TRADE unions were formed in the 19th century for protection from the worst effects of capitalism.

Capitalism has evolved into corporatism, and unions have to change shape also. Corporatism is amorphous, worldwide and elusive; nationalism is irrelevant in counter-acting its worst effects.

There are problems with both the United Kingdom and the European Union, but they are unions. Now would be precisely the wrong time to leave either. An independent Scotland would be easy meat for the corporate world. The signs are all there.

Just as the broad Right in British politics is about to splinter, for the first time in a century, the British broad Left must seize its opportunity. In Scotland the Left's energy has diverted into a misdirected nationalism, and certainly the Labour Party have the major task of reconnecting with this energy. The Scottish Left has much to show and share with our British friends as real local government and accountability, by and for the people, is restored, and corporatism's worst effects are mitigated.

To depict English and Welsh Labour MPs as "our imperial masters" as the Yes campaign did the other day in Glasgow, is ridiculous, offensive, and damagingly divisive of the Left effort. Exciting responsibilities lie ahead for Scotland within the UK when our southern friends and neighbours learn that we are going to play our part in reformatting our home islands. This is a nascent form of modern left-leaning unionism.

Tim Bell,

11 Madeira Place, Edinburgh.