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I THINK that many of us will have recognised the importance of last week’s vote preventing Britain taking military action over Syria.

Until someone can prove that president Bashar al-Assad’s thugs committed the dreadful attack that killed so many civilians with sarin, I think that many of us realise that such an attack could quite easily have been made by Islamist rebels bent on drawing the western powers into the conflict to do their dirty work for them.

Parliament voted the way it did because we simply do not know who perpetrated this dreadful act. Thus it was that I was puzzled by Ian O Bayne’s letter (2 September). He points out that but for 44 out of the total of 59 Scottish MPs voting against the “coalition administration’s policy … we in Scotland would be facing the grim prospect of being dragged into … war”. Indeed. That is how the Union works and it shows how influential our Scots MPs are in making the wishes not only of Scots, but also of the majority of British people, known to the government. However, it could have been the other way round, had Scotland been a separate country.

Although I have no evidence to prove that it was the majority of English MPs that wanted to go to war, as Mr Bayne contends (it could just as easily have been Welsh or Ulster MPs who swung it that way), had our MPs not been there, then the rest of the UK could have been going to war and Scotland would have had no influence to prevent it. That is the obvious consequence of going it alone, as the SNP wants. Luckily, that is not the position we are in. It shows the effect of Scottish influence in a UK context, which, I rather think, was not Mr Bayne’s intent. Nonetheless, it proves the point that the Union works for all of us.

Andrew HN Gray

Craiglea Drive

Edinburgh

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