Labour backing indyref2 would be catastrophic for Scottish politics

Scottish independence supporters at an indyRef2 rally in George Square, Glasgow, November: Getty

If Labour Party members elect Rebecca Long-Bailey as their UK leader, they will fail to recognise that British society has moved on from the 1970s; that for many, aspiration has replaced class warfare. Such radical idealism would guarantee Tory success in the 2024 general election.

If Labour MSPs in Holyrood back the notion of indyref2 on the SNP’s timetable, they guarantee the Tories will remain the principal opposition party after the 2021 election. Their aim to attract voters by differentiating themselves from Boris Johnson’s “anti-neverendum” position will surely backfire. Scottish pro-independence voters will invariably back the real thing, the SNP, not a shillyshallying Labour Party.

As someone who in December voted for Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray, this saddens me – I hope Labour can once more identify itself as a centre-left, unequivocally pro-UK party. If not, pro-UK Scots may well have just one major party to support in next year’s Holyrood election.

Martin Redfern
Edinburgh

Alternative facts

Maintaining the fiction that she will have her referendum in 2020, Nicola Sturgeon tasks Scottish civil servants with devising a prospectus – or wish list – for such an event. This is a partisan political project for which state resources are being improperly used. Further, Derek Mackay is to produce alternative Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) figures, to show Scotland’s prospects outside the UK in a rosy light, which seems bizarre, given that it is Scottish government statisticians who compile the Gers.

Beyond that, we have the farce of The National newspaper engaging in “fact-checking” of pro-union claims. That a nationalist propaganda sheet should have pretensions to check facts, and to do so using contributors who will remain anonymous, stretches the bounds of credibility beyond reason.

All of this, and the attendance of SNP MPs at so-called “marches”, gives an impression of activism and optimism. It is geared particularly to trying to persuade doubters both in Scotland and elsewhere that the separatist cause is flourishing and is on the cusp of victory. The more sober among us can see that it is simply displacement activity, an attempt to project a sense of dynamism and majority support which is illusory.

Jill Stephenson
Edinburgh

As we approach 31 January with sinking resignation, our politicians seek to celebrate with the minting of a new coin that carefully reminds them of what we are giving up: “Peace, Prosperity and Friendship.”

I for one, will be refusing to accept these coins as politely as possible – they are a symbol of folly and hubris.

Laura Dawson
Harpenden, Hertfordshire

I would like to remind readers that, under the 1971 Coinage Act, it is an offence to break or melt down the new celebratory Brexit coins – however, defacing then with an electric drill and a grinding attachment or engraving “Bollocks to Brexit” is not.

Patrick Cosgrove
Bucknell, Shropshire

A slower speed for HS2 is the perfect solution to the current impasse. More time to savour one’s coffee and do some work – and yet still appreciably faster than the fastest of current trains.

The sooner HS2 can get started and into service the cheaper costs will be. Outlay will also be offset by more business activity as more inward investors elect to locate in UK. Infrastructure is a business magnet in its own right. The west coast mainline would become ever more strategic as more space is freed up for the lucrative rail freight sector.

To be really successful HS2 needs to be extended to Glasgow and Edinburgh – as well as to Belfast via a north channel fixed link. Indeed the imperative of post-Brexit competitiveness and adding meaning to the United Kingdom makes such a proposition a matter of urgency.

John Barstow
Pulborough, West Sussex

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