The gloves are well and truly off! The SNP has published its prospectus for an independent country and all the No campaigners can do is say: “But we may not allow you to use the pound as your currency.”
They do more than hint that membership of the European Union should not be taken for granted. All they can actually guarantee is that if Scotland opts to remain within the UK, the Scots can expect more of the same poor government that we have become accustomed to from Westminster.
Of the 59 Westminster MPs representing Scottish constituencies, only four voted in favour of the “bedroom tax”. Disgracefully, 10 Labour MPs did not vote. Does Scotland have the bedroom tax? Of course it does. Does it matter that it doesn’t want it? Of course not.
Fear of change is the major impediment to an independent Scotland. The Scots actually don’t like being governed from London but somehow, the propaganda machine that is the media and the major political parties exert a disproportionate influence on voters.
Devolution has shown that Scotland can govern its own future. Given full fiscal powers its chances of succeeding and prospering are no less than that of the UK.
I heard Alex Salmond explain his military isolationist policy with interest. It would seem when the British Army are seeing off some future dictator set on world domination the brave Black Watch (heroes of the Normandy beaches) and the valiant Scots Greys (heroes of Waterloo) will sit champing at the bit and watch events on the BBC.
Perhaps, on the other hand, the bravest soldiers in the world will say no to Alex Salmond.
Could any of your readers enlighten me on why people in Scotland do not have to pay for prescriptions and student fees as we do in England?
How is this possible and where is the money coming from?
The Scots made a huge contribution to building the British Empire, and thus the prosperity of the United Kingdom. It seems only right that if they are to leave the UK, they should get to take some of that with them. The obvious way would be for some of the British overseas territories to become Scottish. Perhaps the Falklands and Pitcairn Island?
Clegg saved us from a Tory Government
Owen Jones’s world is a fanciful place. He condemns Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats for backing some Tory policies in coalition, albeit many that stuck in the craw of Clegg’s pre-election supporters (28 November).
If David Cameron, in the absence of a leftish rainbow multi-party coalition, had formed a minority government in 2010, waiting to be brought down or going to the country that autumn, there would probably be a majority Conservative administration in power until late 2015. Despite all his disdain for the Liberal Democrats in government would Owen Jones have preferred the alternative of a red-meat Tory government?
Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
Confrontation in Downing Street
Your correspondent (28 November) who is tired of the Mitchell “bleatings” is missing a rather large point. Sure, addressing Her Maj’s Finest with “I thought you lot were supposed to f——ing help us” wasn’t the brightest, though brushing up against officialdom late at night after a day’s work might try anyone’s patience.
But to dismiss what followed – including a ludicrously long, costly and unsatisfactory “investigation” – as a minor matter is breathtaking.
East Molesey, Surrey
How fortunate for Andrew Mitchell that his altercation with the police has escalated into serious accusations against the officers.
This minister ignored a perfectly good exit gate and demanded that the main gates be opened for him. When the police pointed out that this was an unreasonable demand he abused them, using strong language which he has admitted to. That is alarming and unacceptable behaviour from a government minister.
Press charter a threat to freedom
Roger Schafir is absolutely right in his letter on press regulation (25 November). It is clear that politicians, newspapers and the police were scratching each other’s backs and allowing a culture of impunity to prevail. Like him, I find supporters of the measure unable to explain clearly why all the press and only the press should be made to pay for this by being regulated.
Think of all the times over our recent history – maybe the febrile atmosphere during the run-up to the Iraq war or the current spying revelations – when a desperate government which is out of its depth would want to silence criticism. We should then ask ourselves whether a parliamentary majority of our often whipped and unprincipled representatives could possibly be found in such circumstances to tighten regulation – in the name of “the national interest” of course.
If the answer to that is even as vague as “perhaps” then we should consider this Royal Charter as an absolute threat to freedom of speech and the thin end of the wedge.
In the end the politicians managed to glide across this Rubicon quite easily over a pizza and a few beers in private with lobbyists. For some reason the press weren’t invited to that, and neither were members of the public. Perhaps this is a sign of enlightened government to come.
No case against plain packaging
Why are we having a debate about the compulsory use of plain packaging for tobacco products? If it reduces smoking, then why is it not good?
Why wait to see if it works elsewhere in the world? If it might work then it should be tried. I’m afraid the marketing and advertising gurus who make money from trying to sway addicts to their employers’ products will have to find other products to promote.
Andrew E Cox
Students take a stand against outsourcing
Since the evening of Tuesday 26 November 2013, students at the University of Sussex have occupied the first floor of Bramber House. This space was occupied last February and is currently where Chartwells, the company now in charge of outsourced catering services, are operating their offices.
In their demands, the students declare their continuing fight against the outsourcing process. They are protesting against the marketisation of higher education exemplified most recently through the selling of the student loan book. Student protests in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Brighton, London and Manchester, as well as statements by the NUS show widespread discontent.
Since 30 October 2013, Occupy Sussex has twice taken action to support us, lecturers and tutors, in our national dispute over fair pay. We consider their actions, and ours next Tuesday 3 December, to be part of a broader struggle. One to defend and move towards a model of education that prioritises and financially secures the teaching-staff relationship that makes our universities so attractive.
The injunction obtained in April 2013 against the previous occupation cost the university £81,812 in legal fees. Considering the widespread support for the occupation inside and outside the university, the fact that the injunction banned any unauthorised protest on campus and that it failed to do so in practice, we consider these costs unnecessary and misplaced.
We are signing this letter of support to pressure the management to open a dialogue with students and staff over outsourcing, issues of representation, and fair pay. It is important to protect the right to protest at our university and avoid any injunctions that could criminalise protestors and curtail that right for all of us.
Prof Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
Prof Charlie Post, Sociology, Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Graduate Center-CUNY
Prof Des Freedman, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London, Secretary Goldsmiths UCU
Prof Mario Novelli, Political Economy of Education, University of Sussex
Prof John Holmwood, Sociology, University of Nottingham
Prof Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, Law and Anthropology, University of Brighton
Prof Bill Bowring, Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Prof Michael Outhwaite, Sociology, University of Newcastle
Prof Raphael Salkie, Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Mark Erickson, Reader in Sociology, University of Brighton
Dr John Drury, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of Sussex
Dr Benjamin Selwyn, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development Studies, University of Sussex
Dr Lucy Robinson, Senior Lecturer in History, University of Sussex
Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Uni. of Sussex
Dr Barry Luckock, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Social Policy, University of Sussex
Dr Benno Teschke, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Catherine Will, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Andrew Chitty, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Sussex
Dr Ben Fincham, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Kenneth Veitch, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Kimberley Brayson, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Emily Robinson, Lecturer in Politics, University of Sussex
Dr Michael Kearney, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
Dr Kamran Matin, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr William McEvoy, Lecturer in English and Drama, Uni. of Sussex
Dr Paul Kirby, Lecturer In International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Anna Stavrianakis, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Lecturer, Glasgow School for Business and Society
Dr Alana Lentin, Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis, University of Sydney
Dr Charlie Masquelier, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Surrey
Dr Ruth Charnock, Lecturer in English Literature, University of Lincoln
Dr. Rebecca Searle, Lecturer, University of Brighton
Dr Doug Haynes - Lecturer in American Literature, University of Sussex
Dr Paul O'Connnell, Reader in Law, SOAS, University of London
Dr Matt Dawson, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Glasgow
Dr Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Lecturer in Law, University of Brighton
Dr Nadine El-Enany, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Ben Jones, Lecturer in modern British history, University of East Anglia
Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Lecturer in Sociolog, University of Sussex
Dr Luke Cooper, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Richmond
Dr Jennifer Cooke, Lecturer in English, Loughborough University & Sussex Alumni.
Dr Tish Marrable, Lecturer in Social Work, University of Sussex
Dr Tom Hickey, Chair, UCU Coordinating Committee, University of Brighton
Dr Jeffery R. Webber, Lecturer, Queens Mary University, London
Dr Louise Purbrick, School of Humanities, University of Brighton
Dr Synne Laastad-Dyvik, AT International Relations, University of Sussex
Dr Cherine Hussein, Research Scholar, Council for British Research in the Levant
Dr Maïa Pal, AT in Sociology, University of Sussex
Dr Chris Kempshall, AT, History, University of Sussex
Dr Yuliya Yurchenko, Associate Researcher CGPE (Sussex), Lecturer in International Business (Greenwich)
Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, Visiting Lecturer, University of Westminster
Dr Shamira A. Meghani, former Tutorial Fellow, School of English (now University of Leeds)
Dr Andrei Gomez-Suarez, Research Associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Dr. Nikolas Funke, University of St. Andrews
Dr Joanne Lee, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University
Kit Eves, Global Studies and University of Sussex Library
Patricia MacManus, Chair of Moulsecoomb UCU at the Uni. of Brighton, UCU NEC Southern Regional Rep
Daniel Watson, AT and Ph.D. Candidate in International Relations, University of Sussex
Pedro Salgado, Dphil candidate, IR department, University of Sussex
Frances Thomson, PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
Beatrice Chateauvert-Gagnon, PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
Steffan Wynn-Jones, PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
Tom Southerden, PhD Student, Law, University of Sussex
Andrea Brock, PhD Candidate International Relations, University of Sussex
Nancy Turgeon, PhD Candidate International Relations, University of Sussex
Rose Holmes, AT and PhD researcher, Department of History, University of Sussex
Erica Consterdine, AT, PhD student, Department of Politics, University of Sussex
Joseph Ronan, Associate Tutor & PhD Student, School of English, University of Sussex
Phil Homburg, AT Philosophy, University of Sussex
Sam Appleton, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
Richard Weir, AT, Philosophy, University of Sussex
Tanya Kant, PhD student, Media, Music and Film, University of Sussex
Sahil Dutta, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
Shadreck Mwale, PhD Candidate Sociology, University of Sussex
Tom Martin, AT and PhD Candidate, International Relations, University of Sussex
Tim Carter, AT, Politics/Philosophy, University of Sussex
Neil Dooley, AT and PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
Adam Fishwick, PhD Candidate, University of Sussex
Sanjeedah Choudhury, Associate Tutor, Psychology, University of Sussex
Stella Sims, PhD student, Media and Film, University of Sussex
Richard Lane, PhD student, International Relations, University of Sussex
Zac Rowlinson, PhD student, School of English, University of Sussex
Grainne O'Connell, AT, History and International Development, University of Sussex
Luke Walker, Associate Tutor in English, University of Sussex
Rebecca Partos, AT, PhD student, Department of Politics, University of Sussex
Benjamin Litherland AT/PhD student MFM, University of Sussex
Frances Hubbard, PhD student and AT, Department of Media, Film and Music
Ana FitzSimons, PhD Student and Associate Tutor, University of East Anglia
Viviane Lucia Fluck, PhD Student, University of East Anglia
Alex Casper Cline, PhD Candidate, Anglia Ruskin University
Juliette Harkin, PhD Student, University of East Anglia
Birgit Hofstaetter, PhD Candidate Philosophy, University of Brighton
Holly Phillips, PhD Candidate, University of Otago, New Zealand
Andy Lockhart, PhD candidate, Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield
Anne Templeton, University of Sussex
Paula Hearsum, University of Brighton
Alice Gibson, Library assistant, University of Sussex
Hannah Elsisi, Alumnus