The furore over Scotland's position with regard to the European Union continues, with many people pronouncing definitively while completely misunderstanding the structure of the state known as the United Kingdom.

If Sr Mariano Rajoy's statement has been correctly translated, it seems he believes Scotland to be a region of the UK. If so, he is wrong. Scotland is a distinct country. The Treaty of Union embodied the union of the parliaments of two countries, England and Scotland, not of the two countries. The Union of the Crowns did not unite the countries. It placed the crowns of the two countries onto one head. The two kingdoms are still distinct.

The UK is a unique construct. It is understandable that the rest of the world does not quite understand it but it is deplorable that so many UK politicians appear to be in the same state of ignorance. Or it may be that they are, for their own purposes, deliberately misconstruing the facts in order to mislead others.

I am disappointed that the SNP has not made strong representation to all the states in the EU in order that they should be apprised of the reality. For far too long the idea that the UK is England has been allowed to pass without real contradiction. They should also make clear that Scotland will not "leave" or "secede from" the UK. They should stress that the dissolution of the Treaty of Union dissolves the United Kingdom, the two signatories reverting to their previous condition of independent states of equal standing.

The words "leave" and "secede", so favoured by Unionists, are deliberately used to convey a falsehood. Those in favour of independence should rebut, robustly, that use whenever it is made.

John Scott Roy,

42 Galloway Avenue, Ayr.

The real reason the Spanish Prime Minister made his comments about Scotland's access to the EU was to warn the Catalan and Basque people that if they are considering continuing their plan for independence from Spain, then they should be aware that they, the Spanish Government, will apply the same veto they propose to use against Scotland. Furthermore, we have yet to hear if the remaining member states of the EU will adopt the same attitude.

Just like Scotland, which makes a substantial contribution to the UK economy, the economy of Spain needs the substantial revenues it receives from the Catalan and Basque regions.

Mike Dooley,

52 Auchendoon Crescent, Ayr.

Our First Minister and Spain's Prime Minister are both correct in their interpretations of EU Law. Spain cites a part of the EU Treaty relating to a "region" of a country. The First Minister is correct to point out Scotland is a country and not a "region" therefore the part of the Treaty cited by Spain does not apply to Scotland. The Treaty of the Union 1707 is an International Treaty. The Scots negotiating the 1707 Treaty cannily insisted on it being an International Treaty. The legal ramifications of a Yes vote are far more integrate than the current assumptions. First, the Union of the Crowns 1603 will still be in place and it is this Union which gave rise to the establishment of the United Kingdom. Therefore the title United Kingdom will have to be removed from the Union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Secondly, the 1707 Treaty established the new nation state of Great Britain; with a Yes vote Great Britain ceases to exist. Given that the United Kingdom between Scotland and England will still exist it could be seriously argued that two new nation states would exist upon a Yes vote: Scotland and the Union of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is not the simple issue the Unionists' make it out to be; this is not my opinion but the law of the land.

Jim Dear,

82 Marketgate, Arbroath.

Leaving the current diplomatic spat unfolding between Spain and the UK as a possible reason for the Spanish intervention in the independence date to one side, the point about an independent Scotland having to apply for EU acceptance as a member seems quite a valid position. The make-up of the UK will certainly be altered so it seems fair that Scotland is "vetted" before, I would assume, warmly welcomed. And as the make-up of the UK is being altered from the original position of EU membership I trust the rest of the UK will also have to follow the same process. Perhaps someone from Westminster or the Better Together campaign can enlighten me if I'm mistaken.

Dr Graeme Finnie,

Balgillo, Albert Street, Blairgowrie.

It should be noted that, whilst the Spanish PM has intimated he'd make things difficult for an independent Scotland applying to join the EU, he hasn't actually said he'd veto such an application. The importance of Scottish waters for Spanish fishermen might well factor. However, whilst it is indeed possible that an independent Scotland's application to join the EU might be vetoed, there seems more chance of Scotland being forced out permanently should it vote no in 2014, thanks to voters south of the Border electing to leave the EU in David Cameron's proposed EU referendum.

Michael Rossi,

66 Canalside Gardens,

Southall, Middlesex.

The Better Together campaign has enthusiastically embraced, without question, the assertion by the Spanish Prime Minister that Scotland will have to leave the EU and negotiate to rejoin if it votes yes in the referendum. Fair enough.

Therefore, I think Better Together should be asked if they also accept, without question, this obviously omnipotent person's assertion that Gibraltar belongs to Spain.

John Coulter,

104 High Station Road,


In a mature democracy, an incontrovertible indicator of long-term economic and social progress is population growth. It is a measure of a state's ability both to retain its native-born citizens and to attract economically active immigrants.

In the period from 1961 to 2011 the population of Scotland grew by 2.3%. Over the same time that of England grew by 29%. For other western European nations the comparable figures are: Portugal 18%, Austria and Belgium 19%, Denmark and Finland 21%, Sweden 26%, Norway 37%, Netherlands 43%, Switzerland 46% and Ireland 62%. Even for Slovakia and Slovenia, independent and free of communist stagnation for barely twenty years, the 50-year growth is 29%.

How does this reconcile with "Better Together"?

J Gordon Stewart,

30 Darngaber Gardens,

Quarter, Hamilton.

In the event of a Yes vote, it is clearly emerging that there will be hugely complex, very lengthy and extremely expensive negotiations on a growing raft of issues, including at least currency, Europe and Nato.

In any negotiations, the outcome - and more specifically the terms attached - can never be accurately predicted.

As a retired corporate development director previously involved in international acquisitions, my experience taught me it was evident from the outset that one party was always, by definition, in a stronger negotiating position. It beggars belief, against a backdrop of the small nation that Scotland is, that we would be able to upstage, out-muscle and win against these much larger opponents. We just would not have the clubs in our bag. The consequence, in my view, would be compromises, in some instances "take it or leave it" and where in all likelihood we would secure an inferior outcome to that which we hoped and anticipated.

So for those contemplating voting for, or "buying" independence, "caveat emptor" - let buyer beware.

Jimmy Armstrong,

3a Abergeldie Road,