Letters to the editor
Poster theft appeal
I would be very obliged please if I could ask whoever it is who keeps removing my Tai Chi posters from the big public noticeboard in Whithorn and elsewhere to please get in touch with me. I can then give them more details about classes in the area and the benefits of regular Tai Chi. The posters being taken are expensive, laminated posters and we are a non profit local organisation offering this facility. We are also holding a free event on Sunday 21st September between 11am and 12pm at Whithorn Community Centre.
Think about fairness
The claim that independence for Scotland would result in a fairer society has proved an attractive selling point for the Yes camp. What decent person would not vote for ‘fairness’? What exactly does it mean?
I think fairness is usually equated with greater equality of income and a reduction in the gap between rich and poor. I would go along with that but in a global economy any small country which unilaterally clobbers its high earners with tax will soon see them and their tax contribution disappearing over its borders. Even France has seen its ambitious financial sector workers debunk to London. How long would the financial sector in Edinburgh survive heavy taxation by an independent Scotland? Only concerted international action by democratic governments such as the EU cap on bankers’ bonuses has any chance of success.
Of course the SNP know this which is why they do not suggest increasing the top rate of income tax and actually propose to cut corporation tax to business to entice firms north of the Border – a race to the bottom rather than an equality drive. The other way to decrease the income gap is to raise wage levels at the bottom end or raise tax thresholds to take low earners out of income tax completely as the Liberal Democrats have achieved in the UK. To be honest there is probably a fair consensus among mainstream political parties in the UK that the minimum wage should rise significantly. What I see no sign of on the doorstep is any appetite from Scots to support a more generous benefits system or indeed to pay the Scandinavian levels of personal taxation which are needed to level out earnings over the full range of society. The popularity of universal benefits, such as free university education and the range of universal benefits paid to pensioners irrespective of their income is a selling point for the ‘Yes’ people – but is it ‘fair’ – it certainly does absolutely nothing to promote equality. We need to think far more deeply about fairness before we are seduced by utopian visions and face up to the fact that strong democratic international action and the willingness to pool sovereignty is much more likely to improve equality than the political fragmentation and the breaking up of the United Kingdom which will result from a Yes vote.
Don’t vote for Boris!
It seems that Boris Johnson is favourite to succeed David Cameron as next UK Prime Minister. I would have thought that any undecided voters in the forthcoming independence referendum might bear that in mind when casting their vote. I can’t think of any better reason for voting YES!
Not at all vitriolic
Gosh! What a sheltered life Bobby Jeal must have lived. How can she possibly call my use of Salmond’s almost affectionate – and widely used – nickname of “Wee Eck” as “vitriolic”. Has she seen the shameful and well publicised abuse showered on the moderate majority opposed to independence by the Yes campaign’s organised bullies? Look up “Jim Murphy” for instance. Talk about calling the cauldron black!
NHS already devolved
In the referendum debate, it is not true to claim that independence is necessary to protect the NHS. The NHS in Scotland is already devolved and has developed in a different way to that south of the border.
One cause of confusion is the word privatise, which refers to sub-contracting public services to private businesses, but for the NHS these services remain free at the point of delivery. Privatise is also used to imply going privately and paying for health care.
To confuse the two is creating unnecessary anxiety. In Scotland, the NHS has more strategic direction from Health Boards with comparatively few services being contracted out, whereas in England and Wales there is an emphasis on commissioning health care with the involvement of general practitioners.
Having spent a lifetime working in the NHS, both north and south of the border, I prefer the Scottish system, but both are part of the NHS funded from central taxation and free at the point of delivery. Indeed Scotland receives more per head of population than the rest of the UK, and this funding together with access to NHS facilities throughout the UK would be put at risk by voting for separation.
Dr David Hannay