LETTER: Scottish situation calls for sensitivity

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I sympathise with Caroline Ansell (Herald, March 17) in her dismay at the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum.

The potential break up of the United Kingdom would threaten further instability and uncertainty to compound that which already exists following the Brexit vote.

I believe,however, that Mrs Ansell owes her narrow victory over her Liberal Democrat opponent in the 2015 General Election to the scare tactics employed at the time by Conservative Central Office in highlighting the possibility of the election of a minority Labour government which might have had to rely on the support of the Scottish National party to remain in power.

I felt at the time that a far greater danger to the unity of our country lay in the Conservative promise of an in/out referendum on EU membership which would only become a reality in the event of an outright Conservative victory.

The danger stemmed from the strong possibility that the UK electorate as a whole would vote to leave the EU, whereas Scotland would vote to remain.

Now that this has happened it is hardly surprising that Scotland does not wish to be dragged out of the EU when its population has voted overwhelmingly to remain.

The situation calls for sensitivity by Mrs May and her government in its dealings with Scotland’s First Minister, whose powerful argument that we should seek to remain within the Single Market should not be brushed aside.

Unfortunately Mrs May has so far adopted a tone reminiscent of a headmistress giving a disruptive pupil a dressing down rather than treating Nicola Sturgeon as a partner in the forthcoming negotiations.

If Scotland continues to be shown the scant respect that it has been given until now Mrs May will have herself to blame if,following a second referendum, it decides to break away from the union which, as Mrs Ansell has reminded us, has lasted for more than 300 years.

John Carmody. Royal Parade.