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Theoretically, Westminster could dissolve United Kingdom

As the late Professor Sir Thomas Smith QC – one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in Scotland's history – pointed out, the Treaty of Union no longer exists (Letters, February 1 & 2).

Treaties, by definition, can only exist between legal persons who act in international law. On the creation of Great Britain as a state, the former kingdoms of England and Scotland were no longer bound by treaties between them.

This process is familiar in domestic law, where the merging of two companies quite obviously extinguishes contractual obligations between them.

The Articles of Union served a purpose framing the creation of a new kingdom. They were then spent and their provisions incorporated into law by the two Acts of Union.

These Acts remain on the statute book, albeit heavily modified and with significant parts repealed.

We need not delve so far back as the 18th century to know how Scotland would become an independent country. A clear example can be found in the Irish Free State, which became a new sovereign state by a simple Act of the UK Parliament. The UK continued to exist virtually unchanged in constitutional terms; its name was only altered several years later inserting the word "Northern" before "Ireland". The Free State applied for membership of the League of Nations, while the UK retained its own membership.

In theory the UK Parliament could dissolve the United Kingdom. Even if Scotland did opt to leave, it will not. Such a move would pointlessly call into question many of the international obligations and privileges of the continuing UK for absolutely no gain whatever.

David Gardiner,

7 Balcarres Street,

Edinburgh.

ALTHOUGH I am not a pro-independence supporter, I found the comments by Ian Mann well researched and informative (Letters February 1).

Mr Mann confirms the two distinctive nations, England and Scotland, are served by a single unified Parliament.

By way of the 1707 Treaty, Scotland's judicial and educational system and its own national church were recognised.

The advent of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 occasioned the late Donald Dewar to enthuse "I like that". This genuine pride was shared by an overwhelming number of indigenous Scots. There was no mention of casting asunder the almost 300-year-old Treaty of Union. The clear intention of both nations was to work in respect and harmony of one another, with certainly no desire for either to secede from a joint union within the European Union or our joint United Nations status.

Do SNP members and Yes vote supporters really believe Scots are a subjugated people to our adjacent English neighbours? Surely, not.

Success in the arenas of industry, invention and academia nationally and internationally are testament that Scotland is a proud and proven nation. Scotland has no need for the utopian promises of some, admittedly extremely capable, political orators, in convincing us otherwise. United we stand. Divided we fall.

Allan C Steele,

22 Forres Avenue, Giffnock.

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Local government

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