MY support for Scottish independence has always be about much more than the economic issues that often dominate the debate. However if there is to be any chance of a Yes vote in a second referendum then there are undoubtedly significant economic concerns that need to be addressed, particularly regarding the size of the public deficit and on the issue of currency. But perhaps the biggest economic concern is about our future trading relationship with Europe, as an independent Scotland outside of Europe would in my view be an economic disaster, and without sufficiently addressing this issue I don't think the Yes campaign can win. While I support the EU and ideally wish that Britain had voted to remain, it would now appear to me that the best approach for an independent Scotland would be to join the European Economic Area (EEA), but not the EU, like Iceland and Norway. Scotland would remain inside the European single market, with access to free trade and free movement of people which are both massively beneficial for the Scottish economy. But we would also be able to make our own trade deals with non-EU countries, most crucially with the rump UK. Joining the EEA would probably be quicker and easier than the EU and could avoid the issue of Spain potentially using its veto. There would also be fewer financial burdens than full EU membership, we wouldn't have to join the euro, and we wouldn't have to adhere to the Common Fisheries Policy - a reason why many voted to leave in the north of Scotland. And although 62 per cent of people in Scotland voted remain, the recent annual Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (“Expert tells First Minister she is likely to succeed if she bides time”, The Herald, March 15) revealed that Scotland is not quite as pro-EU as last year's binary vote suggested.

Nevertheless, a drawback of being in the EEA whilst outside the EU is that Scotland would be required to adopt EU legislation on areas such social policy, consumer protection and corporate law without having any representation in the European Parliament or on the European Council. I am sure opponents of independence would seize upon this to contend that the “sovereignty” case for independence is completely contradictory. However, by leaving the UK we would be gaining powers from Westminster over fiscal policy, welfare, foreign affairs, defence and constitutional affairs. These are in my view much greater powers, which would enable Scotland to determine its own future as independent and sovereign nation.

David Smith,

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104 Nether Auldhouse Road, Glasgow.

GIVEN the complexity of the issues facing the United Kingdom and the SNP support for independence, is it not the time to hold another General Election?

The referendum method is too clumsy and crude to allow for intelligent debate and can only ever leave one or both parties dissatisfied. Theresa ay should call the election immediately and let all parties include in each manifesto their position on the Brexit negotiations; the future of the Union and all other facets, such as currency, economy education and health.

The electorate have sufficient information to make a choice.

Gerry Marshall,

Thistle Cottage, Main Street, Kinnesswood.

IAN Arnold (letters, March 16) makes some errors of reference relating to Scottish history. He says that in 1707 the two parliaments (Scotland and England) “merged". No such merger (union) ever took place.

The separate Parliaments of England and Scotland were by mutual agreement placed in abeyance ad interim in the Treaty of Union and a completely new Parliament was established which we now refer to as "Westminster". In other words, the national parliaments of Scotland and England were merely adjourned in 1707. Scotland's parliament was recalled in recent years, leaving England's parliament still in abeyance (adjourned). It is this unique constitutional situation which gives Scotland the right of independence or if you like a right to call a referendum on the issue without reference to Westminster.

John J G McGill,

25. Wallace View, Riccarton, Kilmarnock.

I EXPECT that the challenge many UK Unionists like myself have is understanding the destabilising mindset of separatists like the First Minister

I feel that this whole issue of continuing to believe in independence as a panacea is generated in Yes voters’ imaginations by an unjustifiable and sad sense of inferiority by being physically joined to a larger nation.

That particular complex will only become pathological if Scotland was independent: England would not go away and would still be big. Scotland should have learned by now to be more adult about this fact-of-life instead of fantasising about having our own army and navy and so forth. The SNP have convincingly made independence the problem; not the solution. After a second referendum fails how do we know they will not demand a third?

This madness of quest for a second referendum appears to me to be an anxiety verging on hysteria, regarding our place in the Union and hence literally our international role within the union of nations which is the UK. The inexplicable SNP love of rule from Brussels which has emerged illustrates I believe, an indigenous political fear of national intimacy within the UK and hence the view that the continent of Europe is far enough away to be purely a platonic political relationship.

The SNP and its followers must learn to stop being frightened of closeness, at every level, within the UK. Supporters of splitting up from the UK seem to me to behave in similar way to a child who has not bonded in its infancy.

The United Kingdom is currently sailing through a very stormy Brexit ocean. This is no time for the SNP to rock the boat.

Bill Brown,

46 Breadie Drive,

Milngavie

THE United Kingdom has been a hugely successful country and the envy of many. The country has been strong socially, economically and militarily with the ability as a united country to cope with everything that has been thrown at it and there has been much thrown at it. There is more need now than ever to maintain very strong unity going forward. With Donald Tump on one side, Vladimir Putin on the other and Europe about to implode, this is no time for Scotland to seek separation from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and their supporters want to break up this success story and lead Scotland over a cliff to oblivion. Ms Sturgeon stated publicly last year that “the case for full self-government ultimately transcends the issues of Brexit, of oil, of national wealth and balance sheets and of passing political fads and tends". This irresponsibility from a national leader beggars belief, is arrogant in the extreme and morally indefensible.

The economic and currency case for separation was not made in 2014 and the outlook is even more bleak now with the collapse in the oil price. What supporters don't seem to understand or want to believe is that if Scotland became independent, the level of austerity visited on Scotland would be severe with massive tax increases, a deterioration in public services and there would be no going back.

This is no time for Scotland to go it alone based on emotion and fag-packet economics. We need to be part of the success story that is the United Kingdom and the sooner SNP supporters come to the realisation of this the better. Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond before her have never provided empirical evidence of an economically and militarily sound Scotland and the evidence of the last ten years proves this. I am angry about what is happening to my country.

I am a very proud Scot and I am very proud to be British. I am not prepared to silently stand aside and witness the break-up of one of the greatest countries in the world for no good, proven reason and urge all who care about the survival of the Union and all it involves to make a stand. There is no point after an event saying I should have done something about it and now it's too late - show your support now in any way you can.

Douglas Cowe,

Alexander Avenue, Kingseat, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire.

ONCE again Patrick Harvie and his Green Party have assured themselves of another “day in the sun”. In exchange for some crumbs from the Nationalists' table, his support for another independence referendum ensures the majority Nicola Sturgeon's minority government needs to guarantee she gets her way. Has this got anything to do with his commitment to green issues, or just a chance to punch way above his weight?

J Mathie,

16 Sheepburn Road, Glasgow.

GR Weir (Letters, March 17) informs us that Scotland is very content with the SNP. That will be why it now forms a minority Government.

David Miller,

80 Prestonfield, Milngavie.

I NOTE that the two recent letters regarding the glut of referendums March 16 & 17) were written by men. I’m wondering if this is yet another “man thing”? From an early age I’ve been aware that women threw themselves under horses so I could vote – yes, I know it didn’t work, but the idea was there. I delight in casting my vote on every occasion – elections, referendums - bring them on. The more the merrier.

At least it gives me the impression (however false) that what I think is actually taken into account: and I do so love to give my opinions. It isn’t fair to complain about something if you haven’t already given some input, is it?

Priscilla Douglas,

15 Branziert Road, Killearn.

IS there a contradiction in being pro Brexit but anti Exbrit?

A MacDonald,

11 Cessnock Road, Troon.

ONE thing is certain in all the debate. In an independent Scotland the weather will not suddenly improve.

Elizabeth Anderson,

55 Kingston Road, Bishopton.