MUST we forever be bombarded with the stupid assertion that Scottish nationalism or Scottish independence is “divisive” and sure to lead to the break-up of the UK when it’s arrogance, ill-will and sheer greed that destroys unions, whether of individuals or nations.

Seeking to undermine self-esteem, self-confidence, culture and self-pride, that’s what causes contempt and divisiveness.

If the UK was composed of four independent, sovereign countries they could still weep together, laugh together, buy and sell together and protect each other from all common enemies.

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Instead, we are constantly assailed with the fallacy that unity can only be maintained if the largest of the four UK countries rules the other three and “legally” filches their wealth and prosperity. What a monumentally stupid assertion!
William Gilbertson


Dig deeper and Norway’s model has many flaws

I WAS very disappointed that two “Scandinavian experts” – Dr John Skatun and Ruairidh Tarvet (Norway can give us inspiration for a future Scotland, The National, April 3) – did not provide the full information about Norway’s membership of EFTA and the EEA.

Despite never being a member of the EU, Norway is forced to pay £740 million per year for its so-called free trade and access. (Although at least Norway is allowed to decide on and knows what its money is spent on – mostly Poland – unlike other EU member states which have no such control).

Meanwhile, Switzerland pays £0 in contributions but is still allowed to trade with Europe from Europe’s centre. Norway’s contribution is equivalent to the UK’s on a per capita basis, yet they have no say in any of the decision-making.

A Norwegian MP has already warned the UK against the Norwegian model, so I am very surprised to see the SNP supporting it.

When the Swiss voted not to join the EU, their government was bound to abide by its people’s decision and took Switzerland straight out of the EEA, something that Norway did not do, despite Norwegians voting twice not to be ruled from Brussels. Norway also pays several million kroner to Nato for, among other things, helping Jordanian women to join the armed forces and leading Nato’s intervention in Georgia, right on Russia’s border, to ensure that Georgia buys US and EU weapons and not Russian ones.

Having lived in Norway for 10 years (and in Finland for nearly three – and speaking both Norwegian and Swedish), I know that most Norwegians are extremely unhappy (furious, in fact) about their forced contributions to the EU.

Having married and divorced a Norwegian, I am also still waiting, seven years after the divorce, for settlement. My Norwegian ex-husband has flatly refused to discuss his finances or a divorce settlement with me, despite this being required by Norwegian law. If you dig a little below the polished gloss, Norway is not quite what it seems, even when you speak the language – as I did.

Also, there was no mention of the fact many Scandinavian banks are now run from Luxembourg – courtesy of the Rothschild/Rockefeller-controlled JP Morgan-Chase. Eighty per cent of Norway’s oil fund is (or at least was in 2007/08) “managed” by about 30 different, mainly US, investment fund management “consultants”, one of the real reasons why the fund has only been dipped into once for the benefit of Norwegians.

This money has been invested in US, not Norwegian, firms, another severe blow and disappointment to the Norwegian people, who in many towns have to put up with schools and roads in extremely poor condition, despite being one of Europe’s richest countries.

Of course, Scotland cannot hope to mirror Scandinavian successes until it has control of its land register. It is an absolute disgrace that no-one knows who owns much of Scotland’s land area, with owners hiding behind inpenetrable offshore shelf companies, something that as far as I am aware, is not possible in the Scandinavian countries.

If wealthy Norwegians want to hide their wealth, as happens to such an astonishing extent here in Britain, then they have to move to Britain, which some of them have done.
Sarah Hale

THIS is prompted by, but not limited to, the ramblings of Mr Henry McLeish (The trouble with UK federalism would be overcoming the absolute sovereignty of Westminster, The National, April 4).

I understand the temptation to go for a name but why are former politicians given so much coverage over and above the average punter letter-writer?

I worked for BT for 36 years. No-one has asked me for my advice or opinions on how the company is presently being run or the direction it’s taking and I’m sure if I proffered it, it would be lost in the pending file.

Sadly the press seem to believe ex-politicians have some deeper understanding of our current predicament.

I would refer you to the practice of referring to Gordy Broon as a “big beast”. He’s a 66-year-old who used to have a very responsible job which according to many observers, he made a hash of.

He (like Henry) is now just a punter, even if some people with more money than sense want to part with obscene amounts of cash to listen to his pearls of wisdom, a la Tony Bliar.

Nobody with a modicum of sense gives more credence to their opinions than anyone else’s.

It’s not only what is said, but who is saying it and why.
Barry Stewart

AN interesting essay by Henry McLeish but it all seems a bit academic. His suggestions for a federal UK start from an underlying premise that governments are there for the benefit of the country. In the case of the estate of Westminster, the reality is arguably the other way round.

Peter Gorrie Edinburgh THE very latest warning of further cuts, this time to our Royal Marines, underlines the true fiasco of the claims of our Government that we are a leading world military power, and the hollow boast of Grandee Michael Howard.

However, the UK does have Trident, which will perhaps frighten the senors into leaving Gibraltar alone. Independence from this incompetent Westminster becomes daily more attractive and realistic.
John Hamilton