LIKE many others, I have recently received my postal ballot paper for the forthcoming EU election.

Looking over the ballot paper, I was amazed (but not surprised) to see that the two major parties, who are still currently conspiring to agree a deal which will take us out of the EU, have the brass neck to field candidates. Yes, I know, there are constitutional reasons why they must do so! But where do they find individuals within their ranks prepared to take their seats within an organisation they are committed to leave, whilst in so doing of course, accepting the handsome salary which goes with it? If this isn't cynicism or hypocrisy, what is?

To add to the woes, neither party seems inclined to permit the electorate the opportunity of expressing a view on any eventual Brexit deal – three years post-referendum – despite there being so much more accurate information now available regarding the real pros and cons of departure. (Conservatives – definitely no. Labour – maybe yes, perhaps no.)

For both these reasons, at least for this election – one which will not materially affect the internal politics of Brexit – I feel I can only vote for candidates who are committed to membership of the EU and who can honestly and constructively represent us therein. If others are persuaded to do likewise, who knows, it might serve notice (again) on all the parties that we are neither amused nor supportive of their efforts and self serving to date. Yours sincerely.

J Napier,


NOTHING illustrates more clearly what is wrong with the party list system of proportional representation than the Brexit Party "Election Communication Scotland", mailed presumably to all Scottish voters. Photographs and attributed quotes are given for seven people, four described as "our candidates" and the other three described as "New Brexit Party Candidates". So I guess it would be reasonable for voters to assume that, in placing their X against the Brexit Party, they are voting for any number up to six of these candidates, to be elected.

If you have a postal vote and therefore can examine a ballot paper, it becomes more interesting, be-cause none of these seven names appear on it. So who are these seven candidates? In fact, they are all standing in English regions, except for Joel Chilaka, who doesn't appear to be standing anywhere in the UK. Of course you might only see who you are voting for when you get your ballot paper in the polling station and discover a new set of names.

We are therefore expected to vote for the Brexit Party, without having the faintest idea who the candidates are, or why we should vote to elect them. If the Brexit Party gets enough votes in Scotland to get a seat, Mr Farage gets to decide who represents us and some of us remember, with extreme regret, who he picked as the Scottish Ukip representative in 2014. That's the party list system for you. You need to ask for more than PR, it has to be Single Transferable Vote.

Thomas GF Gray, Lenzie.

Read more: Scotland does not want Brexit says Nicola Sturgeon

PETER Russell’s letter (May 10) reminded me of something published here some weeks ago, arguing the same point – “that if Scotland uses Sterling in the informal way suggested by the Growth Commission, it can be contended that with no currency of our own, we could not commit to joining the euro when conditions allow (and if we chose to do so), as we could not participate in ERM2”, and thus might not, just as Mr Russell asserts, be able to join the EU at all.

Imagine my surprise to discover the letter’s author was …. me (April 18). However, in contrast to Mr Russell’s prognosis of doom, gloom and disaster, I continued “But, [Scotland] could still secure single market access by joining EFTA and committing to the EEA, and likewise frictionless trade by joining the EU’s Customs Union”, and thus that “even if we are not EU members, we can still achieve many of Scotland’s European ambitions”. Furthermore, this would be in no way inconsistent with the statements of the First Minister since June 2016, and, in regard to the EU at least, render obsolete questions about currency (such as Mr Russell’s).

His letter therefore is a trademark Better Together argument that the EU will not let us join, yet many European ambitions could be achieved without joining. However, my letter of which he is critical of was a reply to Ian Lakin who had argued that Scotland would have to use the euro (Letters, May 8), but as I pointed out the timetable to this end would be for the Scottish electorate. Thus, both Messrs Russell and Lakin’s arguments manage to be wrong, even though based on conflicting suppositions about our membership – or not – of the EU.

This "damned if they do, and damn them if they don’t" approach is one we became familiar with in 2014. A particularly notable example then was that all the banks would leave if we voted Yes, but that they would ruin us in the event of another banking crash, which could only happen if they had remained in Scotland. As with Mr Russell and Mr Lakin’s propositions, both cannot be true at the same time. Not even in Scotland.

Most remarkably though, having spent the preceding part of his letter assuring us that Scotland could not join the EU because we have no currency of our own, Mr Russell cannot resist the temptation of forecasting “Greek-style austerity within the euro” for Scotland once we had implemented our own currency. But in so doing he ignores the point that I made earlier to Ian Lakin, that by joining the EU we might have to commit to adopting the euro, but the timetable, and indeed deciding whether to do so or not, would be matters for the Scottish electorate.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

GEORGE Dale and Sam Craig (Letters, May 10) ask: have the parties given up on British voters in the run-up to the EU elections, and who would trust the leader of the Brexit Party? Perhaps we should look at those questions from a wholly Scottish perspective. At no time has the Scottish Government given up on trying to represent the Scottish people in Europe or at the Brexit negotiation table, it has simply been excluded. As to the second question, the Scottish people in 2016 didn’t trust Nigel Farage under the Ukip banner, as Scotland voted to re-main.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

CAN I ask Carole Ford (Letters, May 9) exactly where Scotland is looking ridiculous or exactly where it’s "diminished", given that news from and about Scotland is largely confined to, well, Scotland? Unionists can’t help themselves from putting down the Scottish Government in areas such as railways, education, health, police and so on when even they must know that most parts of England have a very much worse record.

Ian Baillie, Alexandria.