Devolved thinking backs referendums

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It is difficult to understand Alex Salmond’s logic over his criticism of Westminster’s plans for a referendum on membership of the European Union (your report, 15 May).

Is Mr Salmond not calling for a referendum to decide the future of Scotland within the UK? Why should Westminster, taking into account the rise of anti-EU parties, not have a referendum over the UK’s future within the EU?

In both referendums there appear to be significant numbers wanting change and, while there still appears to be a majority for staying in the EU in Scotland, the figures go the other way south of the Border.

In fact, the whole question of SNP enthusiasm for EU membership is puzzling. It is now clear the EU is moving towards economic integration and a single entity centrally controlled with a large part of the central decision-making apparatus not being democratically elected and working to the benefit of the larger, former states such as Germany and France rather than the smaller peripheral states such as Scotland.

Since part of Mr Salmond’s argument for independence is moving economic decision-making from Westminster (where it often works to the advantage of the South-east and to the detriment of Scotland) to Edinburgh to make it more relevant to Scottish needs, why then would he want to hand these powers to a central European government even more remote than Westminster?

The whole point of both referendums is to hand ­powers to a more local level. 
Perhaps an independent Scotland should think more about its membership of 
the EU and Nato and whether they are really in our 
interests.

Bruce D Skivington

Strath

Gairloch, Wester Ross

The Conservative rebellion over the holding of a referendum on EU membership, despite the publishing of a draft bill, is symptomatic of the Ukip tail wagging the Tory dog.

The Tory argument for not holding a referendum now, but waiting until 2017 after the next general election, is opposition from coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. Curiously, the Lib Dems seem to have escaped under the radar on this issue as in the run-up to the 2010 general election they urged a “real referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU”.

As with their pledge to resist an increase in tuition fees, this is yet another Lib Dem promise which has gone to the wall and which the ­Tories seem reluctant to highlight.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace

Edinburgh

You write that “Mr Salmond has seen an opportunity and… grabbed it with both hands” (Leader, 15 May).

I disagree. By saying that a Yes vote for independence would mean that Scotland stayed in the EU, he risks alienating the large minority who want out, but, more importantly, he yet again
reveals the SNP’s disdain for the democratic process.

Any decision about EU, or for that matter Nato, membership must be the responsibility of a future Scottish sovereign parliament, a body which doesn’t yet exist and of whose likely composition we know nothing. I fail to understand why the SNP is so determined to limit the scope of the independence debate, and so hostile to the idea of maximising support for its cause.

Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, national sovereignty is too important to be left to the First Minister.

Andrew Anderson

Granton Road

Edinburgh