I HAVE no wish whatsoever for Scotland to become independent, however I have no doubt in my mind that a fair proportion of the Scottish population wishes it to be so.

The last referendum was held using poorly-defined wording on the actual vote, and no clear timetable as to the lifetime on the decision of that vote; one generation is far too loose a definition. All sides in Scotland must sit down and agree on the voting procedures, in particular deciding the percentage of the vote, not just a straight first-past-the-post vote, required to decide the final outcome, and how long should pass before another referendum on independence is to be held.

We cannot have a country held to ransom by Westminster with the cloud of uncertainty ever present, this must be decided for once and for all to allow Scotland to progress, either as a part of the UK, or as an independent country. The first hurdle that must be overcome is the insistence from Westminster that we supposedly require its permission to hold the referendum. It was after all partly its fault that the first one was such a poorly organised affair.

George Dale, Beith.


SURELY it is time for the Scottish independence movement to relinquish its determination to join the EU and concentrate on developing future trade with the rest of the world, which is already greater than with the EU? There has always been scepticism towards the EU among independence supporters who voted to remain in line with SNP policy but have now learned more about the bureaucracy, incompetence and dictatorial inclinations of the EU, the vaccination disaster a case in point. It is well to remember that at the time of the independence referendum in 2014 the EU opposed Scottish independence and was far from welcoming.

The likely possibility of a customs border with England, our biggest trader, in the event of rejoining the EU would be abhorrent to most Scots, independence supporters included. The tears of Brexit are drying and it is time to face up to new realities which an independent Scotland can look forward to without the EU, if only the leadership would catch up with events and accept that it is not desirable to go through the problematic negotiations of rejoining when a new promising course lies before us.

John Inglis, Corrie, Arran.


GEORGE Rennie (Letters, May 5) would have us believe that it could take 20 years for Scotland to get back into the EU; Dr Kirsty Hughes, European relations expert, is a lot more optimistic. On the myth that Scotland would have to get to the end of the queue to rejoin the EU, Dr Hughes has stated that Scotland is in a strong position and while the EU has a clear technical process, "Scotland's going to be ahead in that technical process".

The Scottish Centre on European Relations has stated that the EU views the UK as being "unreliable, unpredictable and untrustworthy" but that there is "broad openness to Scotland having a normal accession path to the EU" as long as that followed a "legally and constitutionally sound referendum".

Among the member states there is great enthusiasm for Scotland rejoining the EU, expressed by such senior members as Donald Tusk, the former European Council President, and Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President, while Hungarian MEP Istvan Ujhelyi received strong support from fellow MEPs when he called for an independent Scotland to be allowed to rejoin the EU in an "unobstructed and accelerated way", pointing out that the Brexit situation was not caused by the Scottish people and that their voice must be heard.

All the indications are that Europe has left a light on and the door open for Scotland to return and take its place alongside the 27 other independent nations of the European Union.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

* IT is interesting that Gordon McCallum (Letters, May 4) has been able to adjust his company and its customers to continue doing business after Brexit – well done. I am sure that many other companies would welcome learning how he and his company managed to do this. Might I suggest that Westminster might have learned from Brexit and be prepared to deal with Scotland in a more businesslike manner?

Finally, he lists the other UK countries as separate deals, whereas England, Wales and Ireland would be dealt with as one by Westminster.

Ian Turner, Bearsden.


THERE was recently some fervid nationalist (British) commentary about the status of Scotland: was it a failed state; a one-party state (with a minority government!) and so on. Of course, Scotland was none of those things. Worryingly England seems to be heading toward the “one-party state” situation, where a minority party has total control over all the levers of state power and the BBC, and the opposition are in terminal decline.

Now we have a Ruritanian situation where gunboats are dispatched over a small fisheries dispute, with jingoist backing of the right-wing press ("UK Navy to monitor Jersey blockade", The Herald, May 6). The endless feuding between England and France defies description: imperial rivalries revived? French v Norman French? Yet the French love a Disneyfied version of England they see in the media, and the English all want to live in France (as long as they don’t have to speak French).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

* IT is only five months after Brexit and we have now had occasion to send gunboats to address the French. If Scotland withdraws from the UK I wonder whether that will herald the resumption of border reiving along with new Covenanter warfare between the National Covenant for Independence (Nicola Sturgeon) and the Solemn League and Covenant for Independence (Alex Salmond) brigades. The pertinent question arises as to whether history warns or beckons.

Michael Sheridan, Glasgow.


FROM their differing perspectives the absence of a constitution has been highlighted by Alan M Morris and Peter A Russell (Letters, May 3 & 4) but where I disagree with them is the suggestion that we should expect either the UK or Scottish governments to offer us one. The only way we will make progress with a constitution is to draft it ourselves.

Most countries have constitutions that are closer to lay terms than legal language, allowing their citizens to easily understand their rights. We should have the same and it is for this reason that the charity Constitution for Scotland has been set up and has produced an interactive website at www.constitutionforscotland.scot that allows everyone the chance to shape a model constitution. Mr Morris mentions Dr Elliot Bulmer, who was involved in its early stages. Although drafted with the assumption that Scotland will be independent, whether readers are in favour of independence or not, a constitution helps us define what is important to us and how the country should be run.

John C Hutchison, Secretary, Constitution for Scotland, Fort William.


GORDON Brown out on the recent hustings criticised the SNP with its failure to significantly reduce child poverty in Scotland.

I fully agree we should be doing better.

He went on to say: "Poverty is not just a scandal – for children it is a crime.”

Does Mr Brown ever consider how much child poverty he helped create when he voted for the Iraq war? Thousands of innocent kids were killed or orphaned in Iraq, all resulting in major child poverty for thousands of innocent Iraqi children.

I would like to think Mr Brown might have a road to Damascus moment and get himself out there to help. Perhaps a road to Baghdad moment in this case.

Ian Archibald, Edinburgh.


I WAS saddened to read Neil Mackay's column ("Cry, beloved country – how Scotland became a refuge for a boy lost in violence of the Troubles", The Herald, May 6).

I have Irish roots, which I have traced back to the 18th century and I believe my family was involved in the Plantation of Ulster. I am also the product of a so-called "mixed marriage".

We do terrible damage to our children when we allow hatred to fester and pass on down the generations. What governments do when they send young men to war, turning them into killing machines cannot be allowed to continue. We are all Jock Tamson's bairns – and we all deserve peace.

Maybe the pandemic will give us the strength to say "enough is enough".

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.