refund or immediate replacement instead of the run around I have had.

I have written to a few councillors and no doubt there are numerous members of the public like myself urgently in need of this body.

Mrs F Rutherford, Leith, by e-mail

Devo max not an option in referendum

Paul Lewis displays touching faith if he believes that voting No in the referendum will produce greater powers for Scotland or a UK federal system (Letters, April 21).

The question to ask the No campaign is how much control will we have over our oil and gas revenues if we vote No?

When Alex Salmond floated the idea of having a maximum devolution option on the referendum ballot paper it was ridiculed by the No campaigners, so it is not a choice in September.

If we vote No there will not be a consolation prize, as whatever Westminster government is elected in May 2015 will have other priorities and English MPs can safely ignore the “whinging Jocks”.

Prior to the narrow Yes vote for a Scottish Assembly in 1979, the former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas Home promised more powers if we voted No and in that bygone age. When Westminster politicians were generally respected, many believed him.

However, we had to wait another 20 years before a Scottish Parliament came along, so please don’t be fooled again by promises of jam tomorrow from the anti-independence forces.

Calum Stewart, Montague Street, Edinburgh