Scotland's ability to influence its fate is non-existent '“ time for a new approach

The first political event to make an impression on me was the general election of 1987, when I remember hearing that Scotland had overwhelmingly rejected Margaret Thatcher, yet she would still be our Prime Minister.

Even as someone who was then too young to vote, I remember the feeling of helplessness. I had the exact same feeling of helplessness last Friday, on hearing that Scotland had expressed a clear desire to remain inside the European Union, yet would be taken out anyway.

It made me reflect on all of the really contentious decisions over the past few decades – such as the Thatcherite programme, the war in Iraq, or the replacement of Trident.

In each of these fundamental choices, Scotland has preferred the opposite approach to the one taken in its name. And now we can add Brexit to the list.

Last year Scotland elected one MP who wanted an EU referendum and 58 who did not. Yet we’ve had that referendum, and it has produced a game-changing outcome that we voted firmly against.

For me, one of the strongest arguments against Scottish independence is to say that we should stay and seek to influence and shape the UK from the inside. But there is also that definition of insanity, attributed to Einstein: ‘trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.

At what point do we realise that Scotland’s ability to influence the UK’s (and therefore our own) destiny from the inside is virtually non-existent, and try a different approach instead? 

C Hegarty

Glenorchy Road, North Berwick

The two recent referenda are in conflict. So how do we resolve it?

In Scotland 55 per cent voted to remain in the UK; but 62 per cent voted to remain in the EU. However, the UK voted to leave the EU.

Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Parliament are to be applauded in their efforts to resolve the issue by examining all possible options and allowing time for the dust to settle.

But really what choices are there? Is Scotland to seek the security of EU membership or will Scotland prefer the uncertainty of a future in the UK outwith the EU?

The only way these irreconcilable choices can be resolved is by a second Scottish independence referendum as soon as all the facts are clear and all the options are explored.

Brian Rattray

Gylemuir Road, Edinburgh