RICHARD Mowbray's theory that the Prime Minister's promise of a referendum on the UK leaving the EU after the next General Election will be a problem for the SNP and others favouring Scottish independence is the opposite of the reality (Letters, January 15).

The Unionist No campaign has been claiming that if Scotland goes independent it might have to apply for EU membership. If the majority in the UK might vote in a referendum to leave the EU though, something which opinion polls show is a serious possibility, then staying part of the UK guarantees Scots won't be able to stay part of the EU, while independence would be left as the only option for those wanting a chance of Scotland remaining in the EU.

So if David Cameron's promise of a referendum on EU membership has any effect at all on the Scottish independence referendum it's likely to be to increase the number of Scots voting Yes to independence. This will be more of a headache for the Scottish Labour party than for the SNP.

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It's unlikely Mr Cameron will be re-elected to hold a referendum on EU membership anyway though, as one likely effect of the rising anti-EU sentiment in England will be UKIP taking enough votes from the Conservatives to lose them many seats, without many UKIP MPs being elected, due to the first past the post election system. If this happens Labour will win by a landslide.

Duncan McFarlane,




RICHARD Mowbray appears to believe that distrust of European people and institutions is as rife in Scotland as it is in the Westminster bubble while Tom Shields articulates what I believe is the attitude of most thinking Scots; that we are not inherently superior to our partners and friends on the continent and that it is to our advantage to have a healthy and relaxed relationship with them ("Tom Shields on... better together", The Herald, January 15).

To claim that our current status in the United Kingdom has worked for 300 years flies in the face of the facts. All around we see growing inequality, greater injustice, and we are obliged to follow the diktats of a political philosophy that we have rejected time and time again and that simply doesn't work. We are also obliged to play host to nuclear weapons we don't want and which are deemed far too dangerous to place anywhere in the vicinity of London.

Since devolution, Scotland has worked better than the UK as a whole because Scottish governments, of whichever political hue, have been able to put in place policies more suited to the Scottish condition and psyche in spite of having to work on a fixed grant. After independence is gained, this will be even more true.

I have never heard or seen the SNP promise that, after a successful outcome in the referendum, all our problems will vanish. What it has said, and what I firmly believe, is that when we control our own destiny we will be better able to solve our own problems in our own way.

David C Purdie,

12 Mayburn Vale, Loanhead.