ISN’T Nicola Sturgeon quite correct that a people’s vote won’t guarantee “salvation for Scotland”? If there’s any lesson learned from the Brexit debacle isn’t it surely that Scotland’s interests and future can’t ever be influenced and assured through the British political dynamic, only through our own determination in our own political arena?

But here’s the dichotomy. If a people’s vote is held, I would feel bound to vote to reject Brexit; as the most immediate threat to my economic welfare, that would be the responsible action given the clarity with which I can imagine the perilous economic journey it would take us on, and the ramifications for ordinary citizens who will ultimately bear the full cost of this political folly and economic vandalism – with the millionaire power brokers in Westminster shielded from it by their wealth.

In the absence of a people’s vote, British politicians are postulating a vote in parliament to determine whether any “negotiated” deal is acceptable. However, their determination not to offer an option for continued membership of the EU renders this meaningless. Those who have recognised the quagmire of political and economic strife highlighted since the vote on June 23, 2016, would be denied the opportunity to redress their previous knowledge deficit.

Also, given Scots’ minority representation in this Westminster process, once again our interests would be given scant consideration, as we’ve witnessed throughout the shambolic Brexit process.

Corbyn’s Labour tells us they want a General Election, as if this would somehow solve the problem. How so, given that both main parties are split down the middle? Unless Corbyn was to take his party into the Remain ground, which he would have difficulty explaining and seems unlikely, then the electorate would be offered no real choice about Brexit. Wouldn’t the result likely be little different to the Westminster impasse we already have?

Sadly, the mandate that emanated from the last Holyrood elections for indyref2 seems to have somewhat dissipated, almost expired. Wouldn’t it be easy for Unionists to claim we’re too far into the lifetime of a parliament for it to still be credible? Haven’t we missed the boat here?

Isn’t Scotland a nation struggling to regain sovereignty (which Westminster is claiming for Britain through Brexit and it’s OK for them but not us) and our problem is that we’re being too “nice” in doing so? We are playing by rules crafted to maintain a status quo that is clearly not in our interests.

Aren’t the lessons of history that we need a managed degree of antipathy and antagonism to the status quo, and as it is we who seek to establish our independence we need to be more proactive, not reactive?

Yes, a bad Brexit “deal” would concentrate minds in a referendum. However, the next parlous referendum would be binding on the nation for generations, a precarious prospect for those seeking independence now.

It seems to me there remains only one real and practical way forward. Let’s be bold. Let’s call an election for Holyrood; each candidate declaring their support or otherwise for independence. Let like-minded parties seek arrangements to ensure the issue is focused on one candidate each, pro-independence or Unionist. And let first-preference votes be declared as the plebiscite on independence. Over the timeframe of the campaign wouldn’t all the pertinent questions be addressed and answered to aid decision? With an affirmative result for independence won, isn’t that when we take control of the process and enact the will of the people for independence?

Our self-determination is ours by right. It’s not the “gift” of Westminster to grudgingly “give”, or refuse.
Jim Taylor

THE stark choice: dump Brexit or face war. For one will certainly lead to the other, at least under any scenario we have so far been presented with, and it is arguable that no sane person could interpret it any other way. What does that say about both of the major political parties in the UK, their leaderships and undoubtedly a very good portion of their supporters? All that remains to be defined is how far-reaching the conflict will be.

Consider, we’re now in “proud” possession of another newly minted UK minister, David Rutley, to oversee food supplies, though what on earth Mr Rutley is expected to do when distribution systems collapse, as trucks are full of rotting produce at the ports or stuck on the other side of the channel, one can only imagine. At present he seems to have been put in place as the Tory fall guy for Brexit, to inoculate the leadership for when it all goes pear-shaped. One can imagine David Rutley running around like a headless chicken trying to solve a crisis, all while his erstwhile masters and mistresses are clearly hell-bent on undoing his best efforts.

Introduce food, medical, even basic subsistence rationing, into what was a populace unprepared for it, certainly unused to it, and without a common external enemy; then toss in a background of hostile immigration policies, racial fractures, the English subculture of often extreme hostility to “others” in general, even Scots; couple that with higher taxation which must result from a loss of free trade with resurrected duties, and the overall picture becomes quite disturbing. Add to already squeezed incomes the impact of Universal Credit, sanctioning and unfunded food banks. Stir the pot with a need for Westminster to wring ever more from an already financially flayed populace, because from where else will it generate the cash to cover even the interest on a spiralling deficit, and we’re quickly into a situation where the populace can’t be fed, can’t afford to feed itself and social safety nets break down. Especially after the high-tax professional positions flee these shores.

London is already preparing for this eventuality, hence the contingency announcements under way.

We can guarantee there’s a second set of plans that we’ve not yet heard of, as in how this state will react when the inevitable riots and heretofore rumoured “political or civil unrest” spring from the fires of frustrated betrayal. Very clearly, even glancing at the existing undercurrents in UK society, the only questions are when and where, not if, the violence will erupt. What we’ll see stands every chance of making what happened in 1981, 1991, 2001 or 2011 look like a tickle. It’s unlikely to be limited to Northern Ireland, where Ms Foster’s Unionist stance is virtually guaranteed to destroy that which she claims to cherish so dearly. At least she and Ms May have that in common. Unionists dedicated to destroying unions.

London has a stark choice: crash out of Europe and face likely civil war, or abandon Brexit as incompatible with its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, and perhaps have a few self-serving politicians fall on their swords – surely better that than the tens of thousands of innocents otherwise set to be skewered by the Tories’ Brexit nightmare?

London governments are not known for their self-sacrificing nature, rather they’re famous for their “belt tightening” requests. There are always belt tightening requests. Problem: Our belts have no more holes.
Ashley MacGregor
East Kilbride

I WAS quite alarmed the other day as I found myself agreeing with much of what Michael Fry said (Scots’ lifespans are getting shorter again – can indy change the trend?, October 2). He rightly bemoaned Scotland’s lowering life expectancy, even it seems linking the mass unemployment imposed on Scotland (by the Tories’ wilful destruction of Scotland’s traditional industries) with the emergence of the despair that led to heroin addiction and wasted lives. His sympathy faltered, though, in his description of addicts “degrading” the housing schemes and “taxing” the health service. If there had not been mass unemployment and hopelessness, generations would not have become hopeless and fallen a prey to alcohol and drug abuse. What else do you do if your address is enough to get your application binned, or you live in an estate with poor schools and no expectation that the children there will have a better future? I defy anyone to fight their way out of the multiple problems they face.

His assertion that unemployment is low and wages are high is a generalisation which takes no account of the precarious nature of rural unemployment and underemployment, the prevalence of zero-hours contracts and so on, and the fact that many people are on minimum wage if employed.

He linked dependency with depression/early death, but seems to suggest that the way to empower the dependent is to stop supporting them rather than to support them more, despite seeing no problem in supporting the rich to become richer through tax breaks. It seems state support for the rich is deserved and should go further, but for the poor it is undeserved and even limiting their chance to help themselves.

Poor life chances are often reinforced by the poor choices people make or have forced onto them. But they also face a level of multiple deprivation which can only really be tackled by government, although it should of course be in conjunction with local communities. He accuses the Scottish Government of being “hostile” to private enterprise and seeing entrepreneurs as “milch cows” to be exploited for spendthrift projects. Presumably that means any initiative by central government which aims to end the privations suffered by the poor. In a previous article Mr Fry did not seem to think he should pay tax in Belgium because he felt no connection with that country, and was just doing what everyone else did in employing an accountant to minimise his tax bill.

He sees the rich as succeeding through entirely their own efforts. None of them have taken advantage of tax breaks from government or an education provided by the state or their family, none of them are just plain lucky, none of them use the connections forged during an expensive private education to get ahead in later life. If a government dares to tax them, he thinks they are robbing the successful to subsidise the unsuccessful. The irony of tax breaks for the rich but cuts to support for the poor is lost on him.

In an independent Scotland I hope we have a taxation system that is fairer, more transparent and less leaky than the UK one, and I would have no problem if it taxes more those who earn more. That is, after all, how the tax system is supposed to work. This has to be a priority going forward, along with a more coherent set of policies to help persistently marginalised groups.
Julia Pannell

I REFER to the report in Friday’s National “SNP councillors hit out at ‘politicised’ equal pay strike” (October 5). As far as I am aware the SNP Glasgow City Council is in agreement with equal pay, in contrast to their Labour predecessors who fought it tooth and nail, including massive legal bills for the council. What is at stake now is the amounts and timing and that work is ongoing. The various trade unions are now demanding that the workers should strike, including many who are not union members. I wonder whether those trade unions called for strike action when Labour was in power?

The dispute is over, there is goodwill from the current SNP administration; a strike means the withdrawal of labour in many vital areas, and it must not be overlooked that the workers will lose wages. Am I missing something?
Jim Lynch