Readers' Letters: If Scotland could leave UK, how about Yorkshire?

One has to wonder how any part of a united state can secede or be allowed to secede. What determines what part can secede?

If Manchester mayor Andy Burnham wanted his region to secede, what would he be told? (Picture: Carla Speight/Getty Images)

The UK became a united state in 1800 with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after Scotland and England had previously merged as one state (Great Britain) in 1703.Subsequently, by agreement, 26 counties of Ireland were allowed to secede to form the Irish Free State.No part of the UK has since been allowed to secede except that Scotland was offered the opportunity to vote to do so in 2014. In fact, separating Scotland (much more that secession) would have let to the dissolution of not only Great Britain but of the UK itself.

Can a unified state accept such a rupture? It could be argued that this outcome would be so disruptive that secession of Scotland should not be allowed.Why would it be acceptable to agree to secession of Scotland any more than another part of the UK, say Yorkshire with a similar population to Scotland? What about Greater Manchester now with a dynamic and popular mayor? Is there some characteristic of parts of the UK that make secession justified?

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Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Train of thought?

Can someone explain to me why the Scottish Government is telling LNER to stop people sitting next to each other, when you can sit next to someone else on an EasyJet flight to London without any objection from any government?

Brian Carson, Edinburgh

Well done Ben

I have just read our Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson’s self congratulatory article on the brilliant job the Scottish Government has made of implementing the administration of devolved benefits (Perspective, 20 July). He certainly demolishes the myth that taking on these powers were, and some cases are still being, delayed and deferred due to the inability to cope.This success will also give comfort to all us oldies who worry how the State Pension would be be paid post Independence, as plans are obviously in place for a smooth transition to a new Scottish DWP.

Or does the myth that Scots will still receive payment from a UK pension pot in Newcastle still persist?

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Keep us safe

There seems to have been little comment so far on one significance of the Westminster Health Secretary Sajid Javid testing positive for Covid after having had both jags. The significant point is that the minister is isolating to prevent further spread of the virus.

It is evident then that double vaccinated persons can not only contract the virus but also spread it. The continued spread of the virus will allow mutations to develop, some of which will mutate (be copied incorrectly) by the cellular mechanisms (organelles) which the virus uses. The variants which arise from double vaccinated persons will naturally be selected to minimise the effects of these vaccinations on virus reproduction.

The larger the number of infections the larger the chance of dangerous variants arising. Eventually there will arise mutations of the virus which are not hampered by vaccination. Such variants already exist elsewhere, hence the concern over trips to France.

We are in the third wave of the epidemic. The previous two waves peaked because of lockdowns. The disease modellers presumably hope that vaccination and natural immunity will terminate the current third peak of infections. The modellers surely will not yet know if characteristics of the delta variant are such that people take longer to develop dangerous symptoms or take more the artificial 28-day limit to die after Covid testing – and did they take into account that double vaccinated persons can also transmit the infection?

We likely need the third “top up” vaccination to effectively stop the transmission of the virus as well as protect those vaccinated. Why is Westminster conducting this experiment now in the teeth of the storm?

The Scotsman’s recent article on “Freedom Day” reports Professor Mark Woolhouse’s view that England is conducting a dangerous and unethical experiment. It seems that this view is echoed by 1,200 international scientists. Will the Scottish Government heed the scientists call and keep us safe?

Ken Carew, Dumfries

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COP26 danger

Elizabeth Hands's very important point (Letters, 20 July) about the public health hazards from Covid-untested illegal immigrants arriving from afar having crossed many countries en route applies no less to the thousands of delegates due to attend the COP26 climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November. These legal immigrants, representing an additional "elephant in the room", especially if unvaccinated and untested, will bring to Scotland viral variants including resistant types as well as other diseases.

The COP26 conference has cost considerable money and represents a major threat of disease transmission and medical and hospital expenses.

Will those in governmental and health authority please note these very real worries and prepare appropriate plans after drawing appropriate conclusions?

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth, Perth & Kinross

Waste of money

Gill Turner’s has obviously taken time to compose her latest missive, but only in English (Letters, 20 July). Regardless of the origins of the Scottish Government’s Gaelic policy, it is still a complete waste of money and resources, especially when funding is sorely needed in so many other areas of education.

As to the “thousands” of people learning Gaelic, I have not met many. In my own ken, the only examples of that happy band went to the Gaelic School in Glasgow, as it afforded them smaller classes. I cannot comment on the language question in Wales, as I am not au fait with the situation there.

Pauline Carruthers, Dormont, Lockerbie

Keep it simple

I'd make an effort to learn Gaelic once it was written in conventional grapheme-phoneme correspondence. Currently its readability is a hurdle too far for many of us.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

Brains of Britain?

I was appalled by the participants’ total ignorance of Scotland in Monday’s BBC2 University Challenge match between St Hilda’s Oxford and UCL. The Border abbeys were in Dunbartonshire, the Scottish founder of American parks was Teddy Roosevelt and the great split up the middle of Scotland was not the Great Glen, but Grampian...

Such ignorance from the supposedly great brains of Britain from England about us in Scotland bodes badly for our interest and welfare – a small country far away of which we know little and care less (to paraphrase Chamberlain) seems to be the message.

Should we therefore not realise we have to look after ourselves and do so as soon as possible.

Hamish McKenzie, Edinburgh

Bankrupt ideas

Leah Gunn Barrett does like to throw statistics at us, even if some of them aren't worth the paper they're written on (Letters, 17 July).

For example, how can one compare Scotland's number of new Covid infections with those of England without factoring in population density. England has 11 times the population of Scotland, living in an area less than twice that of Scotland's.

Perhaps she would like to give us some accurate statistics on how an independent Scotland would have survived these last 18 months without the billions of pounds poured into the Scottish economy by the UK treasury? We would have been an independent Scotland with no currency of our own, no central bank, our main sources of income dwindling rapidly and out of both the EU and UK Markets.

Not to mention how we would have rolled out a successful vaccination campaign in these conditions

Before we use the "B" word as the solution to the above problems, let's remember that a newly independent country with the disadvantages listed above would have found borrowing on the enormous scale necessary no easy task and if we had somehow managed it, interest and repayments would have scuppered our economy for years to come. I totally understand the emotional appeal independent nationhood has for a lot of Scots. We've all been there at some point or other.

However, life in an independent bankruptcy is hardly an appealing thought.

D Mason, Penicuik, Midlothian

Unimpressed

The news of the First Minister’s now 50-plus army of press advisers is startling. It epitomises the rampant narcissism that engulfs the leadership of the present SNP administration. These are numbers that would be appropriate for the President of the USA, or other major world leaders, not for the leader of a devolved administration in the northern section of the UK. Remember that we, all taxpayers, foot for the bill for this ego-fest.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Look in mirror

Doesn't it occur to former No.10 adviser Dominic Cummings that if the Prime Minister did make that remark about the over-80s, he must have felt that he had a sympathetic listener in Cummings?

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

Royal blue?

I have one question about Prince Harry's forthcoming new book – is it to be read or coloured in?

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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