We read Mary Dejevsky’s column on 29 November with delight, so pleased she is not toeing the paper’s editorial line on Scottish independence.
We moved with our children from Lincolnshire to Aberdeen in 1984 for a career move in the oil industry. Initially, we considered it as just another expat job, but now wouldn’t dream of moving south of the border. We will be voting for independence.
The Labour party doesn’t want an independent Scotland because they rely on the Scottish vote in Westminster. The Conservative elite own land in Scotland and worry about taxes which may be imposed by an independent Scotland. The print media is almost exclusively right-wing and puts out scare stories to frighten the Scottish electorate.
Income tax is the fairest tax, but successive UK governments have reduced it in favour of indirect taxation, which only helps to widen the gap between haves and have-nots. Mary Dejevsky is right that the Scots may well wish to emulate their Scandinavian cousins in deciding to accept higher direct taxation in return for a fairer society.
The question which does not receive any attention from politicians or the media is “How will the rest of the UK fare without Scotland?” The UK has much to lose and maybe should have a say.
It is good to see some discussion at last of what will happen to the UK if Scotland chooses independence. The use of the term “rest of the UK” shows the lack of thought by government on the future of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Why should only 10 per cent of the UK population have a say in the destruction of the Union.
Allan J Jones
If Scotland votes for independence and England votes to leave the EU, we shall be left with a Conservative-dominated country, where everything is to be privatised and hedge funds control most things.
The Conservative Party wants our prosperity to be based on the City of London, and never mind the rest of us who rarely go inside the M25. This would not be a country to which I should feel any loyalty.
Observing Cameron’s muted response to the mendacious twaddle of Salmond’s 670-page prospectus, a dreadful thought occurs. What if the Tories secretly want Scotland to secede, whatever the consequences of their betrayal of the Scots and the Union, if it results in extinguishing the 41 Labour and six SNP MPs now sitting in Westminster for Scottish constituencies?
Once this treachery is achieved, Cameron can then blame Alistair Darling and his honest but low-key campaign, shed some crocodile tears and go on to enjoy Tory dominance for ages to come without needing the Lib Dems.
Your letters page today (29 November) is headed “Scots have had enough of London Rule”. Haven’t we all?
The Politics of a helicopter crash
I read on the Independent website at 1am on 30 November of the police helicopter crash in Glasgow that had happened a couple of hours before. A sorry event, and one that would test the emergency services in Glasgow, and cause great concern to those involved and their relatives.
Even though the event was very recent, I saw the usual sombre responses from our most prominent politicians. Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, tweeted his “thoughts”; the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, commented on the “awful news”. David Cameron got in on the act, saying “his thoughts are with everyone”; and Ed Miliband said it was “awful news”.
But just why do politicians feel the need to express their thoughts, concern, shock, horror, sympathy and myriad other emotions at every tragic event that does not really concern them? Do politicians really care that much about an event that has no personal relevance? Or is it just politics?
I can easily imagine Alex or David or Ed or Nicola hurriedly agreeing a suitable statement with their advisers, issuing the statement and then calling their focus group gurus to check how their tweets or statements affected their ratings. Or maybe I am just too cynical.
East Lydford, Somerset
‘Sledging’ sets a bad example
Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, has rightly been fined for his on-field remark to England No 11 batsman James Anderson to “get ready for a broken f***ing arm,” but his comment that he has “heard a lot worse on a cricket field than what the Australia and England players said throughout this Test match” is disturbing.
While good-natured banter is acceptable, and, as Kathy Marks says (26 November), some witty exchanges are legendary, the Preamble to the Laws of Cricket states clearly that “to direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire” is against the spirit of the game.
For Test cricketers to indulge in language in breach of the spirit of the game must be firmly stamped on. If Test cricketers are heard using foul language, recreational cricketers will think it acceptable and there is anecdotal evidence that its use in local league cricket is putting some young people off playing the game.
Captains “are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of the Game as well as within the Laws”. Test captains have a particular responsibility to ensure that they and their teams set a good example.
Chairman, North Essex Cricket League
The idea that “what happens on the field, stays on the field” is nonsense. International cricket is not an activity conducted in private by consenting adults, but one in the open air, and broadcast to millions on television and radio. Everything that happens on the field of play has been paid for by the spectators, sponsors, and by TV and radio broadcast rights. The spectators have a right to know what is happening and how their “heroes” conduct themselves during the game.
Microphones in the stumps would provide the solution. And, frankly, if what is said is too rude for broadcast at the time, it should not be said at all. What is referred to as “sledging” is nothing more than bullying and insulting behaviour by people who are supposed to be ambassadors for their countries, and which, if conducted elsewhere, could well earn a police caution or arrest for threatening behaviour.
Forgotten exiles from Iran
The recent negotiations between a number of world powers and the present Iranian regime are, if only because they might prevent a further war between the West and the Middle East, to be welcomed.
It is important to remember, however, that the human rights record of the Iranian regime is, according to a number of human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, one of the worst in the world.
It is also important to remind the world of a forgotten group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, which has been campaigning for 49 years against this human rights record and for a democratic Iran.
The members of this group have – about 700 of them altogether – been on hunger strike for 85 days. They are on hunger strike simply because, like the remaining prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, but for radically different reasons, no state will take them. Five people have been on hunger strike for 85 days outside the US Embassy in London.
Whatever one makes of the politics of this group, this is a human rights disaster – each one of the members of the PMOI who remains in Iraq is a protected citizen under the Geneva convention, and yet 52 of their members were shot in Iraq on 1 September.
It is clearly unsafe for the group members to return to Iran. Unless someone does something soon we could have a few deaths on the steps of the US Embassy here in London.
Professor Alison Assiter
University of the West of England
It is worth remembering that the “tentative deal with Iran” (editorial, 25 November), would not have been possible without the UK Parliament voting not to bomb Syria back in August.
Salen, Isle of Mull
Final ambition: to vote Cameron out
Children with rickets, malnutrition on the increase, the needs of the disabled trivialised – all this brings back powerful memories of the Thirties, a decade I remember only too well.
At the age of 86 I have been given a strong incentive to live until 2015 so that I can help to oust this arrogant and utterly heartless government from office.