This week’s letters - 26th february 2014

independence

Scotland will be accepted

I write in reply to Struan Stevenson, Conservative MEP, who, from the comfort and luxury of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, resorts to the usual scaremongering we have come to expect from the Pro-Unionist side on the Scottish Referendum debate. Struan Stevenson quotes Jose Manuel Barosso, president of the European Commission, who asserts an independent Scotland would not be welcome as a member of the European Union. When Scotland votes yes on the 18th of September and becomes independent in May 2016, the other 28 members of the European Union will do what they always do and fudge the issue in order to welcome an existing member.

Scotland fulfils all of the criteria to be accepted into the EU. We have been part of the EU for 40 years and all of our laws are compliant with EU regulations. Why on earth would the EU want to exclude an independent Scotland which owns huge oil and gas reserves and has tremendous renewable energy potential?

The Norwegians have used their oil resource to transform their country, building up a massive £450 billion oil fund reserve while successive UK governments, both Conservative and Labour, have squandered Scotland’s oil wealth and built up a debt of £1.3 trillion. Scotland has the largest area of open ocean in the EU and all the fishing rights therein, will the Spanish and French fishermen want to lose their access to our rich marine life?

Can Struan Stevenson tell the readers of the Gazette, if the UK is so wonderful, why Scotland has 20% of its children living in poverty, why 25% of the people live in fuel poverty in an energy rich nation and why there is the need for food banks in this country? The No campaign keeps on requesting what a Plan B will be for the pound. Plans B, C and D are in the white paper published by the Scottish Goverment last November. I and others are still waiting to see what plan A is from the No campaign, the unholy alliance made up of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. In the event of a no vote will it be continuing austerity measures as UK debt rises to £1.7 trillion and the loss of the Barnet Formula?

On the 18th of September 2014, between the hours of 7am and 10pm absolute sovereign power will be in the hands of the Scottish people.

They will have to decide whether to keep it and use it for their benefit, or give it away to where their minority status makes them even poorer, more vulnerable and powerless.

Councillor Alec Oattes

young people

Bill welcomed

As the Children and Young People Bill is passed by the Scottish Parliament (20th February) the impact that this will have on care leavers, some of the most vulnerable young people in our society, is immeasurable.

Currently most young people in care leave the system aged 16 or 18 and face very bleak futures due to the lack of consistent and appropriate ‘aftercare’ support they have access to. This means many of them face young lives dogged by homelessness and unemployment.

However, Scotland is set to be a world leader in the way it assists young people in care after amendments to the Bill were lodged following extensive lobbying, ensuring Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people will be able to stay in care to 21 years old as part of a ‘continuing care’ package. This Bill is a life saver, literally, for many young people in care.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition