Letter: Scotland’s independence drive is no flash in the pan

Financial Times 3 March 2021

"Camilla Cavendish (Opinion, February 20) has little insight into current support for independence in Scotland. What is driving it is not “identity” but democracy, economic fears and a just concern for good government. We who support independence in Scotland feel that the UK no longer meets our needs. Moreover, it is a travesty of democracy which stunts our growth. Scotland has not voted for a Conservative government since 1955, and even then, that vote was carried by the National Liberals.

How does she suppose a new Act of Union would be legitimate if Scottish MPs did not support it? We want governments we voted for, and control over our own resources and the economic levers available to neighbouring small nations like Denmark, Norway or Ireland.

In comparison, Scotland is not thriving. A system of “inter-regional transfers” operates over which we have no influence, with few fiscal and no borrowing powers. Taxes are raised in Scotland, according to rules set elsewhere and delivered to the Treasury, which then sends a proportion back, all controlled by a government we did not elect. How can we build an economy and our own social model based on such meagre scope for action?

London constantly misreads Scotland. Independence is no flash in the pan, but the result of long-term dissatisfaction with not having the powers of state. The Scottish Home Rule Association was founded in the 1880s. The 20th century saw various experiments in addressing Scottish concerns, all of which have failed.

The EU offered some mitigation, but the EU has gone. London looms larger than ever as a shadow over our growth. We are now locked into a long war of attrition until London finally recognises our democratic aspiration and agrees to allow a referendum, and negotiation to end the Union."

Mairianna Clyde* Edinburgh  

*Mairianna is a member of the Now Scotland committee