The question of membership of the EU is becoming a real bear trap for the cause of independence.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, European Parliament vice-president, has confirmed again there is no legal basis for a separate Scotland automatically continuing as a member of the EU ("Nation may struggle to get into the EU after 2014, says MEP", The Herald, June 17).

Following a Yes vote in 2014, Scotland's current membership would become no more than temporary associate with no power, no right of consultation and no voting participation, pending drawn-out negotiations.

Mr Vidal-Quadras has further indicated that France and Spain, with separatist movements in Brittany and Catalonia respectively, would withhold consent from Scotland for many years. The rest of the UK would be hardly likely to go out of its way to help either. There would be difficulties with current UK opt-outs from Schengen (meaning border controls at Carlisle) from the euro, and with receipt of Mrs Thatcher's rebate. Resolution of these matters would take many years but would certainly involve unconditional membership of the eurozone and the concomitant fiscal and monetary supervision.

If the euro survives, the Berlin/Brussels push for complete political union would be achieved, and Scotland would be subsumed in "Europe". If the euro collapses, as it will when Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands explode in exasperation with severe economic decline and unemployment, then the whole integrationist project will be no more, leaving merely a free trade area of democratic states observing World Trade Organisation rules.

Unless you are instinctively and viscerally Anglophobic, there is no sense in swapping the status quo for such uncertainty. After all, the status quo offers an in/out referendum on Europe whatever happens.

It was mostly Scots – Adam Smith, David Hume, Robert Burns and others – who invented Unionism, Britishness and modern political economy. These ideas have an ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and philosophical unity, which "Europe" will never achieve. By supporting full European political union and the dissolution of the UK, the SNP disowns the very ideas that define modern Scotland.

As a self-proclaimed, democratic, socialist party, the SNP prefers a politically correct, unaccountable, bureaucratic and regulated oligarchy of the European great and good.

Benign and safe though this nanny state is intended to be, our leaders would do well to remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin (1755): "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.''

Richard Mowbray,

14 Ancaster Drive,


I am astonished to read the nonsense about Scotland being expelled from the EU is still being peddled in some quarters.

In 2011 the Republic of Ireland imported 16.6 billion euros' worth of goods and 10.1bn euros' worth of services from the UK. This was more than the UK exported to the rest of the EU combined. Ireland is about the UK's fourth-largest global trading partner, accounting for 50bn euros in bilateral trade.

Scotland has a larger population than Ireland. There is £45bn in bilateral trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

England's total exports to the EU are divided into one-third to mainland Europe, one-third to Ireland and one-third to Scotland. Why on earth would businessmen in cash-strapped England wish to cut off 33% of their European market?

Tom Johnston,

5 Burn View,