Alex Salmond (NS Essay, 28 February) fails to address the following issue: if Scotland votes for independence, do I, a Scot living in another part of the present UK, become overnight a non-UK, non-EU national? If not, what will my status be? (Incidentally, will Mr Salmond hang on to the tax I paid when I worked in Scotland, while singing “Will Ye No’ Come Back Again”?)
And whatever the answer, what right does Salmond or his party have to tinker with my nationality without giving me any say in the matter?
Hove, East Sussex
Helena Kennedy described very well (“No divorce”) the deep frustration felt by many in Scotland at the absence of a strong Labour voice. It is a frustration intensified by the fact that in 2012 many Labour local council groups formed pacts with local Tories simply to prevent SNP majorities, with predictably petty and poisonous consequences. She rightly commends The Common Weal and calls for Labour to debate the issues it raises. Her short article could only offer tantalising clues as to what these issues would be.
Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire
Strange things going on at the New Statesman. Jason Cowley describes the Scottish Labour leader as “likeable but hapless” (Editor’s Note). She is not even mentioned by name – she does not get so much as a line to set out her stall – while Alex Salmond gets no fewer than ten pages. There are plenty of us up here who enjoy how Johann Lamont, week in and week out, nails Salmond at First Minister’s Questions.
I am surprised that Jason Cowley says Labour is struggling in Scotland. Recent Holyrood by-elections, the 2010 general election and the 2012 council elections show the exact opposite, with huge Labour wins over the SNP. A poll in today’s Scottish Sun shows an 18 per cent poll lead for the No campaign, exactly as it was two years ago.
The best alternative to Scottish independence that the NS can offer is a Labour government in 2015 to curtail the worst of Tory excesses. The Blair-Brown years demonstrated that the UK, under any party, is corrupt, privileging the interests of City financiers, the Middle England xenophobes and the imperialist warmongers. Scottish independence would be nothing more or less than an opportunity for democrats in all parts of the broken UK to build an alternative.
North Berwick, East Lothian
Why do you call a future independent Scotland “a secessionist state” (Leader)? The UK is the only country in the EU formed by two equal and sovereign states that agreed to unite. Either both the reconstituted kingdoms of England and Scotland will have to seek admission to the EU, or neither will.
I really enjoyed your issue on Scotland. However, there was one weakness exemplified by Andrew Marr (The Critics), who observed that, on the whole, the English disdain nationalism – whereas they are among the worst offenders, disguising it as “Britishness” or “internationalism”.
Caerphilly, South Wales
Alex Salmond’s brass neck is legendary but the New Statesman should not be taken in by nationalists posing as cuddly socialists. Their pitch about Scotland as a haven of enlightenment is a smokescreen: their sole objective is to break up a family of nations regardless of the consequences for all the people of the UK. Bear in mind that SNP MPs voted with the Tories to bring down the Labour government in 1979, ushering in Margaret Thatcher.
John Home Robertson
Thanks for finding space for “This England” in the Scotland special issue.
Will Self is not so much taking the high road or the low road to Loch Lomond (Madness of Crowds) as the long road. Kincardine Bridge crosses the Forth, not the Clyde.
Your editorial was headlined “Anti-Toryism is not enough to justify Scottish independence”. Yes it is.
Given the heritage they share, should the Northern Irish majority (Letter from Belfast) not be given the choice of staying with the Scots rather than the English if Scotland votes Yes in the referendum?
The NS cover story entitled “The radicalism of fools – Anti-Semitism and the left” by Anthony Clavane (24 January 2014, pages 22-25) was wrong to say that Nabila Ramdani’s article for the National on the quenelle “omitted to mention that some of this goofing around took place outside synagogues, Holocaust memorials, Auschwitz and even the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse where Mohamed Merah, a Franco-Algerian gunman, murdered three children and a teacher in 2012”. Ms Ramdani did note in her article that Nicolas Anelka himself would condemn the revolting pictures of idiots performing quenelles outside Holocaust memorials, or other sites marking attacks on Jews. We apologise to Ms Ramdani for this inaccuracy.