Letters: Multi-option referendum is best way to decide future

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The recent General Election in New Zealand not only saw the return of the National Party’s John Key as Prime Minister, but also witnessed a referendum on whether or not to keep the current Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system or move to a new one.

Voters were presented with two questions, the first asked whether New Zealand should keep the MMP system – yes or no – and a second question asked if New Zealand were to change to another system, which should it move to – first past the post; preferential voting; single transferable vote or supplementary member.

These questions were similar to the ones asked in the 1992 referendum when New Zealand voted to change from the first past the post system to the MMP system.

In the referendum this year voters decided not to change the system by 54 per cent to 43 per cent. In the 1992 referendum votes decided overwhelmingly to change (85 per cent), with the preferred system being the MMP system (65 per cent).

When it comes to a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future I am sure, like the New Zealanders, we Scots will have the ability to undertake a similar multi-option exercise.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Renewables gravy train bleeds us dry

It is especially ironic that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has revealed just before the UN Climate talks in Durban South Africa: “Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two or three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame”.

Global carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but there has been no increase in global temperature for the past decade.

This destroys the IPCC theory of man-made global warming, which is that man-made carbon emissions inevitably and inexorably drive up global temperatures.

Mankind’s influence on the planet is insignificant, so politicians must stop throwing taxpayers’ money at a non-existing problem.

There is a renewables gravy train out there soaking up our money which of course is money we do not have.

In Holland, the EU renewable energy target has been abandoned, saving the country billions of euros in subsidies.

Politicians must use this IPCC admission as a face-saver and repeal the Climate Change Act, its horrendous cost and the untold economic damage it is inflicting on our nation.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Tory policies risk choking recovery

I AM actually seeing the results of this government’s dogmatic approach to tackling the very real budget crisis. I agree that they have got some things right but now it’s time for them to listen and to be more flexible in their approach.

This is a really worrying time for families and businesses; struggling with higher food prices and gas bills and worried about their jobs and their children’s futures.

The Tory-led Government is cutting too far and too fast and risks choking off economic recovery. Unemployment is rising again and is currently at the highest level in 17 years.

One in five young people are out of work and now more women are unemployed than at any time since 1988.

We need to act now to show the Tory-led Government that there is another way.

Labour has set out a clear five-point plan for jobs, to help struggling families and support small businesses – I hope you will join me in supporting their calls for change.

Frank Kelly, Trinity, Edinburgh

Celebrations begin too early

I realise that nobody these days can wait to commemorate things on the proper day – like people who start wearing Armistice poppies in October – but I’m struggling to get my head round “Christmas-themed St Andrew’s Day celebrations prevailed throughout the weekend” (News, 28 November). That would be the weekend that ended on 27th November?

My birthday is in mid-June, but maybe I should start celebrating it sometime in May.

Harry D. Watson, Braehead Grove, Edinburgh