Size is unimportant, capability is key

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Andrew Gray (Letters, 2 December) describes the attribution to the unionist camp of the view that Scotland is (in the words of another correspondent) “too insignificant, too weak and too puny to stand on its own” as “one of the biggest Nationalist lies”. Excuse me, sir: it is not a lie.

Robert Gritton (Letters, 30 November), no doubt deliberately, used emotive language; but rhetoric apart, that is precisely the notion which unionists have been perpetrating for decades, and it is still the bedrock of the unionist position.

I well remember, at the age of ten, coming home from a primary school class in which our teacher had introduced us to the term “Scottish nationalist”. I announced that I was one, to be firmly told by my mother (also a primary school teacher) that “we’re not big enough to be independent of England”.

And having become aware of it, I recognised that attitude all around me: Scotland’s population was too small and its natural resources too meagre for us to function as an independent state – to which some people, though not others, openly added the assertion that we just wouldn’t be capable of running our own country anyway.

That is the lie which has hoodwinked all too many Scots; and what are the incessant warnings of the dire consequences of independence that emanate daily from the No campaign, if not simply more of the same? Fortunately, we as a nation are at last beginning to see through it.

Derrick McClure

Rosehill Terrace


If Scotland votes for independence then the remainder of the UK (rUK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland) will effectively become a foreign country.

At the moment we enjoy many benefits in our day-to-day dealings with rUK – for example the same currency, single rates for postage, national rate landline and mobile calls, free ATM cash withdrawals, unified car details (insurance, MOT and registration), UK-wide travel insurance and a single pricing at online stores and in mail order catalogues.

We don’t enjoy these features with any other foreign countries, so how can we be sure they will be retained with independence?

The SNP white paper assures us that almost all these will stay the same, with EU rules guaranteeing this in most cases, and common sense in the others.

In negotiations, what is common sense for the small country might not be viewed as such by the larger country.

Better Together says Scotland won’t automatically be in the EU, and both Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and your regular correspondent Alex Orr are suggesting that rUK is likely to leave the EU if there is a vote in 2017. In a rare show of unity, both sides in the debate now appear to agree that, in the event of a Yes vote, it is unlikely that both rUK and Scotland will be in the EU (with one or other leaving, depending on who you believe) so the assurances in the white paper are worthless.

The benefits we currently enjoy might be worth risking if we were being offered a true independent Scotland (outside the EU, inside the European Free Trade Association) with control of fishing, agriculture, foreign affairs, immigration and employment law being held in Edinburgh, not Brussels. But we are not, so they probably aren’t.

Chris Rix



Jim Dear (Letters 2 December). is mistaken in asserting that the United Kingdom was established by the 1603 Union of the Crowns. In point of fact it was established on 1 May, 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by the respective parliaments of Scotland and England.

For the previous 104 years the independent kingdoms of Scotland and England simply shared the same monarch.

Part of the independence settlement following a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum will involve the setting aside of the provisions of the Treaty of Union.

There will then be no continuing United Kingdom and that means the so-called “rest of the UK” will have to find a new name.

Graham M McLeod (Letters, same day) falsely attributes to me views that I have never expressed and do not hold. Far from me advocating the expulsion of England (with Wales and Northern Ireland) from the EU it is the nasty No campaign that wants an independent Scotland expelled.

I have consistently argued that Scotland and England (with Wales and Northern Ireland) should be regarded as successor states of the former UK.

The unionist mantra has it that Scotland is an equal partner within the UK and so is entitled to expect equality of treatment from the EU.

These are serious issues which merit a grown-up debate. In my view there should be no place for this type of personal abuse.


Elm Park


Last week a Twitter message gave out an e-mail address for requesting a copy of the white paper, Scotland’s Future. I have applied for my copy and am waiting expectantly.

However, I’ve now received, as presumably part of a national mailshot, a postcard from the Scottish Government which tells me that if I wish to read the document I should either download the e-book or ask my local library for a copy. Given the importance of the independence vote, I am surprised and disappointed that more effort has not been made to provide members of the public with copies of this document.

Admittedly it’s a large one, but not all of us have Kindles and such, or even like reading online – in my experience, it’s much easier to get the main message from a document by being able to scan through the paper version.

And given the length of the document, how many copies will libraries have to share out among interested readers?

Personally, I’d be happy to pay for my copy and I’m sure others would – why not just make copies available for sale in outlets like WH Smith? Wider availability of the document would surely benefit both sides of the independence debate.

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road


Does an independent Scotland plan to change the order of the alphabet? One of your fellow countrymen has just telephoned us to complain vociferously at England coming before Scotland in a list of our students’ nationalities.

Explaining it is an alphabetical list did not pacify him.

(Dr) Michael Paraskos

Cyprus College of Art