Let’s integrate properly into Europe

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The ironic point has been made before that the SNP, while wishing to leave the UK and therefore our biggest trading partners who also pay us in Scotland handsomely (and more than per head in England) is desperately keen to forge closer links with a diversity of countries in Europe instead, many of whom wish ever closer union.

Yet Nicola Sturgeon refuses to share a pro-European platform with David Cameron – afraid of being seen to agree with him on something, I daresay (your report, 2 June).

She makes the point about the number of Scots making their way in Europe and vice versa.

What about the very much larger number of Scots making their way well in England, and again, vice versa?

My impression today is that few Scots speak a European language fluently, other than their own (there is an exception to be made for Gaelic speakers, although there are few partners in Europe who would understand us speaking this language rather than the English, which Gaelic speakers all know well).

I am impressed, on the other hand, by how many young people from Europe working throughout the UK today, including Scotland, speak extremely fluent English.

It seems irrational that the SNP wish to leave England (and Wales and the Northern Ireland) where we can communicate easily and travel back and forth with no problems, for a much greater uncertainty as a tiny country with few linguistic skills at the bottom of the power heap in Europe.

Much better to stay in the UK and have a voice at the European table which will be heard. The two big players France and Germany are very keen for the UK to stay in Europe.

Perhaps we should work hard to learn a few other languages to the point of fluency so we can bargain and have a voice in the other cultures who are the major players in Europe and, indeed, the world.

Only by learning another language can anyone have that extra insight into the culture of other countries. This in turn enables us to have a greater understanding and influence.

John Donne’s No Man is an Island is always in my mind when I think of this complex and violent world, and where better to start than being glad to be part of the UK where we still have freedom of speech and action (unless one is an SNP MP).

Why else would so many people from throughout the world wish to come here? We in Scotland should stop dreaming of a cloud-cuckoo land where everything will be OK as long as Scotland is free of the lower portion of our shared island; the world is too complex and dangerous. Much better to be part of a UK with a strong voice in Europe.

Rosemary 
Cole-Hamilton

Buchanan Gardens

St Andrews

I had not previously thought of Nicola Sturgeon as a having much of a sense of humour until I read that she pledges “to claw back powers from the EU”.

While doubts could rightly be expressed about David Cameron’s motives, strategy and objectives in attempting to negotiate with Brussels, at least he has the incentives of a referendum to win and a constituency of euro-sceptics within his own party to satisfy.

Our First Minster, on the other hand, leads a highly disciplined party which dominates Scottish politics and has long operated on the assumption of Westminster: bad, Brussels: good.

Also, the SNP has a history of turning a blind eye to Scottish interests if it doesn’t fit this narrative. For example, why have they been content for our fishing industry to die and for Brussels to control our fishing waters?

Furthermore, Brussels has every incentive not to concede anything to Edinburgh, because it would only stoke separatist tensions in other member states, notably in Catalonia.

In some respects, however, Cameron and Sturgeon do have a similar approach to Europe. Both are committed to our continued membership of the EU come what may and both accept the acquis communautaire under which powers, once conceded to Brussels, are never returned, thus neither seeks to repatriate legislative power to our island.

While David Cameron will at least go through the motions of negotiating, Nicola Sturgeon will attempt to simultaneously make demands of Brussels, and decry the Prime Minster for doing likewise. Perhaps, rather than a sense of humour, the First Minister merely has shameless brass neck.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove

Edinburgh

Could someone please explain to me how Nicola Sturgeon is going carry out her pledge to bring back powers from the European Union.

I thought that was something that the Prime Minister, representing the United Kingdom, can attempt and is attempting to do.

Ms Sturgeon cannot negotiate for the UK. She may well support the idea of powers being returned to sovereign governments and I am sure David Cameron would welcome her support but she is unlikely to give her support directly to him, unlike Mr Salmond, who appears to be willing to campaign alongside George Osborne to keep the UK within Europe.

This is yet another piece of grandstanding on her part. Perhaps the lady should start concentrating on her actual job and sort out the mess that health and education, amongst other things, have gradually become on the SNP’s watch.

John B Gorrie

Craigmount Gardens

Edinburgh