MARGARET Curran asserts that devolution allows us to have two national identities, Scottish and British, which begs the question: what did we have before devolution (Letters, June 12)?
She asserts that Nationalists are trying to "sanitise separation to the point of offending nobody". She says most Scots are cannier than that. Indeed they are. Of course many things will change after independence. There wouldn't be much point to this debate otherwise. While the Yes campaign has to explain what those changes will be and how they will benefit Scotland, it is right that it should also emphasise those things that will remain the same.
The soft soap actually comes from the Unionists and a prime example is trotted out by Ms Curran: "Britain is not the geographic island we all live on, but the partnership that Scotland, Wales and England have built together over centuries." The process that led to the United Kingdom and the British Empire was the result of a large powerful country beating its neighbours into submission with a generous dose of bribery and corruption thrown in. Even if you accept the partnership analogy then you have to also accept that partnerships don't last forever and if one partner wants to dissolve the partnership that is their prerogative.
Labour leader Ed Miliband's threat about Scots no longer being British in the event of independence perhaps strikes more fear into Scottish Labour hearts at Westminster than it worries the rest of us. All Labour's big beasts reside there. Ms Curran's words would carry more weight at this historic juncture if she had decided to fight her corner in the Scottish Parliament rather than decant to Westminster.
THE dissonance between Scottish Labour and the SNP on the issue of Scottish independence is the most regrettable aspect of the present debate. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont seems to think that Scotland has never been in a "colonial" position within the Union. But union was forced on Scotland (not least by threats of invasion) as it was on Ireland later, in 1801.
Labour leaders in Scotland such as Keir Hardie and John Maxton, and the Independent Labour Party in particular, recognised Scotland's right to secede. The ILP repeatedly called for Scotland to enjoy Dominion status within the-then Empire, now the Commonwealth. Ms Lamont is therefore wrong to say Scotland did not have colonial status like New Zealand (or Ireland).
To be true to its history, Scottish Labour should call for full powers to be restored to the Scottish Parliament within a new British Confederation and the Commonwealth. Most Labour voters would support this. It would enable the referendum on independence to be won decisively. Scottish Labour should repudiate Ed Miliband's diktat on the referendum ("Scots will not be British on exit from UK", the Herald, June 8).
MARIO Vargas Llosa's comments ("Nationalism has produced the most brutal and cruel wars in history," Herald Arts, June 9) have certainly enlivened the debate on nationalism. It is, however, rather ironic that a Peruvian expatriate should raise this issue and correctly criticise it but most of the countries in the modern world, including Peru, had to instigate a bloody revolution to obtain their present independence and freedom.
Doug Maughan is correct in saying that there is probably more sharing of identity between the inhabitants of the Scottish Borders and of Cumbria than there is for either group with the inhabitants of Shetland or London (Letters, June 12), but this has nothing to do with independence. An independent Scotland would not close the Scottish-English border.
Ian F M Saint-Yves,
Dunvegan, School Brae, Whiting Bay, Isle Of Arran.
GOOD for Margo MacDonald for offering to work as an "honest broker" as differences between MSPs naturally occur in these very important times ("MacDonald 'not leaving campaign'", The Herald, June 12). I am beginning to be irritated by the way the debate on independence has been drawn into superficial territory with some leading politicians and celebrities airing their fears. The desire for autonomous governance has nothing to do with feeling Scottish, or British. Rather, it is an expression of a judgment that the time has come for Scotland to handle its own affairs.
How we do that will be seen once more details about the facts and figures emerge. I hope Ms MacDonald can also chivvy the MSPs along in her usual forthright way.
1 Cedar Avenue,
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.