Herald letter: helpful advice to the SNP (No £ wall)

THERE appears to be three ways that Nationalists try to escape the reality of the fact that Scotland benefits from revenues redistributed from the rest of the UK.

One is to deny that this happens, that is, by calling into doubt the veracity of the Scottish Government’s own GERS figures. The second is to claim utterly mendaciously that Scotland pays for English infrastructure and will be free of this burden when independence comes.

The third way is that deployed by Alasdair Galloway (Letters, December 1), who seems to be saying “to fill the £15 billion gap between Scotland’s income and outgoings, we would not just have income tax to raise, we will also have loads of other taxes we can put up”. This of course ignores the fact that at the last Scottish election, voters showed themselves to be opposed to any tax rises, even on the modest scale proposed by Scottish Labour.

It one of the great mysteries of Scottish politics that Nationalists do not see the only credible way ahead for their project. I would like to offer them some guidance.

This way forward is to use the very considerable powers available to the Scottish Government in education, skills training, planning, economic development and overseas trade to grow the Scottish economy until it is demonstrably the case that it can support Scotland and the standard of living which its people rightly expect, in terms of both personal prosperity and public services.

This may take 30 or 50 years, maybe longer. Then, and only then, will independence be a prospect even worth discussing, and until then, the SNP will be asking people to vote against their own better interests: they would do better to wait, and get on with the job of governing.

Peter A Russell

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