WHILE some people think the Barnett Formula doesn’t work and call for it to be scrapped, they are not really understanding what is involved. All that would happen would be that some new-fangled formula would replace it. So back to square one!

Any replacement would still have to deal with exactly the same issues around how we divvy up the UK tax revenue amongst the devolved administrations, and this starts with and is based around relative populations. It isn’t the formula itself that needs to be scrapped; rather it needs to be adjusted around prevailing circumstances. It would still, however, be based around what the incumbent Westminster government decides should be spent and how the tax revenue is collected to pay for it. Which is a different matter entirely. 

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Replacing the Barnett arrangement would be change for change’s sake unless there is some hitherto unknown and unused mechanism that benefits us all. The mechanism to ensure that all the devolved administrations get equable benefit from Barnett consequentials may well be worth updating, but that is not a justification for starting all over again.

Perhaps the best solution would be to allow the home nations to have full fiscal powers and decide for themselves what they taxed and spent. Where have we heard that novel idea before?

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

ALAN Crocket makes some good points in Wednesday’s National (Letters, Jan 17). The main thrust of his argument is valid.

The decision as to whether or not Scotland becomes an independent country is one for the people in Scotland, and not one for anyone else. The stupid idea that the result of the election in Scotland can give Scotland the right to “negotiate” our independence is utter nonsense.

Scotland can’t “negotiate” for its independence, because Scotland’s right to independence is not held by an individual or any state, it is entirely a sovereign decision of the sovereign Scottish people acknowledged by the UN Charter.

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Neither the SNP nor any other party can give Scotland its independence, only the people can take their independence, and they can do it best through a Constitutional Convention.

There is no doubt that if Scotland took steps to take full political and economic independence, then negotiations with our neighbours in England, Wales and Ireland would be useful and important on matters such as business and trade, but that should present no great problem.

Indeed, if at some stage such a Convention was established and used to initiate steps towards Scotland’s economic independence, we would not need to go looking for people in the UK Government to negotiate with, on the contrary they would be up in Edinburgh anxious to negotiate with our government.

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Why do I say that? Well, England has a massive international trade deficit and Scotland does not. If world traders thought that there was a possibility that Scotland was coming out of the UK and out of Sterling, there would be a run on Sterling much worse that the Liz Truss incident, and the UK Government would be keen to get an understanding with the Scottish Government as quickly as possible. Yes, I’m sure the Scottish Government would not find the UK Government difficult to find or to negotiate with in such circumstances.

Andy Anderson

BALDRICK, I have a cunning plan! We will install a Horizon accounting system in the Treasury, then at the end of each day the government cash will grow exponentially (a big word, Baldrick, meaning dead fast) so much so that the system which caused the problem will pay all the posties for the grief caused. It will also allow England to support itself and not rely on Scotland to subsidise our green and pleasant land.

M Ross

WHAT is interesting about the Post Office scandal is the apparent lack of compensating errors in the Fujitsu system. It seems that there were never any unexplained surpluses in Post Office accounts at the end of the day, only shortfalls. That in itself should have been questioned by the Post Office and by Fujitsu. As any accountant knows, errors over a period– however caused – are plus as well as minus.

Malcolm Parkin

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I WRITE in response to Jim Todd’s letter of January 7, suggesting that, following controversy over the recent Rangers/Celtic match, the SFA employ English referees for all Scottish Premier League matches to ensure – my words – impartiality and competence.

I would respond by suggesting that most Scottish clubs, already living hand to mouth, would not be keen on that suggestion on the basis of cost, but would be more than happy to have competent and impartial referees for all matches involving the “Old Firm”.

Les Mackay