Ruth Davidson accuses Nicola Sturgeon of ignoring the will of the Scottish parliament on five issues, as she is lacking a mandate as a result of being two seats short of an overall majority (Sturgeon called a hypocrite as referendum debate begins, 22 March). Donald Dewar deliberately crafted a complex electoral system with both constituency members and regional lists, which would make it difficult for one party to achieve an overall majority at Holyrood. Had Holyrood employed Westminster’s first-past-the-post system, then the SNP would have had an overall majority since 2007 – and Ruth Davidson would not have a seat. Had Westminster had the Holyrood system, there would have been only coalition governments since 2005, but David Cameron campaigned against the simpler alternative vote in 2011 on the grounds it was too complicated for the British people to understand. On both sides of the Atlantic, those who talk of “a mandate” play Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass: “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
• Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP conference: “Let me issue this open invitation today: come and join us. Come here to live, work, invest or study. Come to Scotland – and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country.” Anyone attracted by this needs to know the reality. People currently moving from the UK or Ireland to Scotland are given full citizenship rights immediately. But under SNP proposals set out in its Independence white paper (November 2013), those coming over after independence would have to live here for 10 years and demonstrate a “continuing connection” before they would be allowed to apply for citizenship, unless they have a Scottish parent or grandparent. The SNP is fond of saying Scotland should be run by those who live and work here, but about 10% of the population were born in the rest of the UK or Ireland. Independence would mean that if inward migration continues, a substantial proportion of those living here would effectively be second-class citizens.
• I noted with interest that the OECD’s warning that Britain is at risk of corruption after Brexit (Report, 24 March) appeared next to an advert promoting “the easy way to send money overseas”. Lest anyone be in doubt, single market member or WTO rules, money makes the world go round.
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