FORMER Labour Minister Tom Harris seems to have allowed his visceral hatred of the EU and of Jeremy Corbyn to cloud his judgement very severely ("Former Labour minister says he will be voting for Johnson", The Herald, November 14)). His curious logic is that Mr Corbyn is somehow a security risk; he may not be the most reliable of patriots, but compared to Mr Johnson, he is almost a hero.

Mr Johnson is the man who has prevented publication of the report into Russian interference in recent voting, has probably been in receipt of money from dubious Russian sources and will do anything to please Donald Trump. By taking the UK out of the EU, he will cut off our security services from the European networks, so losing information on terrorist suspects. Even in these permissive times, Mr Johnson's total disregard for any form of morality must make him a potential target for blackmail by foreign agents. All told, this hardly makes Johnson a reliable guardian of our security.

There is no doubt Mr Corbyn has his faults, not least his continued ambiguity about leaving the EU, with all the disastrous outcomes this will bring. But the claims about Mr Johnson's superiority ring very hollow and Mr Harris needs to think very carefully before giving support to this puppet of billionaire tax-avoiders, who is certainly no friend to working people.

Dr RM Morris, Ellon.

JAMES Martin (Letters, November 13) argues that politicians are inevitably “economical with the truth”, never letting “truth get in the way”.

Boris Johnson at the head of the Leave campaign abused this generally accepted understanding of the facts of political life. Then having achieved apparent “success” with his strategy embodying an excess of dishonesty he has continued to practise it ever since to achieve his ends.

What Mr Martin seems to fail to appreciate and Mr Johnson presumably understands only too well is that the decision to leave the EU was taken ignoring our established democratic procedures. Within these processes the electorate is given the opportunity, through their representatives in Parliament and at the ballot box, to hold to account those who take the abuse of truth too far. The system may not be perfect but it has, by and large, served us well over the years.

A referendum does not have these safeguards built in, it being obvious that Parliament failed in its democratic responsibilities to those it represents when it accepted so passively the use of a referendum to resolve such a complex issue. Presumably it failed to foresee that the Leave campaign would use such flagrantly dishonest tactics and that the Remain campaign would be so incompetent. In a sense we are leaving the EU by accident. No wonder such a significant percentage of the population cannot accept the outcome.

As a consequence of the abandonment of democratic safeguards Brexit may be leading us to an irreparable and dangerous damage to the cohesion of our society.

John Milne, Uddingston.

SINCE The Act of Union in 1707, it could be argued Scotland has suffered from a democratic deficit by design.

Among recent examples are the poll tax, the bedroom tax, the rape clause and universal credit, all foisted on us despite massive public opposition. Scotland voted for and embraced devolution in the 1970s, which should have mitigated this democratic deficit. Brexit is the latest and most extreme example. Westminster continues to change the direction of the UK and we are powerless to stop it. Scotland’s democratically elected MPs are invariably disregarded at Westminster. The Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals were ignored, and now that we have a "deal" Holyrood’s consent is "not required".

The Withdrawal Bill goes against the founding principles of devolution, and is a severe breach of the Sewel Convention. Scotland faces an imminent loss of devolved powers: in our economy, our environment, our food standards and the Scottish health service will be threatened. We face an economically damaging hard Tory Brexit or an undefined Labour version. There is no ‘good Brexit’ for Scotland.

Scotland is far from being an "equal partner" in the Union; indeed, the UN described us as a resource exploitation colony of England. Westminster believes it has the right to determine Scotland’s future, regardless of the expressed will of the sovereign Scottish people.

An independent Scotland could flourish. We have just eight per cent of the UK population but 28.5 per cent of the natural resources, more than 13 per cent of exports and 38 per cent of food and drink exports, 28 per cent of wind-powered electricity and 85 per cent of renewable projects. Numerous other small countries have demonstrated that independence may even be a prerequisite for economic success. Iceland, once very poor, flourished once powers were returned to Reykjavik from Copenhagen. The benefits of EU membership can be seen in Ireland.

Scotland has the greatest potential of any small nation in the world, so why should we suffer because of an unequal union? This very Scottish democratic deficit has highlighted the real importance of our right to choose self-determination and become a normal independent country again.

Jennifer Rhind, Moffat.

Read more: Harris is wrong: Johnson is a bigger threat to the UK than Corbyn