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Even a small bit of clout would still be a step forward for Scotland

Michael Moore makes an interesting point about Scotland's lack of clout after independence ("Independent Scotland will 'lack clout'", The Herald, December 10).

I would be interested to learn about exactly what clout we have now, with two parties governing us that have been overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box by voters north of the Border?

I seem to recall a Scottish Question Time at Westminster, just before the last Holyrood election, at which Mr Moore confidently predicted a large Liberal Democrat presence in the new Scottish Parliament. The fact that his party was all but wiped out seems not to have given him pause for thought.

He might, however, give thought to two things. First, without independence Scotland is an invisible country and has absolutely no international influence at all. Whatever small bit of clout we might gain will be an improvement.

Secondly, if clout means chucking our weight about, being rude and unco-operative to our European neighbours and bombing or invading distant countries illegally, we are better off without Mr Moore's clout.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale,

Loanhead,

Midlothian.

Along with a number of other correspondents who believe Scotland will be better off by remaining part of the most successful political and economic union in history, I have received the bogus "British Patriot" letter ("Smear campaign links Better Together to far right", The Herald, December 7).

It is an obvious hoax that shows the desperation of those who are attempting to discredit the pro-Union cause through a kind of McZinoviev Letter or Protocols of the Elders of Britannia.

My reaction was to laugh from the moment I opened the letter to the moment I put it down. One day I might even read it.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road, Glasgow.

Ian Bell is right to challenge Jose Manuel Barroso likening Scotland to Catalonia when the business of EU membership is being discussed ("The EU's unprecedented case of legal obfuscation", The Herald, December 8). Can someone explain, should the UK cease to exist, why is Scotland the only new nation requiring special recognition? Won't England be just as new?

We also need to be told, in unambiguous terms, what happens to existing treaties, written in the name of the United Kingdom as a whole (ie England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) in the event Scotland votes for independence. Most of us have some experience of legal documents where the slightest alteration or omission can render the whole thing worthless, requiring lengthy and expensive attention.

Ian Bell talks about the need to split hairs when it comes to discussing the UK's membership of the EU. Won't the same argument apply to other bodies such as the United Nations?

It is difficult to imagine the US relishing the idea of losing the support of its strongest ally on the Security Council. And, when push comes to shove, real politic suggests England can expect to be viewed differently. That doesn't mean a number of countries aren't already studying the small print of all those treaties affecting the UK which will need to be re-written – and agreed – before a lengthy period of diplomatic turmoil can be settled.

And long before that happens, we will need to know who speaks for England? Without a parliament to decide, that could be no less tricky.

Russell Galbraith, 73 Norwood Park, Bearsden.

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Local government

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