THE fact that UK Cabinet ministers are looking to move the goalposts and push Boris Johnson to allow Scots living anywhere in the UK to vote in a second independence referendum ("Sturgeon warning over attempt to ‘rig the rules’ for second indy vote", The Herald, June 22) should come as no surprise.

What this desperate gerrymandering illustrates at least is an acceptability that there will be another vote.

It is of course for those living in Scotland to dictate its direction of travel, not for there to be some form of eligibility test to define how supposedly “Scottish” individuals in the rest of the UK are and if they manage to achieve a list of defined criteria. There is no such thing as a “Scottish national”, which opens up a whole debate as to what defines an individual as “a Scot” – someone born here? Someone born elsewhere but whose parents/grandparents are “Scots”? The ethnic nationalism the Tories are clearly demonstrating here has no place in modern Scotland.

The move to base the franchise on the electoral register is consistent with the internationally accepted principle that constitutional referendums should have a right to vote determined by residency. We also have the precedents set by the 2014 independence referendum, and indeed the 1997 devolution referendum for this.

Those individuals born in Scotland who live elsewhere but want to dictate the nation’s future have the simple solution of returning to Scotland and registering to vote here.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.


NICOLA Sturgeon accusing unionists of “trying to rig the rules" of any indyref2 is a wonderful example of a pot calling a kettle black. She wishes the question in any indyref2 to call for, as before, a Yes or No answer despite the Electoral Commission’s view that that carries an inherent apparent bias in favour of Yes. Has she forgotten already (selective amnesia again?) the debacle of her pursuit of Alex Salmond which had to be abandoned at great cost when the court ruled it was unlawful as “tainted with apparent bias"?

Also, apparently she believes that the suggestion that Scots living in the rest of the UK should be allowed to vote in any indyref2 is simply another attempt at unionists trying to rig the rules. She wants, as before, to limit the right to vote to only residents in Scotland. I can think of no more compelling argument against her blinkered view than Steven Cantley’s masterful cartoon in The Herald today (June 22).

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

* IN response to Steven Camley's cartoon, referring to Scotland players living outside Scotland and their right to a referendum vote, may I make the following points?

At least three of the likely starting 11 against Croatia (at the time of writing) qualify through a parent or grandparent and were born outside of Scotland, should they really have a vote? On the wider subject of birthright to a referendum vote; should someone who has lived most of his life outside of Scotland qualify for a vote even if they have no intention of ever living here? And we must remember that anyone who lives outside of Scotland can have a vote if they really want it, all they have to do is come and live here.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


THE latest rumoured plan by the UK Government to enfranchise all Scots everywhere (or maybe just those living in England) to vote in any future independence referendum rather brought to mind Caesar Augustus’s census which required Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem. I have now a mental picture of Michael Gove boarding his donkey or, more prosaically, Boris’s Boeing to travel to Aberdeen to register his preference.

That’s about the only lighthearted image I can muster about the whole cock-eyed plan. We all know from his history that Mr Johnson favours only a very selective form of democracy. This, if it ever comes to light, is just another attempt to gerrymander results by a man who hides in appliances to avoid questions, prorogued Parliament illegally and dodged a vote on cutting foreign aid.

Grant McKechnie, Glasgow.


SURPRISE, surprise. Nicola Sturgeon argues that those suggesting around 800,000 Scots living in England should get a vote in an indyref2 are simply trying to influence the outcome. I fully understand where she is coming from, as it is my experience that those Scots who have lived or do live in England do not generally share Scottish nationalistic views. Perhaps those who have never experienced life in England should ponder on that rather than listen to anti-English rhetoric?

However, Ms Sturgeon should stop being so one-sided in her arguments, as her inclusion of 16-year-olds, for example, was merely an attempt to capture support from the “Braveheart generation”. How about only those registered as taxpayers or as employed in Scotland for at least five years get a vote, or will she argue for only those who agree to vote Yes getting a vote?

Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.


DR Calum MacKellar (Letters, June 22) opposes the proposed assisted dying bill. May I contribute my responses to his assertions?

He writes: “Because if a society accepts assisted suicide, it also means that it accepts that some lives are unworthy of life." No, it does not. It means accepting the right of any individual to decide for themselves if, and when, their condition and quality of life is no longer acceptable to them.

* "It means accepting, for the very first time in Scotland, the principle that not all lives are equal in value and worth.” No, it does not. The principle can still prevail. That does not preclude that an individual can consider that their own illness, disability and quality of life has reached a stage which is unacceptable to them.

* "There is always something palliative care can do to address suffering even in the most difficult of cases.” So, the only option should be to be kept in suspended existence, even for a prolonged period, against one’s wishes and when all or most of the life, action and activity which measures your own values of quality and acceptability have been removed from you? Also, many experts have stated the limits of suitability and effectiveness of palliative care. Contributing "something" can be inadequate.

* "But having the absolute right to decide that one’s life is unworthy of life logically means that one can believe that another person’s life, in a similar situation, would be unworthy of life, which completely undermines civilised society.” Under what system of logic does that prevail? Making one’s own personal choice on one’s own life and death still accords others the right, in a similar situation, to make their own judgments and choices. That, rather, is a mark of a civilised person and a civilised society.

It is not an issue of absolute assertion, polemic and false logic. It is an issue of the compassion, mercy and understanding of a civilised society.

Whatever the length, measure, success or failure, tragedy or happiness, of the individual life, I can think of no sadder or more cruel ending than being left in prolonged distress and despair, and being denied mercy, calm, peace, and release, when one expressly wishes and requests it.

Norman Dryden, Edinburgh.


I DO hope the Scottish Parliament will not legalise assisted dying (or assisted suicide or euthanasia as some might call it still) Whatever the safeguards, my past experience in legal work makes me fear that families can be greedy and callous if benefiting by inheritance is probable on a death. Vulnerable people can be pressurised psychologically by the feeling of being a burden.

Equally, medical professionals may be under pressure from health service backlogs and "bed blocking". Despite the supposed legal protections, the idea of assisted dying is fraught with dangers. Any legislation should be opposed, for this is indeed a slippery slope.

Gus Logan, North Berwick.


YESTERDAY I received an email purporting to come from the DVLA. The content reported that my recent vehicle tax payment had failed. I did know that I had renewed the road tax promptly last month by telephone, and that the DVLA had accepted my payment – I checked my bank statement.

The email requested that I update my payment details, and if I didn't, I could be fined £700 or my details passed to a debit collection agency. Before I checked that my vehicle tax had definitely been renewed, I did suspect a scam – the wording of the email was highly suspect.

I have had other scam emails in the past, but this DVLA one was a new one for me. Let others be warned.

Amy Kinnaird, Ochiltree.

Read more: If we decide that our own life is unworthy of continuing, what is to stop us applying that to others?