I will say this for Mr Andrew Gray: he is your only anti- independence correspondent who writes as if the Union had a positive value, rather than being merely something in which to hide from the even more dreadful state – as the rest would have us believe – of independence (Letters, 7 February).
Yet does he not recognise the weakness of his arguments.
To say that Scotland has a place in the world because it is part of the United Kingdom is nonsense: he might as well say that of Renfrewshire or Iona.
How does he imagine independence will entail “splitting from our friends and family in England”? I have a son in Exeter: would Mr Gray have me worrying that any factor, other than the obvious one of distance, will mean that I have less connection with him than with my other sons in Portobello and Kirkcudbright, after independence any more than before it?
And ad hominem gibes at Alex Salmond are wholly irrelevant: the independence movement is far greater than one man or one party; and Scotland will be flourishing as an independent country long after Mr Salmond’s time in power.
Sentimental attachment to a system which has patently had its day is neither realistic nor useful. Mr Gray should be looking forward instead to contributing to Scotland’s progress in the new phase of its history.
Any nation given the opportunity to regain its national sovereignty and which then rejects it is so far beneath contempt that it is hard to put words to it.
R Mill Irving
Gifford, East Lothian
While far from wishing to put a dampener on Mr Calum Stewart’s enthusiasm (Letters, 6 February), I should point out that the separation of the Czech and the Slovak Republics did not happen almost overnight as he describes. I had a hugely interesting opportunity to witness all this as a member of president Vaclav Havel’s foreign advisory group at that time.
Without going into great detail, the whole situation was rather different from what we have here: in 1992, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic was already administratively divided, with two National Assemblies, one Czech and the other one Slovak, and with a top chamber, the Federal Parliament, as well.
The two principal players, both prime ministers, Mr Vaclav Klaus for the Czech Republic and Mr Vladimir Meciar for the Slovak Republic, showed a degree of understanding of the situation and each other.
Nevertheless, although the administrative separation in January 1993 proved to be a reasonably swift affair (following the Slovak National Council’s declaration of Slovak sovereignty in July 1992 and acceptance of the Slovak constitution in September 1992, and similarly that of the Czech National Council’s acceptance of a new constitution in December 1992), the wrangling about the currencies, money and property lasted until the final settlement in 1999.
(Dr) Paul Millar
Does any reader know anyone who announced plans for their divorce party, before being sure of getting their divorce?
If so, would such a person be considered fit to run a raffle, never mind run the country?