No escaping the laws on human rights

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I HAVE considerable sympathy with W Mathers’ criticism of the scaremongering surrounding whether Scotland would automatically become a member of the European Union in the event of a vote for independence, (Letters, 
8 December).

While the SNP administration clearly favours such an outcome, it is equally obvious that some pro-independence supporters – including, for 
example, the former SNP MP Jim Sillars – would rather have an independent Scotland sign up to the European Free Trade Association (Efta).

In this respect can I point out that a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum will not settle the question of continuing EU –
or Efta – membership for all time, but that either option will remain open not just to the country’s elected politicians at the Holyrood parliament but, conceivably also, to the electorate as a whole in subsequent referendums focused on the terms of 
membership negotiated with 
either or both supra-national bodies.

However, on one point I must strongly disagree with Mr Mathers. Neither a UK nor an independent Scottish decision to withdraw from the EU would result in the removal of European Court of Human Rights legislation from our legal systems, as the UK signed up to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights as far back as 1950. In other words, prior to the foundation of the EU – or Common Market, as it was initially called – in 1957.

In or out of the EU, I would therefore confidently expect the majority of our MSPs in 
all parties to continue to 
respect the ensuing ECHR 


Clarence Drive


The confusion surrounding an EU membership of an independent Scotland must be done and dusted well ahead of any referendum.

If not, we shall all be voting in the dark for a pig in a poke. Doubtless some might see 
no harm in that, but I hope, in that case, that the majority will refuse to take part to the extent that the result is invalidated.



East Lothian