IT is understandable that the Scottish Government has published its fantasy timetable for the process of separation from the UK, and it will no doubt comfort its supporters who are depressed by the continued unpopularity of the independence cause ("SNP unveils timetable for transition to independence", The Herald, February 6).
At the same time, the timetable is illustrative of the massive gulf in philosophies between Nationalists and those of us who have wider perspectives.
If the plans set out in the paper were to come to fruition, the result could be the withdrawal of Scottish MPs from Westminster in March 2016, some 10 months after the UK General Election. It currently looks like Labour will win that election, but probably with a majority that will depend on its contingent of Scottish MPs. In other words, if Labour forms an administration, it would be put out of office within a year; that is, before there was time to take steps to repair the immense damage which the Coalition Government is inflicting on the poorest, the most vulnerable and Britain's most deprived communities.
In 2016, there would be no doubt that the Nationalists' timetable would lead to Scots abandoning their English, Welsh and Northern Irish neighbours to the mercy of an equally destructive and out-of-touch bunch of Tories, led by David Cameron or someone even worse.
I am certain anyone who believes that most problems in the UK are economic and social rather than constitutional would not wish to bring about this outcome, and would vote No in the referendum. My Labour Party membership card says: "We achieve more together than we achieve alone."
To reject the Nationalist agenda, you do not have to agree with this. "Love they neighbour as thyself" will do just as well.
Peter A Russell,
87 Munro Road,
RUSSELL Vallance would be well advised to consult the text of the Act of Union of 1707 before venturing to state that the title United Kingdom was not introduced until the 1801 Act of Union with Ireland (Letters, February 5).
Article I of the 1707 Treaty provides for the union of the two kingdoms of England and Scotland into one kingdom of Great Britain and the creation of the "ensigns armorial of the said United Kingdom". Article II refers to the succession to the monarchy of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain"; Article III to the representation of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain". By Article VI trade is regulated in "all parts of the United Kingdom" and the term "United Kingdom" is used thereafter throughout the treaty to describe the new political entity.
The treaty even refers in Article IX to "that part of the United Kingdom now called England" and "that part of the United Kingdom now called Scotland". It is difficult therefore to see why a term accepted and established and enacted in 1707 should now be called in question. The ending of the Union is to be equated with the dissolution of the United Kingdom, as Iain A D Mann has argued (Letters, January 30).
Moreover, the assertion that the situation faced by the Irish negotiators in 1921 was exactly the issue as the one with which Scotland and England now have to deal is incorrect. In December 1921, a new state, the Irish Free State, was created against a background of violence and physical confrontation. It was not an independent state. As Michael Collins said in his address to the Dail, the reluctant agreement by the Irish delegation to accept Dominion status within the British Empire was because it gave "not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it". Ireland did achieve that freedom, but not until 1949.
In the event of a Yes vote for Scottish independence, the UK Parliament will expedite the process of ending the United Kingdom as constituted in the Treaty of 1707. It will do so because, unlike our forebears who created the Union, we belong to a democratic society and we will have expressed the democratic choice of the Scottish people. It is as straightforward as that.
Dr Elsa Hamilton,
79 Finlay Rise, Milngavie.
THE Rev John Harris complains that at Twickenham last Saturday the home crowd sang God Save The Queen as if it were the English national anthem (Letters, February 6). If he had attended Scottish rugby internationals at Murrayfield in the 1950s and 60s he would have heard the British national anthem before all matches. Against France, for example, the Marseillaise was played, followed by God Save The Queen. Against England only God Save The Queen was played for the two competing countries. For some reason best known to ourselves, however, we began to boo the National Anthem at Murrayfield and to a greater extent at Hampden. That caused us to introduce Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland to give us a greater sense of our Scottish identity but also to try to eliminate the embarrassment brought about by the booing.
I am a fiercely proud Scot and there are instances where English people show arrogance. However, to complain that the hearty singing of God Save the Queen at Twickenham was arrogant is taking things a bit too far.
27 Randolph Road, Stirling.