MICHAEL Sheridan’s list of the supposed benefits of being part of the UK Union (Letters, July 25) is a good example of manipulating facts to justify your position. Let’s start with his claim it was the UK Government that bailed out the Irish economy in 2010.

David Cameron only lent the Irish £3.25 billion as part of a £7bn aid package. The EU and the IMF lent the Irish €85bn. Big difference. Furthermore, it was the same David Cameron who said during the 2014 referendum campaign that an independent Scotland could not expect a similar bail-out from rUK in the event that it got into financial difficulty. Shared values?

The UK was part of Nato when British sovereign territory was invaded by Argentina. Can Mr Sheridan remind us how many Nato troops died there under Article 4 of the Nato treaty? Can he explain to me why the UK nuclear deterrent failed to deter a non-nuclear power from attacking us?

He suggests that the free movement of people and goods throughout the UK is being constrained by the inability to effectively police an internal border. In reality it is down to the fear of terrorist activity as a consequence of having a border between the north and south of Ireland. In other words, the UK economy is being hampered by unionist politicians’ capitulation to the men of violence on both sides.

The current impasse on the movement of goods and people across the Channel has nothing to do with an independent Scotland and everything to do with a failure to appreciate the long-term consequences of exiting the single market.

Mr Sheridan claims that the Union provides “more efficient and uniform benefit, taxation and motor vehicle registration”. Really? I went without and saved to provide for an adequate pension, only to be hit on retirement with an £800 tax bill. Meanwhile my triple lock pension has been "temporarily suspended" this year as inflation is too high, whilst I’ve just received my new driving licence after a seven-month wait.

He further claims that “customers within the United Kingdom all stand to benefit from uniform commercial and financial regulation and practice”. But we had that under the EU. The current contenders for prime minister are both proposing new UK- only regulations, which means more paperwork and separate assembly lines if you are also an exporter to the EU. It was having a separate (and less onerous) British standard that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster with the inquiry being told it was David Cameron’s deregulation policy that prevented the English regulations being updated to meet EU standards.

As for “shared values on the battlefield”, Culloden took place 38 years after the Act of Union and resulted in the mass slaughter of Highland clansman by unionist troops (Scottish and English) in what would today be regarded as a war crime.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

• I ASSUME Michael Sheridan's letter from a nationalist to unionists was rhetorical and meant to be provocative but I will take it at face value. I won't go through all of his eight reasons for staying in the UK as his assertions (which is what they are) will no doubt be picked apart by others, but one stuck out like a sore thumb for me.

Mr Sheridan writes: "The Union can combine resources to provide a greater National Health Service". Now I'm not sure if the word "can" in that sentence provides Mr Sheridan with a rhetorical loophole, but I notice that he avoids the use of "does" or "will continue to". I suspect that he has noticed the state of the NHS under the Union, and is just being careful.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


CURIOUSER and curiouser. Nicola Sturgeon and her party are itching to get on with preparations for the referendum that she has announced for next year. To test whether Holyrood has the power to sanction a legal referendum, Ms Sturgeon has sent the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, to petition the Supreme Court of the UK (whose leading judge is a Scot) on this subject. Her argument is that such a referendum would be merely "advisory" and would therefore have no implications for the future of the UK. That being the case – with the constitution not being affected – the referendum would be within the remit of the devolved Holyrood Parliament; so runs the argument.

Having made this chess move in her identity as head of the devolved administration, Ms Sturgeon then assumed her other identity, as leader of the SNP. In that capacity, she suggested to her National Executive Committee (NEC) – who, to no-one’s surprise, agreed – that the party should apply to intervene in the case in the Supreme Court, as an entity with "legal status" to bring the political case for a referendum.

So, on the one hand, the SNP Government petitions the Supreme Court on the grounds that its application is not political. And on the other hand, the SNP NEC petitions the Supreme Court, on the very same case, on the grounds that it is the representative of the political case for a referendum. Given that the SNP is a political party, and is the largest single separatist grouping, that assertion is unassailable.

The question is, why is the SNP so evidently challenging the stance taken by the Lord Advocate, and has it shot itself in the foot?

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.


IT appears good for democracy in Scotland and the whole of the UK that the best arguments against holding a second independence referendum that the combined brains of the Tory leadership contenders and their scheming advisers could come up with are that Scotland had its “once in a generation opportunity” and “now is not the time”.

The UK Government enabled Northern Ireland, through the Belfast Agreement, to hold a border poll every seven years and nothing was stipulated in the Edinburgh Agreement to prevent Scotland from effectively doing likewise. Even the staunchest Better Together supporters who still irrationally attempt to argue that "The Vow" has been honoured accept that they did not expect that the UK would have left the European Union only six years after the 2014 referendum. Therefore, given the democratic mandate of the current Scottish Government to hold another referendum, the only question that remains is exactly when that mandate should be enacted.

With the associated deaths and disruptions of Covid-19 in decline and the Westminster Government having lost control of the UK economy, October 19, 2023 appears to be a logical and sensible date for the citizens of Scotland to take their common destiny into their own hands rather than trust their future to another arrogant self-serving child of Margaret Thatcher.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


BORIS Johnson when saying "no" to Indyref 2 was quoted as stating the result of the referendum in 2014 should last for a generation and that a generation should be 40 years.

Imagine the pickle the Conservatives would be in if that rule applied to the leader of the Conservative Party. They would have had the late Baroness Thatcher until 2013 and David Cameron until 2053. But wait, aren’t people allowed to change their minds? Is that not why we have General Elections every five years, and refer to our system as being democratic?

Since 1990 the Conservatives have changed their minds seven times, and we are expected to trust their judgment. Even less democratic is the fact that 42 million people were eligible to select Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister, but only 160,000 will choose the next PM. This will be the third time in 30 years that the Conservatives have pulled this stunt. At least the country had the chance to vote for John Major and Theresa May shortly after each was appointed leader – there will be no such opportunity this time.

Francis Deigman, Erskine.


I AM in agreement with Walter Paul (Letters, July 25) in almost every respect of his points of view on the body politic of the present day. We are between a rock and a hard place in our voting choice.

I have dutifully voted in every General Election (or local ones for that matter), regarding it a hard-fought privilege brought about by our forebears. In this regard especially those at General Elections I consider that voting should be compulsory as I understand it is in certain countries. If this came to pass, we would gain a far better overall percentage figure of the voting intentions of the general public and nullify claims of winners that frequently border on the outwardly meaningless 50% mark.

John Macnab, Falkirk.

Read more: The compelling case for us to stay in the Union