Today’s Herald Letter: Risky Gambles (Beat paywall)

IN the question of the economics of independence, there are those like myself who will vote No, on the evidence presented by the likes of Paul Krugman, the independent IFS and the three political parties who represent nearly 80 per cent of the country’s voters. And voting Yes will be those who prefer the version given voice by Joseph Stiglitz, the association of poujadiste small traders called Business for Scotland, and the SNP, whose support peaked at 22 per cent in 2011.

The binary format of the referendum has made the choice simple for those who “don’t know” or are undecided in the face of the risks involved. They might ask themselves the following:

If you were buying a house, and one surveyor said it had dry rot and the other said it did not, would you bet your savings and your mortgage on one of them being right? Or if you were buying a car and you had one mechanic say it was sound and another that it was a heap of junk, would you take the risk?

Or if you were wagering your life savings and those of your family on a horse, would you bet on one on which the vets could not agree as to its fitness? Likewise, two of the world’s top economists cannot agree as to the benefits or otherwise of independence. The stakes are enormous and the odds are long.

Alex Salmond is a betting man, and is obviously prepared to take these risks. This week, Scottish voters should look at themselves and decide whether they are also that reckless. I trust that they will not be.

Peter A Russell

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