This was published today:
IN setting out the steps required for a further referendum, I am afraid your correspondent Alan Carroll (Letters, April 22) has missed out the most important part. I am happy to fill the gap.
Like the one that was held in September last year, any further referendum would again require the consent of Westminster, as the constitution is a matter reserved to Scotland’s UK government. All of the parties of government have committed to implement the Smith Report, so none would have a mandate to sanction such a referendum.
Likewise, Nicola Sturgeon has told us that the General Election is not about independence, so not even her MPs would have any mandate to support a new referendum. In addition, it was specifically pledged by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon that there would not be a further referendum for a generation or a lifetime.
So all in all, there is no chance of a new referendum at any time in the foreseeable future, which is as it should be, and anyone voting for the SNP in the hope that it would bring one (and independence) any closer is wasting their vote.
Peter A Russell
This was not (a letter by John McMaster on similar lines was published, however):
Ian Bell draws our attention to the rather odd intervention of Sir John Major in the General Election campaign.
In doing so, he might have pointed out that amongst other follies (like rail privatisation) Sir John was responsible for the loss of all of his party’s Scottish seats, and that he was to blame for the abolition of Scotland’s regional councils, which marked a very serious crossroads in Scottish political history.
This was not just that the abolition of the regions had the effect of exacerbating the sense of a democratic deficit, thereby making large-scale devolution inevitable. The consequence was the establishment of Holyrood, making it possible for the SNP to escalate the terms of the debate in Scotland. Hitherto, the mainstream of Scottish politics had concerned itself with practical issues of delivering services and redistribution of wealth between communities; since then, the debate has been increasingly about identity and “nationhood.”
These are the fault lines which still endure between Scottish Labour and the SNP (as set out by Alex Gallagher) – Labour believing that politics is about co-operation for the common good in terms of the economy and public services, and the SNP believing in independence no matter what the risk or cost.
Anyway, thanks for everything, Sir John. You never did know anything about Scotland.