READING Catherine MacLeod's column was a jaw-dropping experience ("A welcome dose of reality on joining EU", The Herald, July 17).

Talking about Scotland's ambition to join the EU, she states: "What is being said by the overwhelming majority of people who know anything about the machinations, politics and legalities of Europe is that it will at least be very difficult, will not happen automatically, and could take many years".

She goes on to assert that "if part of a member state chooses to break away from a member state, it would have to rejoin as a separate state".

Thrown into this mix is her opinion that Jean-Claude Juncker, Jose Manuel Barosso and our Prime Minister know everything, so "how can others, many of whom know little about European politics, dismiss them so easily?" Strong stuff here.

I studied European politics and European law some years ago. Although not a constitutional lawyer, I consider myself pretty well versed in the EU issues facing Scottish voters. Even I know that the UK Government is the only competent body that can legitimately ask the EU for an opinion on the issue of an independent Scotland seeking accession. It can, but it won't. Perhaps it suspects (or knows) that it may not get the answer that will suit its argument.

I have researched far and wide for answers on various EU issues for Scotland and I simply concede failure, along with all those constitutional "experts"and lawyers to whom Ms MacLeod refers. The sensible view now is no-one knows, and Scotland's accession will be a political, not a constitutional, choice for the EU.

I ask Ms MacLeod: "By what mechanism can the EU remove EU citizenship rights from the people of Scotland?"

There is no clear and undisputed mechanism, just as there is no clear and undisputed mechanism to allow Scotland seamless/difficult or protracted accession.

As much as I welcome "doses of reality" from your columnists, this offering from Catherine MacLeod is simply a restatement from the No campaign's Book of Apocalyptic Events and should have come with a health warning.

Ian McLaren,

27 Buchanan Drive, Lenzie.

I HAVE this vision of Catherine MacLeod standing in a corner, fingers in ears, mouthing "La la la la" as the spokesman for Jean-Claude Juncker informed the media that his comments on no more EU expansion did not affect Scotland.

James Mills,

29 Armour Square,


I HAVE recently returned from a short holiday in the south of France. There was much interest shown and comment made as people asked me about my Yes badge. Everyone who spoke to me voiced support for Scottish independence and they ranged from Dutch, Danes, Americans and Belgians.

However, by far the most interested were the French. As I was there during celebrations of the anniversary of the French Revolu­tion, they were incredulous that we were even contemplating a rejection of independence and that surely it was a perfectly natural aspiration for any nation.

As my stay was in Port Vendres, many were also very keen that Scotland should vote Yes as an inspiration to the electorate involved in the independence referendum in Catalonia in Spain on November 9 this year, as many of the French people in this area of France consider themselves to be fellow Catalans.

Many a toast was made to the hope that by the end of 2014 we shall see the birth of two new European nations. Here's to that.

Alan Carroll,

24 The Quadrant,



BILL Brown (Letters, July 17) correctly highlights the confusing position of the SNP with regards the desire to leave one union, the UK, but join/remain in another, the EU.

The UK may not be perfect but at least it is mostly democratic, and representatives from Scotland do not just have the chance to sit at the top table but, in the case of the last Prime Minister and two Chancellors, actually get to run the show. The EU on the other hand is almost totally undemocratic, and an independent Scotland with a population of a mere five million will have little influence in an EU of 500 million, with or without a seat in the room.

Mr Salmond now suggests that we should vote Yes in the Scottish referendum to ensure Scotland is in the EU, as otherwise we might, with the rest of the UK, leave the EU after some future UK referendum. This suggests that the White Paper launched last year as the basis for the referendum has now all but been discarded.

Back then we were constantly reassured that in the event of a Yes vote many things will remain the same as both rUK and Scotland will be in the EU. We could vote Yes without worrying about all the "scares" concerning borders and trade highlighted by the Unionists. The EU would ensure we can work anywhere, live anywhere, access the health service as before, enjoy no roaming charges, and so on. Any talk of border controls was rubbish dreamed up by "Project Fear". Now the suggestion that a full international border would be created between England and Scotland is being used by the SNP as a reason to vote Yes.

If somehow we end up with Scotland in the EU and rUK outside the EU that must be the worst possible outcome for Scotland. There would be no automatic free movement of people or trade with our largest export market (70 per cent of exports, I think). Scotland would be forced into the euro, leading to additional costs for any remaining trade with rUK, we would be faced with international charges on postage, delivery and phone calls to and from the rUK, and all sorts of implications for car tax, MOT's, insurances, pensions and the like. In reality there is very little that would not change in that situation.

The fact that Mr Salmond is suggesting that would be a good thing for Scotland and a reason to vote for separation suggests he is really scraping the barrel for ideas, and then seizing them without considering the consequences.

No thanks.

Chris Rix,

Inchnadamph, Lairg.

NICOLA Sturgeon has a cheek to claim anyone is being dishonest over the EU ("No campaigners accused of dishonesty over EU claims", The Herald, Thursday, July 17).

It was her SNP Government that spent tens of thousands of taxpayers money to prevent the publication of legal advice on the EU, which it then transpired did not even exist.

My Freedom of Information request dragged on for two years before it was revealed they had not sought advice on membership of the EU.

It is time the SNP were up front with the people of Scotland and published their full legal advice which we now know they have. Any failure to do so highlights the fact they have something to hide.

Catherine Stihler,

Labour MEP for Scotland,

Church Street,