Letters: Fear of Scottish independence

These letters were published in the Saturday 30th November edition of the Independent

Share

I have a real fear. Next year Scotland will vote for independence... and who can blame them? The remainder of the UK will be condemned to a Tory government – for ever. The year after, the remainder of the UK will vote to leave the EU. Scotland will then join the EU and either float its pound or join the eurozone.

The year after, the US will instigate a free-trade agreement with the EU. In desperation, Northern Ireland will solve its centuries-old problem and join a united Ireland. Poor Wales, with nowhere to go, will be stuck with Conservative England, cut adrift in an unfriendly world! At least we’ll have Trident, with submarines parked in the Solent, and our noble bankers to keep us afloat.

Peter Johnson

Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire

 

Heartfelt compliments to Mary Dejevsky for her article on Scottish independence (29 November). She has caught not just the essentials of the argument for independence but also the sense of occasion that attended the publication of Scotland’s Future. “This was a statement by a government with a purpose, about a country with a coherent idea of itself.” Perfect! There is not a single Scottish media commentator who has come within a  country mile of her perception and optimism.

If Scotland does vote for independence, Mary Dejevsky is one Englishwoman who will have no trouble whatever crossing the non-existent border into our brave new world. And her first drink  is on me.

Jim Crumley

Stirling

The message I take away from the White Paper is that life will hardly change which makes me suspect Alex Salmond realises we Scots do not want true independence. Behind the dodgy sums and gross inducements lies a “pretendy” independence in which Scotland pretends to go it alone but in practice retains most aspects of Britishness.

What will change are the symbols of power in the hands of the Dear Leader – red carpets, state visits, speeches at the UN, hobnobbing with the planet’s movers and shakers.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

As a Scot living in England for 15 years, I have lost some of my Caledonian fervour, and would generally be of the opinion that independence is not the best option for Scotland. But every so often along come the condescending sneers of, among others, M Finn and Mark Walford (Letters, 29 November), and I remember – that’s the England that Scotland wants to be divorced from.

Colin Dryden

Formby, Liverpool

 

Cigarettes have no place near hospitals

Last year my father died after spending his last four months in hospital. I visited almost daily. This awful time was made much worse because I had to watch my husband suffer from chest pains, breathlessness leading to coughing and sometimes vomiting just because he wanted to come into the hospital to support me. The reason for this was the invariable huddle of patients, relatives and staff smoking at every entrance to the hospital (Jane Merrick, 27 November).

My husband is one of the 5.5 million adults in the UK with asthma. His asthma is triggered by other people’s smoke. From my point of view there is nothing “passive” about this. I have got used over the years to being unable to enter some pubs, cinemas and shops when with my husband because of this entrance huddle, but you should not have to endure this to get to the hospital.

Mandy Dixon

Milton Keynes

In trying to ward off a possible ban on branded packaging for cigarettes, Forest and the rest of the tobacco-industry lobby are guilty of a crime against logic (Editorial, 29 November). If branded packaging does attract young people to smoking, then surely it should be banned. If it does not, then why bother with it? Either way, attractive branding and packaging are unnecessary.

Robert Hall

Stone, Staffordshire

Shutting away this legal product from over-the-counter sight hasn’t worked. Nor will plain packaging – but suppose it does, and highly lucrative tobacco revenue slumps as a result? What compulsory taxes will be slapped on non-smokers to make good the lost tax now voluntarily paid by smokers? 

Richard Humble

Exeter

 

A discredited theory – but not for boris

It would be reassuring but futile to believe that people in powerful positions were able to think rationally. Reaganomics and Thatcherism were based on the belief in “trickle down” whereby if taxes were reduced for the rich and for business then the nation’s wealth would increase and riches would then trickle down to the poorer to the benefit of everyone (“Embrace culture of greed, says Boris Johnson”, 28 November)

Various analyses from the 1990s on have shown that the opposite happened and continues to happen. The wealth of the richest 1 per cent in the UK has risen by just under 300 per cent since 1979 and that of the bottom 20 per cent by 16 per cent. Wealth over the past 30 years has been trickling up. And yet we still have Boris Johnson arguing for the rich to get richer...

Dr S Ian Robertson

Milton Keynes

 

Boris Johnson claims that greed is a “valid motivator… for economic progress”. Really? That is why we are in such a fine economic state now, is it? Because of the greed of those in the financial sector prior to the crash? I have clearly misunderstood the whole situation.

Keith O’Neill

Shrewsbury

 

So “greed is good” once again. Except, of course, when workers or trade unions ask for better wages, whereupon the adjective “greedy” is used as a term of abuse by the Tories.

Pete Dorey

Bath, Somerset


Energy company profits

It used to be said that the military only knew a situation was getting dangerous when Kate Adie arrived from the BBC.  I have the same impression when Angela Knight turns up defending the indefensible.

David Phillips

London SW18

 

How our privacy was violated

Peter Wright’s account of the circumstances in which the Daily Mail wrote about my wife’s lung cancer is misleading and insensitive (Letters, 28 November).

My darling late wife. Sian Busby, never talked about her lung cancer to anyone but our immediate family and very closest friends, because she did not regard it as anyone’s business but our own. Because she was so upset when the Mail wrote about her illness, she made a point to me of explaining that she had not discussed it with the Mail reporter. And the implication that she talked about her cancer at a party, with the expectation it would be published in a newspaper, is absurd.

As for the celebrity photographer Alan Davidson mentioned in Mr Wright’s letter – he is my cousin once removed, and not Sian’s. It is a running joke for us that he snaps us whenever he sees me and my family. There was never any expectation on our  part that those photos would be published.

My memory of why Sian spoke to the Mail reporter at all is that she was flattered that he seemed to be interested in her latest novel. She was recovering from major surgery and chemotherapy, and to be taken seriously for her work would have been attractive to her.

I find it strange that the Daily Mail seeks to defend a crass exposure of very private information, which undid our efforts to protect our boys – the youngest of whom was still in primary school – from painful questioning by friends  and neighbours.

The fact that the Mail thought the diary story was “upbeat” is not relevant. It disclosed something we were desperate to keep out of the press.

As I said in my lecture earlier this week, there was no attempt by the Mail to tell us they were planning to write about Sian’s cancer or ask us if we thought it appropriate.

And, as I also pointed out, I would have complained at the time, but Sian urged me not to – because she was frail and she was anxious that in some way the Mail would retaliate. Against my instincts, I bit my tongue and kept quiet.

I spoke about the incident a few days ago to bolster my argument against state or royal-charter based regulation of the press, by showing that I do not argue this lightly and that I have personal reasons for recognising that press intrusion can be serious  and painful.

That is why I am saddened that even after all we know about the appalling lapses by newspapers and journalists in recent years, there is still no new and effective system in place to provide timely and appropriate restitution to those unfairly damaged by intrusive or mistaken reporting.

I will continue to argue that precious freedoms would be lost if regulation were underwritten by the state, directly or indirectly, but I strongly take the view that self-regulation is only defensible if newspapers respond in a speedy, decent and responsible way to legitimate complaints.

Robert Peston

London

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

I saw the immigration lies a mile off - and now nobody can deny it

Nigel Farage
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game