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29 January 2013

33Too wee, too poor,
too stupid: George
Robertson's Scotland

And there was me thinking that unionists hated the word 'independence' and all its nice, positive, grown-up connotations. But I can understand how they might prefer 'separatism'. Well, who would want to be separate, isolated, out on your own? It's a nicely pejorative word, especially when you want to talk about the breaking of social bonds.

Lord Robertson (17 January) goes on (and on) about all the difficulties that our wee country might face with independence, sorry 'separatism', like getting a driving licence. Goodness, that will be well beyond our capabilities won't it? Even taking into account the fact we own our fair share of the DVLC. You know, like we own our fair share of all the embassies, the Bank of England, etc, etc…

No, our isolated, lonely and friendless little nation would be best not to get above its station in life. All those thousands of written relationships gone for a Burton; oh, not just relationships but written relationships. Is the good Lord even suggesting penmanship is beyond our grasp?

Lord Robertson talks about votes and percentages and tries to imply a lack of political legitimacy. But on lower voting percentages Thatcher ripped out our industrial heart and Blair took us into an illegal war. But I suppose that doesn't count because that was the grown-ups in Westminster.

He complains that the SNP Government obsesses about independence while ignoring all other aspects of government. Yet the Scottish Government has incredibly high approval ratings. He says we can't afford free prescriptions or bus passes but ignores the cost of the big boys' toys like Trident – maybe the former head honcho at NATO thinks that we shouldn't have to worry our pretty little heads about such matters. It's all there – we are too wee, too poor and too stupid. But even previously ardent unionists are being driven into the 'Yes' camp by the 'No' campaign's vacuous and stultifying negativity. Maybe I shouldn't complain and simply let them do the 'Yes' campaign's work for them.

John McDonald


George Robertson wonders why his two friends 'told me that they support an independent Scottish state with all that goes with that, but they do not believe in separatism. How come?'. While I wouldn't presume to speak for Lord Robertson's friends, I suspect it will be because these friends believe in independence.

Perhaps, as secretary general of NATO, Mr Robertson noticed that the Americans celebrate an Independence Day rather than a Separatism Day, and that a great many other countries also value independence highly. The 'Yes' campaign supports independence so that we may take responsibility for ourselves and participate constructively in an interdependent world. If that's separatism then anyone supporting the existence of any state, Lord Robertson's UK included, is by definition a separatist.

Many decent people in both the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns hold quite similar social democratic values. The debate is about which constitutional structure will best enable them. Bitter diatribes about 'separatism' bring nothing to the discussion. They simply discredit Lord Robertson's perfectly legitimate point of view.

John Macintyre

1Perhaps I could enlighten George Robertson as to why the word 'separatist' is disliked by so many Scots. It possibly stems from the use of the word by his collegues in the House of Commons, Labour and Tory, as a derogatory term. In much the same way as the Scottish Government was referred to as the Scottish Administration. Remember, George, we Scots can see an insult or a 'put down' better then anyone.

J M Boyle

1It may be more interesting to postulate 'what would the debate be if Scotland were independent and a union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland were proposed?'. What would George Robertson and the unionists suggest was attractive from the recent record of the UK? Peace? Wealth for all? The economy? Reduction in class division? Proliferation of nuclear weapons? What is the unique selling point of the union that would compel us to apply for membership?

Could it be that George Robertson and his fellow conservatives like the separation that the UK brings through the protection of the elite and the abandonment of the poor? Maybe that is the USP for UK plc – stay loyal, don't rock the nuclear subs and support the continued divisions in our country and you may, just may, be one of the few we eventually reward.

George Robertson is the epitome of what many of us want to progress from, a politician whose loyalty to party and state was rightly rewarded by high office, a massive pension and personal ennoblement as his people became more unemployable, unhealthier, and unwealthier to protect the real engine and cockpit of the UK, the City of London.

Paul Cochrane

1George Robertson states in his recent article that 'the royal baby will still be king or queen of Scotland', despite the fact that the Scottish people did not come up the Clyde on a bike…or any other Scottish river. Under the unwritten constitution of the UK and the long Scottish tradition, the monarch is more correctly known as the king or queen of Scots, not king or queen of Scotland. Thus, since gender is being excluded from the line of succession, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will eventually, all things being equal, become the king or queen of Scots.

Bob Milne

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