So now we know that The Scotsman’s front-page lead on Scotland and the European Union (6 December) was not based, as you claimed, on a letter sent to the House of Lords by an unknown official, but on no letter at all.
You did have the good grace to correct this in a small column on page five (7 December), however you compound your problems by having another front-page lead based on a reply by the European Commission’s president in 2004, which was clearly directed towards Spain.
Why don’t you interview Lord John Kerr, former head of the Foreign Office, who drafted the EU constitution?
When asked how long it would take Scotland to join the EU when it became independent, Lord Kerr replied: “About 24 hours.” But then, I suppose, that wouldn’t suit The Scotsman’s Unionist agenda.
At a time when journalistic standards are under scrutiny after the Leveson Inquiry and regulation of the press in Scotland is a real possibility, I would expect better from Scotland’s national newspaper.
The Scotsman and its columnists offer spirited debate on the future of Scotland, and this is to be welcomed. However, you should not let your editorial views distort your news values.
In the days following Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement, which attacks the living standards of many Scots, to lead your front page on Scotland and the EU two days’ running on the basis of flimsy evidence is, frankly, perverse.
It has been intriguing to read the acres of newsprint devoted to the supposed contents of a draft letter apparently sent by the European Commission to the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee saying that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership.
Making contact with some of my links in the EC, it quickly became patently clear that no letter had been sent to the committee.
This whole story has, therefore, been based on a letter which had not even been sent, and the contents of which are still unknown. An explanation of why such coverage has been given to this is clearly required.
When Scotland votes in the referendum in 2014, and assuming there is a Yes vote, Scotland will still be, at that stage, a part of the United Kingdom.
There has to be a negotiation about the detail and the terms of Scotland’s membership of the European Union, but crucially that will be taking place at a time when we are still part of the UK, and still part of the EU, of which we have been members for 40 years.
As a consequence of that, we will be negotiating our arrangements and our membership of the EU from within the EU, which is the key point of distinction.
in his statement that an independent Scotland must re-apply for membership of the European Union, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, displays what one has come to expect: the insolence, arrogance and ignorance of the typical Eurocrat.
It is not for him, a servant of the people of Europe, to dictate to us Scots what the future may or may not hold.
Or are he and his clique of upper-echelon Eurocrats beyond democratic accountability?
I would remind him and his clique that should Scotland become independent then the state now known as the United Kingdom would cease to exist.
So, if Scotland must reapply, surely the remnant of what was the United Kingdom must do likewise. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Robert M Dunn
I can’t understand all the scaremongering surrounding whether Scotland would automatically become a member of the EU in the event of a vote for independence. Perhaps we would be better off outside the EU. At least we would have the opportunity of getting our fishing grounds back, along with our oil and gas reserves. Norway is not a member of the EU, and is doing rather nicely on the outside, thank you.
In the same vein, the UK would probably also be better off outside the EU. Apart from saving billions in contributions, perhaps there could also be a move towards removing European Court of Human Rights legislation from our legal systems.