LIKE a number of others, your thought-provoking columnist Iain Macwhirter seems to be saying that, in 2014, the Scots were conned by a malevolent (English – Boo, hiss) establishment into rejecting independence by the prospect of remaining in the EU, which they had no intention whatsoever of honouring ("Yet more evidence that Scots were played for fools in 2014", The Herald, February 19).

The retrospectoscope is a wonderful instrument, but I think it important to remember that people at all levels of society plan their futures on the basis of the situation as it appears to them at the time. I suspect that, when David Cameron announced the referendum in 2013, in order to try to stem the haemorrhage of voters from the Conservative Party to Ukip, he never expected that he would be called upon to deliver, since the political runes at the time were that the best the Conservatives could hope for in the 2015 General Election was a further period of coalition with the Liberal Democrats, whose pronounced Europhilia would simply not countenance such a move.

Even when the Conservatives emerged from that election with a workable majority, it was widely held that, even although there was a significant degree of Euroscepticism in the UK, more so in England, the Remain side would win with a significant majority, a view that was maintained by just about all the opinion polls before and throughout the referendum campaign.

You have published letters from me before, in which I have maintained that many of us who voted Leave do not have a pathological loathing of the EU. Had Mr Cameron and his ministers who visited Europe in late 2015/early 2016 returned with some evidence that the EU was prepared to make some significant amendments to its structure and function, then sufficient of us might have put our crosses in the Remain box instead, to carry the day for Remain.

"What if...." and conjecture are fundamental processes of historical analysis. We have stumbled into the current situation in much the same way as the miscalculations by the nations of Europe blundered into the First World War One. I can only hope that the economic consequences will not be so tragic.

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.

FOR how much longer will you continue to publish letters from "Remoaners" unable to accept that we have voted to leave the EU and stand on our own two feet? My message to them is: you lost, get over it.

The latest forecast of woe, pestilence and the imminent arrival of the four horsemen in the letter (February 20) from Eric Melvin full of old rehashed prophesies of doom and quotes from such luminaries as Michel Barnier, really is past its sell-by and adds nothing to the informed debate.

We are leaving and only time will tell if we made the correct decision. I voted Remain, but now it's time to get on with it, as no one knows with any certainty how it will all pan out.

James Martin, Bearsden.

THE letters from Jill Stephenson and John Dunlop (February 19) seem rather mean-spirited. There are many good reasons for Scotland investing in Europe and the wider world, not least to contravene the prevailing wind at Westminster. Scotland has a long and valued connection with Malawi, for example, which continues to inspire our younger generation in several ways. Many Europeans have made Scotland their home and many Scots live and study in Europe. To suggest that the government of Scotland should not maintain these links to save a few bawbees is ludicrous.

Stuart Chalmers, East Kilbride.

LEADING lights in the SNP are arguing amongst themselves about the advisability or otherwise of holding what they call an "advisory" independence poll without the UK Government’s approval. The current two are Joanna Cherry for and Pete Wishart against (“Veteran hits out at ‘advisory' Indy poll", The Herald, February 20) .

I think they are wasting their breath. Such an "advisory" poll is unnecessary, as like it or not something akin to it is going to happen anyway when the popular vote in the 2021 Scottish election is totalled. All the parties contesting that election will have manifesto commitments for or against holding Indyref2 and inevitably whichever side has the majority of the popular vote will interpret that as sufficient advice from the electorate as to its position on any Indyref2.

Westminster would celebrate an against vote as demonstrating popular support for its stance of refusal, but equally would have difficulty holding to that stance should the majority vote be for. Therefore, there is all to vote for (or against) in 2021.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.