Letter: Scotland must take its place in Europe

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The Independent Online
Sir: Scotland is a European country with approximately the same number of people as Denmark. Like all other countries of the European Union, it has its own legal, educational and religious systems. In Edinburgh is located a civil service which is (as Sir Edward Heath likes to remind his party's europhobes who rant about "Brussels bureaucrats") larger than that which runs the whole of the EU. But Scotland has no parliament.

This idiotic state of affairs is symptomatic of the outmoded and destructive parochialism which is endemic on this island. To survive in the modern era we must all increasingly see ourselves in a European context - especially in Scotland where 55 per cent of all manufactured exports are sent to the EU, accounting for 60,000 directly dependent jobs. A further 83,000 jobs in Scotland are in overseas-owned manufacturing which depends on access to the EU market, and it is estimated that over 20,000 Scottish jobs are already dependent on tourism from the EU.

If there are any Scots still nervous about accepting greater responsibility for their own fate in Thursday's referendum they should take heart from the economic success of their fellow Celts in the Republic of Ireland. More remote and with none of Scotland's powerful assets (North Sea oil, hydro-electricity, Scotch whisky ) the Irish in recent times have outperformed the UK economy in GDP per capita. A Scotland which rules itself can do at least as well.


Brighton, East Sussex