European folly

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The bureaucratic reply by the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso (your report, 14 December), though welcomed by the unionists, is a political, not a legal dictum, and is quite misguided.

The decision for the EU is: “Do they want Scotland – and perhaps later the Catalans, Basques, and Flemings – to remain in the EU or not?” If they want us to leave, they need only say so.

If they want us as members, it is utter folly to suggest that we should be required to leave, make other arrangements, then after a few months, or years, undo these arrangements and restore our present EU-
compliant system.

The EU can consider as a matter of urgency whether it wants us or not, on basically the present terms, and give an ­answer in the next few months.

The Scottish Government was not in a position to ask the question until the Edinburgh Agreement confirmed that Westminster (and Holyrood) would accept the result of the referendum. It does none of the parties any good to extend the period of doubt.

To limit that doubt, the Scottish Government should now, as suggested by Jim Sillars and others, ask whether, and on what terms, Scotland could from ­independence day be a member of the European Free Trade Association, and if this would give us effective freedom of trade with EU countries.

John Smart

Kinneddar Street


If Graham M McLeod (Letters, 13 December) thinks that by falsely attributing to me views which I have not expressed and do not hold he is advancing the No campaign, he should think again.

Contrary to his assertion, I have no desire to see England disadvantaged and argued that England and Scotland were entitled to inherit the same rights and obligations as successor states of the former United Kingdom. It is the nasty anti-Scottish No campaign that wants Scotland expelled from Europe.

Steuart Campbell (Letters, same day) has a problem with terminology. The UK was created by the union of two sovereign states – the Kingdoms of Scotland and England.

If Scotland exercises its democratic right of self-determination and opts out of the Union the Union will cease to exist. It will be dissolved.

That is not an assertion: it is 
an indisputable fact. Secession has nothing whatever to do with the case.

In accepting England as the member state and claiming that Scotland would be a new state, Borroso and his fellow commissioners need to be reminded that at no time has Scotland been part of the territory of 


Elm Park


It is always heartening to see the robust responses from Bill McLean in these letters pages to anything I have contributed that he deems as “anti-SNP”. According to his latest diatribe (Letters 14 December), over the past few years I have apparently contributed numerous doubtful “assertions” regarding the SNP and its works to these pages.

One is irresistibly reminded of the old proverb about throwing stones while living in glass houses, since the majority of the very welcome letters from Mr McLean have almost invariably been assertions made by the SNP government ranging from Nato, renewable energy, benefits, extremely selective quotes from the Leveson Inquiry and the latest blooper about membership of the EU.

Perhaps a mainstream point of view is needed to remind the general public that the promised land of milk and honey exists only in the fevered imaginings of the SNP and its hardcore of unquestioning supporters.

Brian Allan

Keith Street