Safer passports

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The concerns of some of your correspondents over their passports (Letters, 12 June) sum up the overriding characteristic of many who oppose independence: unsubstantiated pessimism.

On defence, the economy, international relations and now passports, the No campaign seeks to sow and cultivate a fear of change, whereas I see all of these as areas of enormous opportunity for an independent Scotland to improve on the status quo.

The passport example is timely for me, having just returned from a security training course for those who travel to the world’s more dangerous areas. There were many nationalities represented, but the Brits among us were told (by the British security expert) if we qualified for an Irish passport, we should apply as it is a safer option. He said the riskiest passports to hold were those of the UK, America and Israel.

With an English father and a Scottish mother, I might have a choice to make in the event of independence – but it would be an easy one. Not only would my Scottish passport be a welcome new symbol of my identity in the eyes of our friends overseas (where all too often I am assumed to be English), it would also make me safer.

The security expert’s comment also suggested that an independent Scotland, unhindered by the UK’s often-aggressive foreign policy, would benefit from a substantially reduced threat from terrorism. I’m sure the pessimists will try to tell me otherwise.

C Hegarty

Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

Home Secretary Theresa May is the latest of a long line of politicians who persist in referring to the “UK without Scotland” or “the rest of the UK”, but it has not been verified by any reliable constitutional authority that there would be any UK if England’s union with Scotland were dissolved.

Both Wales and Northern Ireland have historical unions with the UK, not with England. The likely result of Scotland’s separation from England would be that the UK as a political entity would cease to exist and the constitutional position of Wales and Northern Ireland would be undefined.

It is regrettable that the exact constitutional relationships have not been either verified or refuted long before this.

Peter Dryburgh

Newbattle Terrace