THE 51.9 per cent referendum vote to leave the EU is rather reminiscent of the 51.6 per cent vote that was cast in 1979 in support of the setting up of the Scottish Assembly. The difference is that the 1979 progress towards a Scottish Assembly was stopped in its tracks, as Westminster had previously accepted an amendment which required 40 per cent of the electorate to vote in favour. The turnout was such that this criterion was not met.

In comparison, the overall Leave vote for the UK last week did not meet the 40 per cent mark despite a high turnout, nor did it in the case of the English Leave vote. The Remain vote in Scotland, on the other hand, exceeded 40 per cent.

The decision to set the acceptance level at 40 per cent in 1979 was entirely arbitrary, but it was argued in the House of Commons at the time that such a momentous constitutional change had to be positively supported by a sizeable proportion of the voting population and not just by a minimal majority of those who had decided to vote. It's certainly difficult to argue that leaving the EU is a less important constitutional change.

Perhaps we should save ourselves the trouble and pain in future and simply spin a coin. It would have about as much constitutional validity.

Thomas G F Gray,

4A Auchinloch Road, Lenzie.

I WAS shocked and saddened by the close result in the EU referendum, flawed as it was by a campaign of misinformation, xenophobia and outright lies. The UK is now a deeply divided country.

Not to have had a safety net with a threshold for change of say, 60 per cent, was highly irresponsible of Prime Minister Cameron.

We need to take some of the heat out of the situation. England and Wales should do the decent thing and secede from the UK. Then there would be no need for an independence referendum!

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar (all now in talks) will be left in the UK with no further changes needed to their trading and legal status, apart from that of the UK itself.

However, Scotland will need to help sustain the peace process in Northern Ireland, and both will have to support Gibraltar's interests in any potential conflict with Spain. I'm sure the goodwill is there.

Ian Logan,

2 Frances Street, Langholm.