The modern understanding of democratic authority is this.

By consent of the people, the Queen in Parliament represents the ultimate authority of the people.

It follows that the people need no consent from anywhere to hold a plebiscite.

It is time for a national petition in the United Kingdom to demand a new referendum on Britain in Europe.

The opportunist destruction raging at Westminster must be halted.

So far as I can tell, there might be support in the four nations of the UK for staying in the single market but leaving the Common Fisheries and Common Agricultural Policies. There might even be support for dropping the brexit idea altogether.

Only the people can answer that, but two things are clear. First, the leave-or-not question of 2016 has left too much for our legislators to fight about. It was an insufficient question. Second, many people who did not vote are sorry now

No authority is required to raise a petition, so let's just do it.

Tim Cox

Bern, Switzerland

As the UK's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities we were interested to read Phil Miller's article on what Brexit might mean for the arts in Scotland (Herald on Sunday, December 9).

The piece rightly noted the British Council’s role in convening representatives from the culture sector in the UK and across Europe to identify their future priorities in light of Brexit, but it did not reflect other important work we are doing in this area which we wish to highlight.

Through our longstanding arts partnership with Creative Scotland we are prioritising the EU in our work over the next three years, and actively seeking to support projects, ideas and initiatives that can continue to strengthen the Scottish cultural sector’s links with EU counterparts.

Last month we hosted an event at the Lighthouse in Glasgow to hear from the arts community on what they need from us to enable their future working with European partners. We also shared our recently refreshed EU and Europe arts strategy, and highlighted opportunities to engage in a forthcoming season of work we will be delivering in Italy in 2020

British Council Scotland is a member of the Scotland + Venice partnership and is supporting the professional development programme for the 2019 presentation by Charlotte Prodger.

We work in partnership by default and are very happy to engage with any individual or organisation in the cultural sector on their future work in Europe and the EU region.

Norah Campbell

Head of Arts

British Council Scotland

The result of the referendum was 52/48 binary choice in favour for leave versus remain. Theresa May has tried very hard to be all things to all men/women, by drafting a withdrawal agreement reflecting similar percentage proportions of the vote which, unfortunately, is not what the result of the referendum was about.

It was a black or white, yes or no, leave or remain vote. It was only after the result was known that we started hearing of "hard Brexit","soft Brexit", "cliff edges", "blind Brexit" "leaps of faith", "Canada style", "Norway style" and more. It is clear now the wrong question was asked at the referendum with so many variants now possible.

Who is to blame for this mess? The EU? David Cameron? Nigel Farage? Backbench Tories? It does not matter now, it was we the people who made the choice.

We should admit our mistakes if we have made them, but it is hard to know who is right when each side can make compelling arguments as to how bad it will be in, or out, of the EU.

The only ones winning are the separatists whose only purpose is to revel in this excruciating process while making as much mischief as possible without showing any responsibility towards the UK. The very same people who would do it all again to drag Scotland back 300 years out of the Union.

Allan Thompson



I see in the latest SNP draft Scottish budget, international relations spending will increase to £23.9 million by 2019-20.

Why? International relations are retained by Westminster, not devolved. Holyrood's remit is entirely domestic – this money should be spent on the NHS, education and other vital public services.

Why doesn't Westminster take action to stop Nicola Sturgeon using British taxpayers' money to fund her party's self-aggrandisement?

Martin Redfern



The article on "missed patient targets" (News, December 9) would have more impact if it described the missed targets as Lothian Health Board not achieving any of the national performance targets.

The Scottish Government's response, that they had given the board more money, doesn't appear to have addressed the problem as the board failed to meet most of the targets the previous year.

The recent announcement that the Government will withdraw their edict that the health boards should not use outside support to meet targets will help, but it would be better if the problem was addressed in the long term rather than the short term additional funding that is produced every time the issue gets into the media.

George Horne


Oh for goodness sake Gordon Brown, I thought you were a statesman and above this petty political backbiting and sniping from behind the sofa (Herald on Sunday, December 2). The Scottish Government has "short-changed" the NHS in Scotland, again! Huh!

I am not an economist nor am I an accountant, but a simple study of the statistics produced by more informed and respected minds than mine, such as The Fraser of Allander Institute for example, dispute the claims being made by the former Chancellor.

They believe that over the past seven or eight years, the Scottish budget has decreased in real terms. OK, Derek Mackay claims eight or nine per cent, and the Institute claims three or four per cent, but it's still a decrease. Over the same period they claims that the NHS budget in Scotland has increased by £2 billion in real terms.

Is it enough? Probably not. Could it ever be enough? Probably not, but let's assume that Derek Mackay decides to pour money into our NHS; the Scottish budget is fixed.

So please Mr Brown, instead of just complaining and criticising, let us have your ideas, let us hear which other departmental budget you would take money from?

Then, having supposedly reduced the budgets from education, police, fire services etc, jjust how you would fund the wage increase demands for teachers?

Leslie Lambert



The UN Environmental Program said that the promises to reduce emissions agreed in Paris three years ago would need to triple to keep global warming below 2C.

America has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement with Brazil and others planning to follow. America refused to contribute to the $100bn-a-year climate fund for developing nations and was the carrot to entice them to agree to the Paris agreement. China and India (36 per cent of global emissions) will increase their emissions until at least 2030.

The Paris accord is crumbling as are the climate predictions.

The most famous failed climate prediction was from Al Gore in 2006 that sea levels would rise by 20 feet "in the very near future". When will the remaining 19 feet 11.5 inches happen?

Clark Cross