Sir: Andrew Wilson (‘Scot free’, 21 November) poses the question: ‘What if the case for independence was a highly sophisticated position?’ If only. For the SNP position is one of sophistry rather than sophistication. Wilson states that Scottish voters want Scotland to return to Europe. He also states that an independent Scotland would retain sterling, but does not mention the two policies are incompatible. It would be impossible for an independent Scotland to join the EU using sterling.
Wilson declares that staying in the Union is riskier than independence, but we should all reflect on the words of Ronald MacDonald, Adam Smith Professor of Economics at Glasgow University, who has written that the SNP policy of sterlingisation for an independent Scotland would lead to a currency crisis and national bankruptcy. The SNP’s policy of separation would be a colossal strategic error. Solidarity with family and friends in the United Kingdom is a much better option.
Dr Bruce Halliday
An implausible approach
Sir: As requested, I suspended my scepticism and gave a fair hearing to Andrew Wilson’s article setting out why he thinks most Scots want independence. The United Kingdom, he believes, is a failing entity becoming poorer and more insular by the day. The blame lies with Mr Wilson’s political opponents, and presumably everyone who voted for them. I then learnt that he spends a great deal of effort concocting implausible solutions to problems he wants to create by dismembering 400 years’ worth of institutions. But he has apparently given no thought to managing the inevitable upheaval this would lead to between most people and regions who do not support his party within Scotland.
I did not learn what the purpose of an independent Scotland was. How would creating barriers allow Scotland to achieve the riches and openness he claims are lacking within the UK? How could losing 92 per cent of the population do anything other than damage to international standing? There were no answers, no vision, no future. How depressing.
The Brexit hook
Sir: Andrew Wilson’s polemic is a good example of what Douglas Murray writes about elsewhere in the same issue (‘Truth is in the eye of the beholder’, 21 November).
A major theme in Mr Wilson’s piece is his perception that Brexit represents ‘a regrettable desire to retreat from the world’ coupled with a decline in Britain’s world standing. A more tenable truth may rather be that Brexit will allow Britain to function as a sovereign state and engage directly with the rest of the world; not as a captive member of the federal bureaucracy that is the EU. It is ironic that he can perceive a Scottish exit from the UK as a worthy cause, yet British independence from the EU as a bogeyman in the room. Of course, Brexit is a convenient hook upon which the SNP can hang their nationalist aspirations.
Benllech, Isle of Anglesey
Sir: You are right to be concerned at Boris Johnson’s unrealistic green agenda (‘The wrong reset’, 21 November). For starters, his Electric Vehicle (EV) roll-out programme over the next ten years is breathtakingly naive. A single 250-mile EV journey would require a battery capacity of around 45kWh. Recharging 20 million such batteries over (say) six hours at 7.5kW would apply an extra load of around 150,000MW to the grid.
In fact it will require National Grid Capacity to be more than doubled, with something approaching 30 new nuclear power stations, commissioned by 2032. That assumes only one EV per household. The cost of that programme will not only put more into fuel poverty, but it will drive more businesses abroad to countries such as India and China, where they will cause more CO2 emissions than before.
Roger J. Arthur
Storrington, West Sussex
Quite a putdown
Sir: Guy Walters’s article about the uninvited use of first names (‘Name dropping’, 21 November) reminds me of a nonagenarian French lady whom my wife used to drive to go shopping. If somebody addressed her by her first name she would reply: ‘Have I slept with you?’
The right name
Sir: Guy Walters is so right. Before retirement I worked as an old-age psychiatrist, and it used to infuriate me how my colleagues called patients by their forenames. They could not understand my opinion that they were being patronising and disrespectful. There is, perhaps, a little hope. I recently had to arrange for an elderly friend to be admitted to hospital in a very serious condition. The first thing the ambulance paramedic said to the patient on arrival at his house was: ‘Hello, what should I call you?’
Ties that bind
Sir: A belated comment about cravats (‘The power of networks’, 14 November). Do any of your older readers remember ‘The Clarney’, produced in the 1960s by, I think, Austin Reed? It was a shirt with an attached cravat instead of a collar. I bought one, in Tattersall check. My wife, a woman of impeccable taste, immediately confiscated it and used it as a duster.
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