Lindsay Craik (Letters, January 7) is trying to compare this country to Norway but I fear he is ignoring some pertinent statistics and facts. Firstly, Norway has been independent for more than 116 years. Secondly, Norway is continuing to export and use oil and gas and will continue to do so, unlike the SNP/Green Alliance. Scandinavia also manufactures rather more than we do as the present government here has done little or nothing to ensure the survival of what is left of a proud manufacturing base. We now rely on imports from countries which pay only lip service to pollution and the creation of CO2. Norway’s pension rates are higher but so is their tax and the cost of living. Tax on income (including social security and health) is at a rate of about 32%. The cost of a pint of beer is the equivalent of £6, a bottle of whisky is about £32, a bottle of wine £12, 21b of potatoes is £1.80 and enough bread for two people for a day is £2.15. Petrol costs about £1.53 a litre and VAT is at 25%. If Scotland became independent soon, where would all the money come from to pay the level of pension of which Mr Craik dreams? A nice dream but totally unrealistic given the fact we would no longer receive vast sums of money from the government of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and I do not believe the EU would come to our rescue in any great haste. John D Ridley. Spoutwells Drive, Scone.