Lawyers do not have all the answers

I always thought that lawyers gave opinions based on facts. However, Messrs Cherry, Mitchell and Gianni have disabused me of this with their letter (26 June).

While they are entitled to their opinion, how can they possibly state that “it is clear that independence will bring a more prosperous country and guarantee that the people of Scotland will always be ruled by governments they have voted for”?

Do they have a functioning crystal ball or a link to a higher plane than the rest of us? If so can they please tell me, post-independence: what would the Scottish currency be? Would we be in the EU? If so, on what terms? Who will set our borrowing rate?

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Will we have an elected second chamber completely free from lower house interference? What type of border will we have with England and the rest of Europe?

What will the price of oil be in five, 10 and 15 years’ time? What level of personal taxation will we have in the same periods? I have many more questions on areas that are crucial to Scottish prosperity and if these lawyers can give me answers to the above, I’ll be back with more.

Until they are answered fully, they, like me, have absolutely no idea if we would be more prosperous – but I very much doubt it.

Having “QC” after your name does not make your raw opinion more valid than the next person’s.

As to having the government we voted for, the answer is that exactly like now: some of us will and some won’t.

David K Allan


Haddington, East Lothian

May I hastily dissociate myself from the view that the motive of the Lawyers for Yes group is to line their pockets. That allegation is an unfortunate distraction from more material issues.

I am directed by the signatories of the Lawyers for Yes letter (26 June) to their website for details on the EU question. I find there one article on the EU written by Graham Avery of the European Policy Centre. It does not claim that Scotland is a member of the EU.

It is obvious that Scotland will remain “within” the EU by being within the UK until at least 24 March, 2016. In the event of a Yes vote Mr Avery’s article would seem at most to be claiming that if – and it is a big if – accession negotiations could be successfully completed by March 2016 then only in that sense could Scotland “remain” within the EU.

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If negotiations were not completed then Scotland would not be in the EU at that point whatever its 

What exactly was meant therefore by the statement in the Yes lawyers’ letter (23 June) that Scotland could “remain in the EU as long as it wished”? The evidence from their own website contradicts this claim.

When groups such as this one make public their views you might expect to be enlightened as a result of their expertise in a particular area. When they get it wrong it somewhat undermines their credibility.

Moreover, what special insight do lawyers have which would compel us to accept such claims as “what is clear is that independence will bring a fairer and more prosperous country”? Is this an expert legal opinion or effectively just an expression of a political preference which has no more force because it comes from a body of distinguished lawyers?

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue


Yet more lawyers have come out in favour of a Yes referendum vote. It was, however, disconcerting that they should repeat the standard SNP PR generalisations that all would be better separate from the Union.

We read: independence “will bring a fairer and more prosperous country”, and “guarantee the people of Scotland will always be governed by governments they have voted for” and “will enhance democracy by tackling inequality”.

Absolute certainty about the very long-term but nothing about how all this will eventuate, and nothing about the financial details – just like the uncosted wish list of the white paper, Scotland’s Future.

No acknowledgement that Scotland is already quite well placed in the broader UK.

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It might be expected that this highly respected profession would adopt a more balanced approach to such a momentous decision and come up with profound supporting arguments for their views.

But no: instead we have the Yes campaigners’ jingoistic reiterations. It is to be hoped that they will rectify this anomaly and make a proper case.

Joe Darby