Like death and taxes, the issue of Scottish independence will, it seems, always be with us. 

Earlier this week, one of our readers looked across the sea to Northern Ireland and cast envious eyes over that country’s constitutional options. 

Read more: Why do they deny us the same rights as Northern Ireland?

Today, however, one of our correspondents argues that Scotland is actually in a more favourable position. 

Peter A Russell of Glasgow writes:

"Eric Melvin (Letters, February 13) is quite wrong when he tells us that the people of Ireland 'have the constitutional right to hold a referendum on whether there should be a united Ireland'.

"In truth, the right to hold such a referendum is solely in the hands of the UK Secretary of State and only if and when he is confident that it would succeed. (And to be precise, that responsibility is not a UK constitutional provision, but one which is conferred by an international treaty.) 

"Mr Melvin is also wrong when he unfavourably compares the Northern Ireland situation with that of Scotland. For Scotland to have a referendum, all that is needed is to secure the agreement of our Westminster Government (which we elect with the other UK home nations) with Scotland's devolved parliament at Holyrood.

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"To put the decision into the hands of elected bodies rather than in those of a single individual (who in the case of Northern Ireland is not accountable to single voter who would be affected) is surely a much better arrangement. 

"And while some may argue that it is not possible to hold a referendum in Scotland while our Westminster Government is in the hands of a party or parties which oppose Scottish independence, the evidence is the opposite: this was exactly what happened in 2014.

"On that occasion, a Tory-led government opposed to independence agreed that a referendum should be held, and it was left to the nationalists to determine its date, its wording and its franchise. (And they still lost.)"