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EU is not a state and cannot have its own citizens

IT is surprising to find Professor Neil Walker, holder of the regius chair in public law and the law of nature and nations at Edinburgh University, apparently supporting the Yes campaign's contention that our EU citizenship in some way guarantees continued membership of the EU if Scotland secedes from the UK ("Salmond is accused of a 'lack of candour'", The Herald, November 7).

Scotland is not and never has been a member of the EEC/EU and therefore cannot continue in such a capacity. When the UK joined the former in 1972 at Brussels' request, Scotland became and remains a region. There is neither precedent nor provision in any treaty for automatic transference of status from EU region to member state.

When Prof Walker blogged that it seemed "quite wrong" for Scots, as existing citizens of the EU, to have this citizenship removed because they voted to leave the UK, he was presumably aware of the recent exchange of letters on the subject in the House of Lords. In response to inquiries from independent Labour peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon, Lord Henley, Home Office Minister, replied to the effect that we are citizens of the EU only by virtue of our state's membership of that organisation. The EU, which is not recognised as a sovereign state, cannot have citizens in its own right. Our citizenship of the EU would therefore lapse on separation from the UK unless Scotland instantly became a member state, an eventuality apparently dismissed by the president of the European Council and both the President and Vice-President of the European Commission.

The SNP's repudiation of such authorities is a revealing indication of the probity of the Yes campaign.

Mary Rolls,

1 Carlesgill Cottage, Westerkirk, Langholm, Dumfries.

AS someone who used to vote Liberal Democrat regularly, I must now agree with every word of Ian Bayne's letter (November 9). Perhaps the LibDems should hire John Cleese to advise them how to recognise the ultimate condition of deadness, because the federal Britain horse they are still flogging is now deceased, it is extinct, it is no more, it has gone to the great political graveyard.

The LibDem idea of a federal UK with six or seven English regions, perhaps super-region status for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and of course supreme status for London and the South-east, has no credibility left. Even the North-east of England, which justifiably harbours most grievances about its neglect by the distant metropolitan elite, rejected John Prescott's referendum offering limited federal status.

But still the LibDems present their concept of federalism as home rule. Any logical person would regard that as synonymous with independence, yet this is fiercely opposed by the current leadership of the party. As Ian Bayne points out, their misguided policies and stances in recent years at both Holyrood and Westminster will not be forgotten or forgiven by the electorate, and they will suffer the full consequences at the 2015 and 2016 elections.

It is sad that the party of such distinguished and respected political figures as Paddy Ashdown, David Steel, Menzies Campbell and Shirley Williams should have fallen so low in public esteem. But they have no-one to blame but themselves.

Iain A D Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

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Local government

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