The Labor Party itself is responsible for the loss of Scotland

Unlike many of his old Scottish Labor colleagues, Mr McKenna has expressed a certain sympathy for the independence cause alongside his deep-seated hatred of the SNP. However, when push comes to shove and he catches the whiff of a Labor revival, he conveniently forgets that Labor is the party that got us involved in the Iraq invasion, failed to get us in the hold the EU and now looks the other way and fails to openly oppose or condemn the Tory Government’s despicable immigration policies.

Like Mr McKenna, I campaigned for Labor as a teenager, in my case as early as the 1959 general election, and for many years after that, until the 2014 No result convinced me we would remain in the so-called union with our southern neighbors we were making us on our way out of the EU and into a future that was terrifyingly reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s.

Mr McKenna even lauds the virtues of Jackie Baillie, who is only keeping her Dumbarton seat following massive tactical voting by Conservative supporters to thwart the SNP’s victory. His deep-seated hatred of the SNP clearly outweighs any desire to rid ourselves of the democratic deficit that is robbing our Scottish nation of the ability to decide its own constitutional future.

willie maclean, Milngavie.

Pro-Indy parties should focus their energies on Holyrood

We are preparing for another retreat

Recent articles in The Herald that were interesting and informative included that of Pauline Bryan, which detailed threats to the legislative process posed by the Tories’ increasing contempt for Parliament (“I am with the Lords and would even like it to be abolished,” The Herald, August 16). Of particular interest was the part of the article related to the Strike Law (Minimum Service Law). The bill was described as “rushed through Parliament with unacceptable haste”. What is worrying about the role of the mother of parliaments is that it is a “skeleton draft” with only the “bare minimum” and the details of which will have to be filled in later.

This article becomes more informative when read in conjunction with Angela Rayner’s recent denial that Labor is considering watering down proposals to protect workers’ rights (“Angela Rayner forced to refuse rise to workers’ rights”, Heraldscotland, 18 August). There must be nothing hasty about this, it’s a matter of “going through the details, working with unions, working with business, working with other organizations around the practicalities”.

Of course no one wants to see rash, shoddy legislation, but it has amazed me for a number of years that the voluminous laws aimed at undermining the defense capabilities of working people and their organizations can be passed quickly and easily. There are no obstacles while legislation of the opposite nature tends to emphasize complexity and difficulty. Even more amazing is the number of people parroting the right-wing media’s nonsense about the power of unions and how, led by fanatics, they enjoy ransoming the country.

I don’t think it’s too cynical to infer from Mrs Rayner’s comments the early stages of further Labour’s withdrawal from progressive commitments.

brian harvey, Motherwell.

Little hope for reconciliation

MARK Smith’s call for nuance and compromise in the independence debate (“My view of independence has shifted, as has Kezia’s,” The Herald, August 21) is to be welcomed, and many of us will hope that it will indeed become one Debate comes down the middle ground. However, given the lessons learned from the 2014 debate and the debate that has taken place since then, caution is warranted.

From my perspective, I saw little value in the independence proposals, largely due to the lack of a fiscal plan or even a monetary plan, but welcomed the opportunity to debate the issues and settle the issue for a while generation through the Scottish SNP government’s referendum. I have arguments like those of my former colleague Dr. Steve Inch, who argued that a smaller and more flexible economy was better suited to the challenges of the future, but concluded that security was preferable to a larger and more diverse economy. I also welcomed the compromises of the No campaign, culminating in the passage of the vow promises and additional powers introduced after the Smith Committee report at Holyrood was approved by consensus of all parties.

In contrast, the SNP’s Scottish Government has failed to recognize its referendum as crucial and its supporters have insulted and misrepresented those of us who disagreed, calling us ‘Red Tories’, ‘Tory scum’, “Quislings” and “traitors” called. As recent correspondence on GERS has shown, even when the Scottish Government itself sets out the obvious and undeniable benefits of union, the evidence is routinely destroyed by the remnants of the Yes campaign.

The difference between the two sides is that most people on the No side want what is best for Scotland on a pragmatic basis – and there is no convincing evidence that independence will be that. In contrast, most people on the yes side seem to be dogmatic and want independence no matter how clear the cost of it. It will certainly be difficult to bring the two sides together unless the nationalists change course.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

Read more: Why Kezia Dugdale should make us all think

Give us answers about the economy

YOUR correspondents, who question the GERS statistics every year, do so for two reasons. First, they see it as a construct of a flawed Westminster system, and second, they claim that an independent Scottish government would fare much better if it had all the financial and economic leverage in its own hands. This is despite the fact that Scotland’s devolved government has a mixed track record (to say the least) with the leverage it already has.

What we need from GERS critics and the Scottish Government is a plan on what the economic and other implications of independence would be. The most recent attempt to do so came in 2018 with Andrew Wilson’s Sustainable Growth Commission, which was quietly dismissed as failing to provide answers acceptable to the independence cause; In fact, the first ten years of independence were forecast to be very tough for the Scottish economy.

Perhaps the First Minister could divert some of the many officials working on independence to deal with the crucial aspect of Scotland’s post-independence economy. Then we can all decide.

alan ramage, Edinburgh.

The arguments for Indy remain hollow

The Global Financial Services Index of leading financial centers, published in March 2023, ranked New York best, with London in second place.

Due to the strength of the financial and commercial sectors in London, the tax levied in London and the South East exceeds the level of public sector spending in this region. This surplus is spread across all other parts of the UK and is why recently released GERS figures show Scotland has gained £19.1bn. If Scotland were to become an independent country, it would cut itself off from this source of funding. This is a problem for advocates of secession.

In response to the GERS figures, Neil Gray, the SNP Cabinet Secretary for Welfare, Fair Work and Energy, is quoted as saying that an independent Scotland “would have the power to make different decisions, with different budgetary outcomes” (“North Sea Revenue”) help reduce government deficit,” The Herald, August 17). The problem is that the SNP has consistently failed to spell out what those powers are and what different decisions they would make.

At an event in Edinburgh last Monday (14 August), Humza Yousaf was taken to task for the lack of detail in the Pro-Independence Economic Prospectus published by the Scottish Government on 17 October last year. His response was that providing a fully detailed financial plan “is definitely something we’re considering” and “that’s something I’m very actively considering”.

While those who are emotionally committed to independence may perhaps be persuaded by arguments that there are other small countries that are prospering and that Scotland’s economy is suffering from Westminster’s economic mismanagement, these are, as are Mr.’s comments Gray, little more than empty rhetoric.

The case for independence will remain hollow until a solid economic basis for it is developed and published.

George Rennie, inverness

Grace Reader

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