Independence will do a power of good

FOREIGN Secretary William Hague is wrong in stating that the UK would be weaker on the world stage after a Yes vote (your report, 21 June).

Westminster and Holyrood would have one vote each in the United Nations General Assembly so doubling our influence in the world’s top democratic forum.

Westminster would also retain its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, provided it retains its atomic weapons, but would be joined by Holyrood from time to time as a temporary member.

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European Union votes are allocated non-linearly, so Westminster would lose fewer than Holyrood would gain, maybe five lost for seven gained. Then in terms of states, we would be two instead of one.

I suspect that Mr Hague means England, or the remainder of the United Kingdom or Westminster or even his own personal influence would be lessened by independence. But perhaps this should not be Scotland’s priority when pondering which way to vote in 2014.

George Shering


IN ACKNOWLEDGING that Britain’s influence would be diminished on the world stage (your report, 21 June) Foreign Secretary William Hague is at last beginning to face up to the reality of Scottish independence.

But in continuing to refer to the “diminished” country as the UK, Mr Hague shows just how far he is from grasping the full implications of any change.

The United Kingdom was formed by uniting the realms of England and Scotland, and no others. The coat of arms of the resulting country (Britain) is formed of the Scottish lion and the English unicorn supporting the crown of those two nations – take away the lion and you are left with England’s unicorn and the crown; take away the blue-and-white Scottish elements from the Union Flag and the only element of any significance left is England’s St George’s Cross. 

Trying to claim that what’s left of this sundered kingdom will still be “United” is a nonsense.

Wales ceased to be a nation centuries before the Union and Tony Blair sold Northern Ireland down the river to placate the IRA, so what will be left is England. Why are the English suddenly so coy about using their country’s name? 

Irvine Inglis



YOUR correspondent Andrew Gray (Letters, 21 June) states that the Channel Islands governments for all their relative independence are not hostile to the UK.

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Is he suggesting that if they were completely independent they would be hostile to the UK? It does however appear that, unlike Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have constitutional arrangements that they are content with and processes for regularly reviewing those constitutional arrangements.

The fact the SNP government is pursuing a policy objective the SNP has held since its formation (and sought support for through the processes of democracy only) does not make it hostile to the UK and does not make the SNP an anti-British party, just one that seeks a constitutional future for Scotland outside the construct of the present British state.

Mr Gray states that “if the SNP were not anti-British, it might be possible to make an arrangement within the UK to “float off” Scotland and to have a looser relationship”.

Is he suggesting that it is simply Unionist misconceptions of the SNP’s position that is stopping all of the Unionist parties from getting together and putting forward proposals for some form of secure autonomy for Scotland?

I must also take issue with your correspondent David Fiddimore (Letters, 21 June). The holding of a referendum in pursuit of policy objectives on which the party of government stood for election is, regardless of the result, an entirely proper use of public funds.

The appropriate authorities must be held to account, however, where a referendum or election is not conducted properly and as a result incurs additional costs which have to be borne by the public.

I would prefer a system as in Switzerland where a referendum must be held if certain set criteria are met and the meeting of these criteria is the justification for the use of public funds.

Mr Fiddimore’s logic would suggest that a government that retains power following an election should be punished for holding the “unnecessary”election in the first place.

Andrew Parrott