SCOTLAND is doing well from grants and loans from Westminster.

Help to Buy, spare room tax relief to sort unfairness, Grangemouth's ethane store and cracker, Peterhead carbon capture and storage (CCS) development, Glasgow's city development, and the continuing subsidy for wind farms are all benefiting the country.

Representing the UK Government as totally mean in spirit and practice is flawed, particularly as the Barnett formula gives £1300 per head more than the average UK citizen gets.

Holyrood has been able with the help of this London grant surplus to maintain Scotland's long-devolved educational and justice systems, and the more recently devolved NHS, to continuing very high standards. Transport is lagging, but the new Forth crossing is progressing fast, the railway system is being improved albeit too slowly, and finally - again too slowly - road improvements are being pushed ahead. Soon Holyrood will be able to collect a goodly share of its own tax revenues, enabling further virement between the main cost centres to help meet the inevitable bite of austerity linked to too much nation-wide debt (used for all the UK's infrastructure and public needs, including Scotland's).

Given the £12 billion estimated notional yearly Scottish fiscal deficit, to which would be added the interest on the £100bn or so debt to be taken on from the rUK, a separate Scotland would have to borrow billions to maintain current standards. Given that Alex Salmond now says that the road ahead if separate will be a long and possibly hard one - quite a change from his usual cheery assertion that all will be fine and dandy with a bit of goodwill from our friends down south - and that there are no details of how revenues additional to those from current sources (Mr Salmond cites mostly foreign-owned whisky as a good one) will make up the gap as oil declines and welfare and health costs zoom, it's all enough to make one stick with the Union.

Any country (including Scotland) has its fat cats who are indifferent to everyone else whatever the economic situation is, so as our needs and wants are not so different from most of the UK anyway, let's stick together.

Joe Darby,


St Martins Mill,



I NOTE there has been quite a hullabaloo about Jean-Claude Juncker's statement regarding prospective new members of the EU (Letters, July 17). In leaving himself open to completely contrary interpretations regarding Scotland's future membership, the President of the European Commission is either a fool or a knave. No wonder that the First Minister believes that he can do business with Mr Juncker.

In any case, none of it really matters. Even in the very unlikely event of a Yes vote in September, Scotland will not be independent by the time of a possible UK referendum on EU membership in 2017, no matter what the SNP and its leader might say. In order to meet his March 2016 deadline for Independence Day, Mr Salmond would have to capitulate to the rUK on every contentious matter in the negotiations. Thereafter, as now, there would be no point in independence. Indeed Westminster would be perfectly within its rights to hold a referendum on the outcome of those negotiations in order to exercise that popular sovereignty which the SNP trumpets so much. Having looked into the SNP's abyss, the people would vote in droves not to leave the Union.

So Scotland's membership of the EU - in or out - will be determined by all UK voters, assuming that they choose to elect a Conservative or Conservative/Ukip administration next year. And if Labour wins, it will be pushed by events in precisely the same direction. Ed Miliband knows this: that's why he avoids substantive discussion of the EU.

Richard Mowbray,

14 Ancaster Drive,


ONE of the constant warnings of the No Campaign is that if Scotland became independent we would face enormous economic and financial problems in setting up all the machinery of self-governance.

It is perhaps worth noting that during the second half of the 20th century at least 50 countries have gained independent status - in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean by release from imperial control, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the USSR. Most of these had to start from scratch in setting up a new parliamentary structure, with little or no experience in such government functions as finance and taxation, employment, education, health and welfare, law and order, defence and foreign relations.

None of these new nations was in the fortunate position of Scotland, with our own elected government, civil service infrastructure and local government already in place. In addition we have long-established legal, education and health and welfare systems and fully-developed road, sea and air transport services.

Scotland has a wide range of well-established and successful industries across a wide range of business, all with trained and experienced workforces. We also have an abundance of natural resources, capable of future development in offshore oil and in wind, wave, tidal and hydro energy. The excellence of our universities with their outstanding research facilities is acknowledged worldwide, and the unique Scotland "blend" is a special selling-point for tourism and inward investment that very few other countries enjoy.

With all these advantages already in place, why do gloom and doom merchants of the Unionist parties continue to suggest that Scotland alone is incapable of becoming a prosperous independent nation?

Iain AD Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

IN South Ayrshire the Yes campaign had its wrists slapped because leaflets distributed in Ayr High Street did not have an imprint saying who was the promoter and printer.

However, when you understand the composition of the people in that Yes campaign, they are from a few different political parties but, predominately, no party at all.

These private individuals could pull down available leaflet artworks from pro-independence web pages, send them to a franchised printer, take delivery and distribute them with friends and associates, all without the knowledge of the more formal, recognised Yes Scotland campaign. I'm sure this is happening across the country.

The rules laid out by the Electoral Commission look as if they are created for a regular political party electoral event, not the spontaneous, dynamic, grass roots up thrust of democratic enthusiasm.

How the Electoral Commission hopes to hold the Yes campaign accountable for the actions of private citizens is beyond me and it needs to modify the rules to reflect this modern phenomenon. The Yes campaign in South Ayrshire cannot be accountable for every individual enthusiast and this must be true across Scotland..

John McGuire,

54 Roman Road,