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A government in London offers no protection from uncertainty

YOU report a serious fall in the value of shares in Aggreko, the power company based in Dumbarton ("Agrekko shares drop after profits warning", The Herald, December 18).

Aggreko has been doing very well for some years, supplying temporary power generation for headline events such as the Olympic Games. This recent fall, due to investors suddenly realising the company's expectations of future profit are not so rosy as previously predicted, must remind the directors (and myself as a minor shareholder) what uncertainty there is in the stock market at the best of times.

Only a few weeks ago, Rupert Soames, the boss of Aggreko, put himself into the independence debate by publishing his fears that Scotland running its own affairs would mean uncertainty in the future of his company – without any real hint of why he should entertain this fear. Since Aggreko operates in more than 30 countries worldwide, this seemed rather tenuous logic. His remark, however, was very much in tune with the constant stream of negativity and scaremongering from the No campaign. Perhaps now Mr Soames will realise that there are much worse uncertainties in life than what may happen were Scots to decide to run their own affairs.

The Scottish Government cannot predict what the price of mince will be in two years time, but there is much worse "uncertainty" in the ability of the Westminster Government to stop the UK from losing its AAA status and to prevent our economy from being crushed by the weight of our debts, which are still piling up by £10bn or more every month. This is real uncertainty, whereas there is nothing uncertain about Scotland's huge natural assets.

Dr Willie Wilson,

57 Gallowhill Road,

Lenzie.

I BELIEVE it is inequitable to do as Iain Paterson hypothesises and deny the right to vote in the referendum to non-resident Scots, particularly those resident for whatever reason in other parts of the UK (Letters, December 19). There is no democratic justification for the imposition of a residential qualification on the referendum electorate simply because that is what applies in Parliamentary elections, which are very different in being deliberately periodic to provide the opportunity for change every few years. The referendum is a once-in-a-lifetime event with immense implications for all Scots, including some 800,000 living in the rest of the UK, and I wonder whether denying such a large number of Scots a vote in the Referendum could leave any result open to challenge at the European Court of Human Rights following its ruling on the voting rights of prisoners.

As to Mr Paterson's bald assertion that allowing non-resident Scots to vote amounts to an attempt to stack the deck against independence, surely the opposite applies equally and excluding them amounts to an attempt to stack the deck for independence? I have not seen any suggestion from either side in the referendum debate that resident non-Scots should be excluded from voting so I think his concerns in that regard are groundless.

The adage that Scotland's people are its greatest export still applies and they have made and continue to make an immense contribution to the worldwide respect and reputation enjoyed by Scotland. It seems wrong for them to be excluded from playing their part in this momentous event.

Alan Fitzpatrick,

10 Solomon's View,

Dunlop.

I NOTE with interest Alistair Darling's and Michael Moore's remarks about an independent Scotland using the pound ("SNP pound plan 'fantasy'", The Herald, December 14).

First, it should be noted that the Manx Parliament and those of the Channel Islands states are independent of Westminster and not, as commonly thought, devolved administrations. As such they are able to issue their own banknotes, postage stamps and, in the case of the Isle of Man and Jersey, their own coinage. They do so while still retaining the Bank of England as their central bank. So a Sterling Union Area exists in reality already, if not in name.

Secondly, it is often forgotten that the Irish Republic did not cease using sterling until 1978, more than 50 years after the creation of Eire.

Historic and, by extension, legal precedents have been set, which would allow an independent Scotland to continue using Sterling and the Bank of England. Mr Darling, as an ex-Chancellor, and Mr Moore, as a Government minister, must surely be aware of this information. This is hardly a mature or informed debate.

Andrew Haddow,

106 McGregor Street,

Drumoyne, Glasgow.

ANDREW McKie doubts the point that in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per head of population, an independent Scotland would be the sixth-richest country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) league table – compared to the UK's 16th place ("Myth and fiction are of no use in creating a state", The Herald, December 17). Among other things, Mr McKie says that this depends on Scotland's oil reserves being nationalised, which is not the case. GDP is a measurement of the value of economic output produced by a country – nothing more or less – and regardless of whether it comes from the private or public sector.

The full detail of Scotland as the sixth-richest country in terms of GDP per head is posted up on the Scottish Government website, and is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00390896.pdf

Kevin Pringle,

Strategic Communications Director,

SNP Headquarters,

Edinburgh.

AS a strong supporter of the Yes campaign, I can only welcome the announcement that Tony Blair, failed Prime Minister and alleged war criminal, is to lend his support to the No campaign. I wonder that they can afford him.

More seriously, given his track record while actually in office, I worry that he may learn that weapons of mass destruction are located on the Clyde and launch an invasion to bring about a regime change. Watch your back, Alex.

Jim Marshall,

61 Sheriffs Park,

Linlithgow.

SO, Tony Blair will fight to save the Union ("Blair ready to fight against independence", The Herald, December 19). "Yes!" say the supporters of Scottish independence, including myself.

Carol Puthucheary,

1 Queensborough Gardens,

Glasgow.

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