LAUNCHING the No campaign for the Unionist coalition, Alistair Darling warned that choosing independence would be like sending "our children to a deeply uncertain destination" ("One-way ticket jibe at launch of No campaign", The Herald, June 25).
He sounded just like other over-protective parents who unduly restrict their children because of fears for their safety. In my experience, the families which are stronger and better together over a lifetime are those in which children have been encouraged and supported to become independent.
The Unionist coalition should also remember that strong families listen to their members. This coalition currently talks up the continuing opinion poll evidence that only one-third of Scottish voters support political independence, but somehow ignores the other regular finding that a further third support maximum devolution of tax and spending powers to the Scottish Parliament. With two-thirds of people in Scotland apparently supporting much greater self-control, why is it that the three political parties in the Unionist coalition so strongly support the minority wish to retain the constitutional status quo?
The No campaign does have a point about intergenerational issues. However, what worries many of us, who have never had it so good, is that we have mortgaged our children's future, and that the next generation is going to be faced with paying for our building an economy of vastly unequal rewards, our creation of a polluted environment, and our continuing investment in weapons of mass destruction. Our children will face a longer working life and lower pensions after paying for the care and support of the passing generation.
The next two years could be a time for us to talk about what ambitions we have for Scotland's present and future generations, including how our society should benefit from the considerable wealth, which will come from our renewable energy and other economic resources. Unfortunately, so far both independence and Unionist approaches have all the hallmarks of the traditional short election campaign around slogans and soundbites. This sort of campaigning will be totally inadequate if that is all we get over the next two years.
Armadale, Shore Road, Cove.
THE Nationalists are clearly rattled by the early salvos from the Better Together campaign, if your Letters Pages (June 25) are anything to go by. Alistair Darling was right when he pointed out that the Nationalist response to any challenge is always to play the man and ignore the substantive issues.
Most curious is the contribution from Alex Orr (Letters, June 25). He writes that "sharing currencies promotes trade and eliminates exchange costs". He's right, and that's why the euro is being defended so vigorously by Germany. But a shared currency in an open market works only if there's the right political architecture supporting it. His examples of New Zealand in the 1940s, Liechenstein (population 35,000) and Mali are not good ones, unless of course he's saying that Alex Salmond's new arc of prosperity is very much less splendid than promised.
Mr Orr goes on to argue that a separate Scotland with its own currency could set interest rates a fraction above London's, and "capital would flood northwards". Really? Why, then, isn't capital flooding from London to India, where central bank interest rates are around 8%? Exchange rates are crucial to capital flows, and there would be huge uncertainty about the future direction of exchange rates for a separate Scottish currency. Capital would flow in only if interest rates were substantially higher than they were in other known and stable currencies and those high interest rates would apply to mortgage payers and businesses in Scotland, too.
52 Menteith View, Dunblane.
ANDREW McKie tries to confuse the issue of Britishness ("The positive case for an answer in the negative", The Herald, June 25). Britain is the name of an island and Scotland is situated in the northern half of that island. Spaniards and Portuguese are Iberians. Swedes, Danes, Finns and Norwegians are Scandinavians. The citizens of the Republic of Ireland are Irish as are their neighbours in the Province of Northern Ireland. Where is the difficulty in grasping that concept?
I am impressed by Alistair Darling's pledge to put forth a positive message on behalf of the No campaign. I am even more impressed by the double-think necessary to start off that "positive" campaign by trying to make his fellow Scots feel like frightened children straying from the warmth and light of the nursery.
I'm not even a teeny bit scared. I embrace with relish the opportunity of having a nuclear-free country that makes its own decisions guided by the fair-minded ideals shared by most citizens of our beautiful and historic nation. Ideals, I may say, once embraced by his own party.
David C Purdie,
12 Mayburn Vale,
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