TODAY, Brexit Day, is an incredibly sad occasion. The loss of the many economic, social and environmental benefits that membership of the largest single market in the world brings will leave us all the poorer in so many ways. Benefits associated with the free movement of goods, capital, services and people across the 28-member state EU have been immense.

Our exiting makes me angry as this is such a stupid and needless act of self-destruction, hitting the poorest hardest. It is a move I predict we will bitterly go on to regret.

Pro-EU events being held today do however afford us the opportunity to celebrate the benefits that membership has brought us – peace, stability and prosperity. The European flag will also still fly outside the Scottish Parliament.

Pro-EU campaigners like myself are now in the same position that those who campaigned for the UK to leave what was the EEC were in 47 years ago. I would urge the EU to keep a light on for us, the fight continues and one day, maybe in the not too distant future, I am certain these efforts will be rewarded and we will return.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh EH9.

JOB done then, Brexit achieved, Auld Lang Syne sung, and we in the UK will be hearing less of Beethoven's Ode to Joy and a lot more of Land Of Hope And Glory ("Champagne, tears and Auld Lang Syne as EU divorce is ratified at last", The Herald, January 30).

In the meantime, before the end of 2020, while the transition period plays itself out, the UK's trade ambassadors will whizz around the world trying to make deals with India and China, while no doubt hoping that these states have no historians, or have suffered collective amnesia on the part Great Britain played in their history. On other continents, these ambassadors may even be surprised to find that there is no more Terra nullius to expropriate. And if they are less than successful in their mission? Well, we can always look west to our great and special friends in the United States who will offer us – without a shadow of a doubt – a great and special trade deal, the future will be bright, indeed for a considerable time it may even be orange.

That's one scenario, but there might well be another. Scotland has done well out of its membership of the EU. Our population, previously virtually static for almost a century, has boomed over the last 20 years. Our social services, nursing homes, hospitality, and agricultural industries have benefited hugely from the influx of talented and industrious Europeans, our young people have benefited equally from being part of the humanistic outlook of the European Union. So what next for us here in Scotland, a land of hope and glory, do we think?

Frankly, for my children and grandchildren hope is not enough and none of them, as far as I can tell, have the remotest interest in personal glory – much to their credit. Of course, the "glory" referred to in Elgar and Benson's song is shorthand for the vainglorious notions of the British ruling classes, underpinned by a Ruritanian monarchy and the English public school ethos of arrogance and conceit, which has played such a large part in the lives of two of our recent Eton-educated Prime Ministers and many more before them. The Bullingdon club didn't just happen by accident, it happened for a reason.

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free indeed. No glory and no freedom for a people manipulated by a coterie of newspaper barons on behalf of a decaying social and economic elite.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

AS the EU Parliament sang Auld Lang Syne on the UK's leaving, it is apt and symbolic that they sang in Scots, not English.

We Scots will return and take up where we voted to remain but were denied by the Westminster Parliament.

The cup o’ kindness will be taken again when we haste back with ceud mile failte.

Aye tae the EU.

John Edgar, Kilmaurs.

WHAT irony. MEPs choose Auld Lang Syne composed by Rabbie Burns and whose birthday we have just celebrated, to mark their sadness at the departure of the UK from the EU. A poignant reminder that an overwhelming proportion of Scots chose to remain.

And all the Brexit Party can find to do is to wave Union Jacks in an act of petty triumphalism. Shame on them.

Trevor Rigg, Edinburgh EH10.

EUROPE: today is not adieu, it's au revoir.

Colin Campbell, Kilbarchan.

I WATCHED, shocked, with the rest of the nation as our gallant MEPs spent their last day in Brussels wringing their hands and with copious tears.

Poor souls, I reflected, they are bereft at losing a treasured job – and what a job.

With a salary of £105,000 plus a staff allowance of £300,000 year (how many relatives can that little pot employ), an attendance allowance of £117, 0000 and general expenses of £54,000 our poor old MEPs are giving up £576,000 per year.

What a solid gold gravy train – it's no wonder the SNP would like Scotland to join the EU. I can see the queues forming outside Holyrood as we speak – and given my annual pension of £9,600 you might see me in one.

Mike Weber, Peebles.

BREXIT Day is a day for real celebration, marking our leaving the EU. It's what we voted for more than three years ago but it has been a long slog of democratic complications and political mayhem in getting there.

Despite the doom and gloom merchants continuing to spread their nonsense as to our future we can now rejoice in being free from the shackles of Brussels and the endless legislation pouring out of the EU with UK MEPs living a life of millionaires compliments of the poor taxpayer.

One thing that is crystal clear: we should never subject our sovereign freedom to such ridiculous conditions ever again.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen AB21.

YOUR correspondent Jacqui Mair (Letters, January 30) must indeed be mad if she thinks that Brexit means that she and others will not in future still be able to take nice holidays in Portugal and meet nice Spanish-speaking, Don-Quixote-singing ladies thereby.

To my best knowledge the European Union was not established for that precise purpose, although that may have been a happy concomitant, and likewise our departure does not mean an end to enjoyable foreign sorties.

Darrell Desbrow, Dalbeattie.

WE may no longer be a member of the EU, but we should keep the EU flag flying here because it is through no fault of Scotland that we have been dragged out of the European Union ("Holyrood’s leading body overruled as MSPS keep flag flying", The Herald, January 30). Those who complain about the use of the EU flag should perhaps remember that Scotland voted emphatically to remain within the European Union and the fact that we are now no longer in it is what we should really be complaining about.

I find it ironic that those who rattle off complaints about Scotland's hospitals, schools and so on under the SNP ignore the fact that health spending in Scotland is £185 per person higher than in England, that Scotland's A&E services are the best in the UK, and Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of population in the UK; while more than 900 schools have been upgraded over the last ten years and Scotland provides the best package of support for students in the UK. And while police numbers in England and Wales were cut, Scotland's number of officers has increased with recorded crime down 42 per cent since the SNP came to power. So, although challenges remain, and while things are not perfect and never will be, the SNP flies the flag for Scotland; now the focus has to be on ensuring that Scotland's flag will fly in Europe.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

IF the First Minister must put the vex in vexillology (the study of flags) by debating the post-Brexit flying of the EU flag over the Scottish Parliament, then perhaps she should step down. Her replacement could then focus on, among other things, declining education standards, rising drug deaths and the multitude of problems with the NHS.

Otto Inglis, Edinburgh EH4.

NEIL Mackay's commentary ("Why Scotland has a few home truths to learn this Brexit Day", The Herald, January 30) should give us all much food for thought. However, there is at least one very important issue which he neglects to explore. This the fact that in the two respective referendums No voters were the winners and Remain voters were the losers.

There is a significant difference between being an ousted majority (if the SNP were to overturn the 2014 result) and being a minority which is naturally disappointed at the outcome of the 2016 vote. By extension, allowing the normal outcome of referendums is a simple and logical remedy for both sets of voters: the majority view prevails and the minority accepts that in a democracy, you sometimes lose the vote even if you sincerely believe you won the argument.

Moreover, it would also surely have been better to seek consensus around the outcomes of both referendums. It is mark of the failure of our leaders of all parties and at both Westminster and Holyrood that there is no such progress over the past five years. But even Boris Johnson has now declared "let the healing begin," and although he may not succeed, surely that intention is preferable to the position of Nicola Sturgeon, who has wilfully led Scotland further and further down the road of division and bitterness.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow G13.

SO Derek Mackay laments the potential loss of £16 billion of exports to the EU but is happy to sacrifice £51bn of exports to the rest of the UK under an independent Scotland ("Scots exports to EU outpace global markets", Herald Business, January 30). So much for having the interests of Scotland at heart.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.

YET again the Scottish Parliament has demanded another independence referendum ("Holyrood votes to back Sturgeon’s call for Indyref2", The Herald, January 30). I consider such proclamations to be mere background "static" now, something that I’m dimly aware of, but can easily be ignored if the mind is busy, like a very dull ache. Over the last five years "Indyref2 threat" has become a regular but tedious part of my life, like getting ready for work.

David Bone, Girvan.

Read more: Flags row threatens to eclipse Sturgeon’s showcase on Indyref2