AS Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister there is speculation that changes may be made to the vote threshold, should there be a second vote on separation. The SNP is unhappy – quelle surprise.

And yet the direct reason for any change is the SNP itself. Democracy only works if the losing side respects and accepts the result; losers consent. Unfortunately here in Scotland we have a prime example of where losers’ consent has been withheld.

Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond signed the Edinburgh Agreement, setting out the ground-rules for the referendum in 2014. The document stated that the referendum would deliver “a result that everyone will respect.”

But as soon as the nationalists had lost the vote Sturgeon and Salmond tossed the Edinburgh Agreement in the rubbish bin. Their signatures on the document were worthless; they would not respect the votes of over two million people in Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom, their fight to break up Britain would go on.

This is why it is now necessary to tighten up and codify the rules for any further referendums on separation. As we have seen after the independence and EU votes the SNP cannot be trusted to respect the result of referendums.

So what we now need from our new Prime Minister is a Clarity Act to make the rules crystal clear.

As a minimum it should include: the threshold for when a referendum can be called; the franchise; the wording of the referendum; the turnout required; authoritative economic prospectuses from both sides required; the threshold for change, the time gap between subsequent referendums, and a second confirmatory referendum post-negotiations.

The SNP has brought all this on itself. Once you cannot trust the losers you have to have everything set out in a tight legal framework. A Clarity Act is in the interests of everyone in Scotland.

Bruce Halliday, Dumfries.



NICOLA Sturgeon’s response to the suggestion that Liz Truss may seek to impose a special voting requirement for a Scottish referendum was predictable, but Keith Brown’s hyperbolic nonsense takes the biscuit.

It is apparently an “Orwellian perversion of democracy” ....which “destroys the founding principles of democracy”.

Is he suggesting that the very large number of countries which require super-majorities for any constitutional change (including Ukraine, which is currently desperately fighting to defend its democracy, and which requires a two-thirds majority) are not democratic?

Is he saying that the SNP is undemocratic since it also requires a two-thirds majority for even minor changes to its constitution?

He challenges Anas Sarwar to join in the protest by muddying the distinction between referenda and normal parliamentary elections, postulating a ludicrous scenario involving the Tories bringing in a similar law for General Elections.

The UK has only had a handful of referenda over recent decades on topics of widely varying nature and importance.

Kevin Pringle looks to the implications that such a change would have for other referenda but every one is different and the circumstances might justify some being on a simple 50% plus one basis.

There can be no more significant a vote, however, than one which would lead to the dissolution of the country, a decision which would be irreversible, unlike the case with General Elections.

Yes, almost all of the previous referenda have been on a 50% plus one basis, but there has only been one which would have an equivalent monumental impact, the referendum of 2014.

That was overseen by David Cameron, who, to the dismay of many, allowed Alex Salmond to decide upon the timing, the question, and the majority required. That failed, and widely discredited Prime Minister surely cannot be deemed to have set some sort of binding precedent?

Ms Sturgeon has said that such a step would be an attempt to “gerrymander” the vote by people who “fear losing”.

But surely it is the SNP which fears that it cannot persuade a sufficient proportion of the Scottish people to vote for its barely sketched-in vision of an independent Scotland?

Surely there has to be a sufficient majority at the outset to satisfy the requirement that it is indeed “the settled will of the Scottish people” and to lessen the chances of future discord?

R. Murray, Glasgow.



THE “knee- jerk” reaction quoted by Alexander McKay (letters, September 6) to the latest suggestion for manipulating an independence referendum is perfectly understandable, despite his inability to fathom it.

Voters are people who vote; those who are eligible but do not vote are obviously indifferent to the result and should not be upset whatever the outcome.

I suspect that Alexander McKay would oppose anything that could be construed as helpful to the idea of Scotland regaining independence.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.



THE last thing Scotland needs is a reboot of the Thatcher years. “Thatcher II: Back With a Vengeance” will do us nothing but harm.

Truss knows that she has no seats to gain in Scotland and the only benefit she can get from our country is what she can take from us to buy votes from the English electorate.

Now is the time to do whatever it takes to get us out of this toxic union before the asset-stripping gets into full stride.

Ni Holmes, St Andrews.

* WITH less than 0.2% of the UK electorate voting in the new Prime Minister, and we now have the fourth Prime Minister in 13 years, this is hardly a confident administration. Obviously a general election is required.

John Carmichael, Stewarton.

* MY dictionary indicates ‘truss’, noun – a support. And ‘truss’, verb – to support. How long before Scots are saying “Aye, right” to both of these?

Hugh Morton, Gauldry, Fife.

& THE parallels between the Tory Party and the world of football are uncanny. A series of own goals, poor performance in Europe, fear of relegation, and unrest in the squad have led to three managers in short order. Maybe a foreign coach should be considered?

Jim McSheffrey, Giffnock.

* LIZ Truss having chickened out of interviews with the exacting political broadcasters Andrew Neil and Nick Robinson, would “Cheep, Cheeps!” and “ Cluck, Clucks!” instead of “Hear, Hears!” be appropriate at the next PMQs clash?

R Russell Smith, Largs.

* NOW that Liz III is Queen – sorry, PM – I feel I can see (or smell!) the levelled-up sunlit uplands of the Brexit promised land. I feel a little tearful...

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.



WITH the Queen resting at Balmoral while continuing to suffer what must be serious mobility problems, protocol still required Boris Johnson and Liz Truss to fly separately between London and Aberdeen for audiences with her to satisfy the traditional procedures involved on a change in Prime Minister.

Apart from the inevitable disruption of all of this to the 96-year-old Queen’s relaxation, in these days of financial crisis, why incur the costs and delays of these outdated shenanigans when simple alternatives exist?

In the present exceptional circumstances, could Prince Charles not have substituted for the Queen as in the State opening of Parliament?

Or, if the Queen was determined to participate, given that the audiences are private, could it not all have been achieved satisfactorily using Zoom or similar ?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop, Ayrshire.



I HAVE just unearthed an “I’m With Nicola” pen, which must date from times past. Despite strenuous efforts this pen will not write.

Although I am a strong supporter of Scotland’s interests I suggest that this pen clearly reflects the current state of the SNP in government. During early days it worked well and promoted some excellent policies. Now it is dried up and requiring radical attention, if not removal.

Ken Cameron, Cupar, Fife.



WILL anyone miss Nadine Dorries now that she is quitting as Culture Secretary? Perhaps not. The only sort of culture she seemed interested in were her own novels. She just seemed to be yet another politician who was promoted to relatively high office well beyond her modest capabilities.

S. Forsyth, Glasgow.