AS usual, Ian McConnell blames all the difficulties of the Brexit negotiations on the UK ("Pressure mounts on the Brexit brigade to sort out bizarre mess", The Herald, September 30). He seems oblivious of the ridiculous demands that the EU is making with regard to UK fishing grounds and state aid to our own industries.

The EU has been insisting all along that UK waters will continue to be open to EU fishing fleets as if the UK had never left to become an independent country. Likewise, the EU wants to tell the UK how to run its own economy with regard to state aid. Arrogant nonsense. The UK is right to reject such demands and to continue to push for proper respect for its sovereignty. It is also right to negotiate hard to deliver the independence from the EU which the people of the UK voted for in 2016.

Mr McConnell thinks that the end of freedom of movement will be a terrible setback for the UK. He should look at UK population growth figures. In 2000 UK population was 59 million. It is now nearly 67 million. That increase is due to migration, since births and deaths are roughly equal. Millions of those migrants have been from the EU. It is not surprising, given that the different countries of the EU have very different systems of tax, healthcare, welfare and standard of living. Spain, for example, cuts off unemployment benefit after two years. Those differences of social system and standard of living have fuelled mass migrations across Europe. Freedom of movement is a foolish policy based on laissez-faire economics which is causing social problems in several problems. The UK rate of population growth has been unsustainable and cannot be supported by our weak economy.

The blunders of the EU are on a massive scale. Inevitably so, since it is a political entity affecting the lives of some 500 million people. Mr McConnell should read Joseph Stiglitz's book on the EU. There Stiglitz (a Nobel prize economist) describes the creation of the euro as a disaster for all the weaker economies caught as satellites orbiting Germany. Those countries are trapped in an economic straitjacket. They cannot devalue their currency and so their industries must compete head-to-head with Germany's. They would be better off following the UK's example and leaving the EU. Sadly, few of them have the necessary determination to do so.

Leaving the EU is tough because any successful secession sets a bad example and so the negotiations are bound to be hard-fought. However, if Mr McConnell bothered to read some critical analysis of the workings of the EU, he might come to understand why leaving is the right thing to do.

Les Reid, Edinburgh EH15.

COUNCILLOR Alex Gallagher (Letters, October 1) lists many legal reasons why Scotland might not be admitted to the EU in the event of Scotland achieving independence. Is it not the case that Scotland, currently a member of the EU (until December 31) already satisfies all the conditions for membership?

If or when Scotland achieves independence, we will have the powers then to decide whether we even wish to be a member of the EU. It might be we would prefer to be a member of the European Free Trade Agreement, just like Norway, and that would be open to us to negotiate that, as opposed to where we currently are.

In either case, independence for Scotland would be better than being tied to a right-wing, reactionary Tory Party led by Boris Johnson and the unelected Dominic Cummings, which Scotland, did not vote for, but with which Labour Councillor Alex Gallagher appears to be quite content.

Alec Oattes, Ayr.

IN reply to Labour Councillor Alex Gallagher, I must point out that nowhere in my letter of September 30 did I say it would be "easy" for Scotland to rejoin the European Union, and of course there will need to be negotiations between Scotland and the EU, but Councillor Gallagher insults senior members of the EU when he accuses them of making "throwaway comments" with regard to Scotland; EU leaders are serious politicians who know exactly what is at stake for Scotland. It is significant that Dr Kirsty Hughes, who has worked at a number of leading European think tanks, and as a senior political adviser in the European Commission, recently said that EU leaders could be "very reluctant" to allow the UK to rejoin, but that the issue of an independent Scotland joining the EU is a completely different matter, and she forecast "complete openness" from the EU's 27 Nations to allowing Scotland entry into the EU if Scotland voted for independence.

Councillor Gallagher is wrong to contend that it is likely Spain would "use its veto" against Scotland, as Spain has already indicated that it would have no objection to Scotland rejoining the EU. The goodwill and respect which exists for Scotland throughout Europe should not be underestimated, neither should the concern and understanding of our present position. EU nations know that because of Brexit they have lost a good friend and neighbour through no fault of ours, but all the signs indicate that they will leave a light on for an independent Scotland to return.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Read more: Letters: Why it is a fallacy to say that EU entry is a given