SINCE the people's choice in the referendum, the last few years have been remarkable for the number of prophets of doom. Fear of the difference to their own pockets has clouded everything and pressured our leaders into accepting far more influence over our affairs than is good for us or even for our expressed wish. We should never have taken the position imposed upon us by Michel Barnier et al that punishment was our due and we would be consigned to outer darkness if we did not submit.

We chose to be independent. Well then, we should exercise that choice to the full. Let them (the whole bunch of the European Union) treat us as equal: one to one. Not one to 27. We do that by leaving altogether at one moment and we should prepare for it as far as possible. Let there be problems, items unobtainable from abroad. We can support that inconvenience. It will be temporary. It is even worth it to be able to repair our fortress and expand it in ways we deem desirable. They won't accept our exports? Let that be their loss. Many will dislike it enough to bend their own rules. Let them obey ours.

Britain has always been a great country, which still stood when, all around her, neighbours fell to this maniac or that; and preserved her values and her spirit. We should consider what we are gaining, not what we will lose. We are not children to be punished or bullied into submission by countries and conglomerates with no interest but their own. We have chosen the path of freedom. Not to take it, fully, is unthinkable. This country has always thrived on its absence of fear. Courage and self-belief are our inheritance, who we are. Let us exercise these.

We should build our island's defences and expand our fields of operation to include the wide world, not just the EU Why should we ever have limited ourselves to that? How could we be content to be a minor player in a Europe driven by nameless bureaucrats who always put their interest first?

William Scott,

23 Argyle Place, Rothesay.

I AM, no doubt, one of countless of my generation (that is, baby boomers) who was asked to provide an opinion on “The Irish Question” in examinations at school, college or university. The desired answer required by examiners appears to have been compromise and some give and take by all parties concerned.

The Good Friday Agreement, when it came into being, seems to have gone a long way towards achieving this. Unfortunately, this appears likely to be put to one side, pending the result of Brexit negotiations. It would be no bad idea for the Brexit negotiators to follow the lead of the Irish Rugby Union selectors who choose successful teams, comprised of players from both north and south of the border, without any noticeable dissent.

No matter what is recommended as a result of the Brexit negotiations, if it can be seen as a positive step towards long-term peace, then the proposers must be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder in face of the inevitable criticism. They will soon learn that it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time.

The prospect of long-term peace emerging from a difficult situation should not be sacrificed for short-term political gain.

Brian T McFarlane,

14 Balmoral Drive,


IT may only be popular legend that Nero fiddled while Rome burned but I believe posterity will view our rank and file Westminster representatives who fail to demand a second referendum guilty of the same inaction and unconcern, and the small group of hell-bent “Brexit whatever the cost” diehards as the tricoteuses who knitted their way through the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution.

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road, Kilbirnie.

WHEN the UK leaves the EU the Scottish Government will no longer be obliged by EU regulations to offer free university places to students from other EU member nations. Will those places be filled by more Scottish students or will the SNP use the opportunity to fill them with paying foreign students in order to balance the education system books?

Iain MacDonald,


Knockbuckle Lane,


PETER Russell (Letters, June 8) comes across as a determined stick-in-the-mud. He suggests, for example, difficulties with a Scottish immigration policy which have already proved manageable elsewhere, as in Canada.

He suggests that Scotland should look to the rest of the UK for migrant workers without recognising the shortages of labour there in a range of sectors; the health service and agriculture to name two. There is, anyway, already freedom of movement within the UK. It has allowed large numbers of young Scots in particular, over many decades, to move south in the most regionally imbalanced economy in the EU. Indeed, I was one of them, working in London for 15 years. That migration goes some way to explaining the older age profile of the Scottish population compared with that of the UK. Scotland’s greatest export is not whisky or oil but its people.

Mr Russell correctly identifies the uncertainties of Brexit as a brake on the economy. However, if he was to look at the figures for inward investment in Scotland over the years before the 2014 referendum he would see that it continued to do very well and remains second only to London and the south-east of England for inward investment. Strange, perhaps, that so many investors outside Scotland have more confidence in the Scottish economy than Mr Russell.

Then we have the old mantra about the Scottish Government using its existing powers before mentioning independence. There are those, however, who would not like to see them exercised at all especially when it comes to taxation. But who is to judge when devolved powers have been exercised sufficiently fully and widely to allow independence to be mentioned?

Finally, if independence is a fantasy why uniquely so for Scotland? It is popular elsewhere in the world and none are in a rush to give it up.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin (SNP),

City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh.

THE SNP is committed to Nato membership, so does Nicola Sturgeon have an assurance from Donald Trump that removing key Nato assets (currently at HM Naval Base Clyde) from Scotland will not bring economic sanctions?

The Growth Commission report has undermined the economic fiction of the hard left faction in the SNP. It is very difficult to see how any similar reality check on a Scottish independence settlement with continuing Nato obligations could satisfy the anti-nuclear faction of the SNP.

James Robb,

Redclyffe Gardens, Helensburgh.