Stornoway Gazette Letters: 11.9.14

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I will vote ‘No’

The debate on the Referendum in the Town Hall was very interesting and the Gazette did well to bring together the mix of speakers on the panel.

I suspect, however, that those present did not learn anything new. There were still no answers to the main questions. The answer on the currency was – of course the UK will let us have a currency union.

The reason the three main UK parties have ruled out a currency union is, not only that it will not be in Scotland’s interests, but also that it will not be in the interests of the other UK nations. Yet we are told that they will change their minds on September 19th if there is a Yes vote even if this means jeopardizing the interests of the rest of the UK!

The EU is also going to pander to us. According to the separatist camp member states, who have had to join on certain terms, are going to allow an independent Scotland to join on more favourable terms than they themselves enjoy – even although it only needs one member state to veto an application for membership.

Is it a case of everyone being out of step, but our Alex?. Optimism is good, but recklessness is something else.

There was no answer on how much setting up an independent nation will cost us or how it will be funded?

The SNP have been making promises, but all are conditional on our voting yes. The Scottish Parliament already has full control over all the day to day matters that affect us, education, health, transport, police and justice, environment and local government. Many of their promises are already within their powers and should not be dependent on a yes vote eg. Childcare, NHS.

We hear claims and counter claims by experts on the economy, oil, and the costs of setting up an independent state. What these claims prove, coming as they do from “experts”, is just how uncertain the future for an independent Scotland is and how difficult it is to predict the future.

One further issue which people may be unaware of is the effect “going it alone” will have on voluntary sector funding. The voluntary sector here is a huge provider of essential social and welfare services. Much of its funding comes from Trusts and Charities. There are many UK charities who will not fund projects outside the UK. If Scotland does become independent the pool of funding available to these services will be drastically reduced and this in turn will have implications for services.

I shall be voting No on September 18th because I am not prepared to gamble with my children and grandchildren’s future. I want them to have the security, the defence, the job opportunities, the economies of scale which being part of the UK offers, coupled with important decisions on health, education, transport and justice being taken in Scotland. In fact the best of both worlds.

Morag Munro



Vote ‘YES’

Better Together’s latest adverts ask us to vote No if we love our families. I found this advert to be incredulous and insulting. I would like to share with you a few personal thoughts.

I am blessed with three beautiful granddaughters and I so enjoy holding them close : seeing their tiny hands curve around mine as we run along the beach stopping to wipe the sand from their cheeks and seeing their innocent eyes looking into mine. I wait for them at Playgroup and revel in their happy smiling faces as they shout ‘Hello Grandma’.

I know they will enter a world, full of dangers, challenges and opportunities - they will become women soon enough, laughing and bright eyed with excitement or crushed with frustration and blighted dreams. Right now I have one chance, one real opportunity – for once, I can influence what their world will be like - what chances they will be offered. We are at a crossroads – a choice of direction - we can surely do better than the status quo.

Voting NO - the power will forever remain out of my reach, the power to change their world. The foreign wars, the weapons of mass destruction, the poverty, the foodbanks, the unemployment – I’ll only be able to watch from the side lines as far away others will decide what their life will be like.

They will live in footnotes and parentheses, afterthoughts, Scottish addendums to the policies and legalities that will define their future.

Voting YES – we can work with the problems, embrace the challenges, grasp the opportunities - every election will bring us the chance to change things for a more just and caring society.

My dear little ones, I care deeply about your future, I will not place your future in hands far away that I cannot influence. I will place it where I and others who love you can change it for the better. I can do this for you now. I can give you a new country.

Because I love you, I will vote YES.

Marlene Mitchell

Ceol na Mara

Isle of Harris

End this fiasco

Much has been said and written about the forthcoming referendum and most people are sick to the teeth of it.

I believe most people have made up their minds ages ago as to how they would vote apart from a small percentage of people known as the Don’t Knows. I personally believe that in this day and age no country should be governed by an alien government, and on the 18th Sept, the people of Scotland have the right to end this fiasco.

I listened to most of the debates and whilst the SNP gave veracious answers to all of the questions posed,the oppositions answers were riddled with ambiguity. During one of the debates I heard Alistair Darling say that if the electorate would vote NO the Scottish government would be given more powers regarding Duty, Tax etc.

Why on earth were we not granted these powers years ago? So thanks to Alistair Darling and his like I’m convinced now more than ever that I should vote YES I’m sure most people would have heard President Obama urging the Scottish people to stay in the union, could it be he never heard of the American War of Independence or was he asked by some Westminster guru to make such a statement?

If this was the case one can only assume that Westminster are using nasty surreptitious tactics to win the NO vote. Scotland is a great and rich country and has much to offer the world. This is one of the selfish reasons Westminster wants to hang on to us. Let us all disappoint them on the 18th September and vote YES!

Donald Macleod



Sheep and Wolves

When the nationalist centralist regime in Edinburgh tried to steal the meat out of the mouths of the children of Raasay, their lack of knowledge with regard to the sophisticated nature of Hebridean tribal communication structure and consequential extensive international outreach ability cost them dearly in tearing asunder the mask of the caring for the land of the people peripheral to the narrow chambers of Edinburgh central.

The righteous indignation of the land rooted and beyond forced the landlords to rescind a decision that was reminiscent of the worst excesses of the landlords who perpetrated that act of clearance of the people of the land and replaced them with sheep.

It is my contention that if the nationalist landlords are allowed to take absolute control of Scotland’s vast resources, the marauding wolves in sheep’s clothing will perpetrate acts of violence against the people and the land that will pale to insignificance the cruelty of the Highland clearances.

K.B. Stephen

Bridge Cottage