Brexit epit­o­mises the folly of West­min­ster two-party sys­tem

The Herald - - OPINION -

READ­ING Ian Mccon­nell’s ar­ti­cle (“Brexit fears at record but Govern­ment lacks lead­er­ship to call a halt”, The Her­ald, Oc­to­ber 12) it struck me that Brexit is the ul­ti­mate folly of the West­min­ster two-party sys­tem.

Brexit is the re­sult of a per­ceived threat to the con­tin­ued dom­i­nance of the Tory Party in West­min­ster.

Over sev­eral decades the West­min­ster govern­ment has evolved into a two-party sys­tem where each party is ca­pa­ble is of achiev­ing an over­all ma­jor­ity at a Gen­eral Elec­tion. Govern­ment has now de­te­ri­o­rated to the po­si­tion that it pro­ceeds on the ba­sis that the cur­rent govern­ment is try­ing to re­solve prob­lems re­sult­ing from the fail­ures of the pre­vi­ous govern­ment.

The cap­tive elec­torate is al­ways pay­ing for the fol­lies of the last govern­ment be­fore reap­ing the true re­wards for their sac­ri­fices when the new govern­ment’s poli­cies even­tu­ally re­veal the pot of gold at the end of its rain­bow.

Of course the sit­u­a­tion turns out to be much worse than ex­pected, dogged from the start by the fail­ures of the pre­vi­ous govern­ment’s poli­cies the new govern­ment fails to de­liver.

Even­tu­ally the vot­ers get fed up and re­ject the sit­ting govern­ment only to dis­cover that they have elected the only op­po­si­tion party and the merry-go-round starts again.

Brexit is the epit­ome of this tragic com­edy of er­rors.

John Jamieson,

37 Ech­line Place,

South Queens­ferry,

West Loth­ian.

IAN Mccon­nell re­ports on the con­cerns of busi­ness over Brexit un­cer­tainty. Yet the UK and EU ne­go­ti­at­ing teams know an even­tual deal is likely to be mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial and so will be se­cured, not least be­cause of the ben­e­fits to all sides in see­ing an end to that un­cer­tainty.

In Scot­land, how­ever, things are more com­pli­cated. Af­ter two years of ag­i­ta­tion over Brexit, the SNP has still not deigned to prop­erly ex­plain what the al­ter­na­tive for an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would be. Yes we are all clear that for Ni­cola Stur­geon and her col­leagues the best deal that Brexit can de­liver will al­ways be re­jected by them as the worst, in their con­tin­ued ef­forts to ar­gue for in­de­pen­dence off the back of it. How­ever, the like­li­est out­come of a suc­cess­ful push for in­de­pen­dence would be, and ar­guably al­ways has been, an ex­tended, po­ten­tially in­def­i­nite pe­riod out­side both the UK and the EU, as the pow­ers that be in Brus­sels con­sider how Scot­land’s pub­lic fi­nances would have to be re­struc­tured to sat­isfy them. Even then, a num­ber of EU na­tional gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing Spain, will be cau­tious about set­ting any prece­dents that could en­cour­age their own separatist move­ments, so would likely block our en­try.

Is the SNP po­si­tion that its ob­ses­sion with in­de­pen­dence jus­ti­fies cast­ing our­selves adrift from both the UK and the EU? Keith How­ell,

White Moss,

West Lin­ton,


PER­HAPS the no­tion of hold­ing na­tional ref­er­en­dums – on con­sid­er­a­tions such as in­de­pen­dence for Scot­land, or the UK leav­ing the EU – only “once in a gen­er­a­tion” has ro­bust merit in terms of a state re­main­ing gov­ern­able, whether or not a vo­cif­er­ous mi­nor­ity, dis­agree­ing with the re­sults, con­tinue to ag­i­tate for naïve pol­i­tics, such as a new “Peo­ple’s Vote” on, for in­stance, the con­sid­er­a­tions men­tioned above.

As I have put for­ward on this fo­rum be­fore, re-run­ning ref­er­en­dums in the hope of get­ting a re­ver­sal of pre­vi­ous re­sults that you didn’t agree with would be nev­erend­ing chaos threat­en­ing the sta­bil­ity of so­ci­ety.

There­fore, let’s give ref­er­en­dum de­ci­sions – whether you agree with them or not – ad­e­quate time to “work out”; let us re­mem­ber that our present de­gree of in­te­gra­tion with the EU has taken al­most 50 years, to “work out”; thus, ev­ery­one now sup­port­ing the UK Govern­ment’s at­tempt to work out Brexit for a gen­er­a­tion – and I voted Re­main – is the rea­son­able, adult path to take.

Philip Adams,

7Whirlie Road, Crosslee, Ren­frew­shire.

THERE are some very straight­for­ward facts to an­swer Dou­glas Cowe’s basic ques­tions on in­de­pen­dence (Let­ters, Oc­to­ber 12). ● Far from be­ing ig­nored, An­drew Will­son’s Growth Com­mis­sion was de­bated at three all-day as­sem­blies, in­volv­ing hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants, with more to come.

● The GERS “deficit” of £13 bil­lion in­cludes sev­eral items that don’t get spent in Scot­land such as a the­o­ret­i­cal £3.6bn a year for Scot­land’s “share” of in­ter­est on the UK na­tional debt or the £3.1bn charged as a pro-rata share of UK de­fence when less than half that amount is spent in Scot­land. With oil prices around $85 a bar­rel, if an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land levied taxes at the UK 2010 lev­els it would bring in £6bn a year. Com­bined, these items would al­most wipe out the GERS deficit.

● It has emerged that the No vote on 2014 was built on a tis­sue of lies and, hav­ing been taken out of the EU against our demo­cratic wishes, the SNP now holds two demo­cratic man­dates in 2016 and 2017 back­ing an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum ● Small na­tions have much greater say in EU de­ci­sion-mak­ing, and of­ten have a veto, whereas Scot­land is reg­u­larly ig­nored with­out any say on UK de­ci­sions such as the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

● Scot­land can have the same type of de­fence set-up as other small northern Euro­pean coun­tries at half the cost the UK charges Scot­land un­der the GERS fig­ures.

Eco­nom­i­cally, the UK re­mains the most un­equal coun­try in Europe whereby Lon­don sucks govern­ment in­fras­truc­ture in­vest­ment at the ex­pense of the rest of the UK. Also, Scot­land’s GDP per head is greater than France or Ger­many’s.

Mary Thomas,

Wat­son Cres­cent, Ed­in­burgh.

● Have your say:

The Ed­i­tor, The Her­ald, 200 Ren­field Street, Glas­gow G2 3QB; e-mail: let­ters@the­

THE SNP con­fer­ence re­minded me of the kind of re­li­gious gather­ing where bearded men in weird cloth­ing roar sup­port for such un­likely things as “end global warm­ing, poverty, abortion, etc, now” or in this case, “in­de­pen­dence, now”.

There was even the same com­pet­i­tive moral tone. Ni­cola Stur­geon com­pared the “mired-in­lies” Brexit cam­paign with the 2014 in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum where she and Alex Sal­mond had been “con­sis­tently straight with Scot­land’s vot­ers”. I know re­li­gious slo­gans should not be treated as ra­tio­nal state­ments but there are lim­its: the White Pa­per and oil pro­jec­tions were so pre­pos­ter­ous we were only spared eco­nomic ruin by the fact that the pair de­ci­sively lost the in­de­pen­dence vote.

Rev Dr John Cameron,

10 Howard Place, St An­drews.

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