Sturgeon should concentrate on joining Brexit talks, not trying to go it alone

In her speech our First Minister listed five conditions that would be required from the Brexit negotiations to satisfy the so-called overwhelming mandate from the Scottish people following the result of the EU referendum.

Her stated opinion is that the UK is currently in a state of instability and the solution to this will probably lie in a further referendum on Scottish independence.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that the devolved parliaments will be fully engaged in the Brexit negotiations – would the First Minister not be better directing her thoughts towards these negotiations rather than threatening to cut Scotland loose from the UK without any guarantees of what future we may have in Europe afterwards?

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If instability exists, it is largely caused by Ms Sturgeon’s behaviour in trying to conduct some sort of parallel diplomacy with EU leaders, giving a clear impression in Europe, that the UK is divided.

Douglas Johnston

Drumbrae Place, Edinburgh

Nicola Sturgeon keeps “chuntering on” about Scotland’s relationship with the EU – this is pure fantasy! It is the UK as a whole which is part of the EU, not Scotland as a region of Great Britain.

It is also a fact that 65 per cent of Scotland’s trade, amounting to some £162 billion of goods and services, is with the rest of the UK; only about 17 per cent is with Europe.

Is Nicola Sturgeon therefore prepared to jeopardise the trade with the rest of the UK, and a currency union, in her relentless quest for independence from the UK?

She tries to give the impression that it is within her remit to call an independence referendum. Legally she does not have that power. An agreement with the UK government, under the terms set out in Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998, would be required.

I really do believe that the time has come for the electorate of Scotland to turn their backs on the SNP. The policies and aspirations of Ms Sturgeon and her followers can only lead to Scotland’s eventual downfall.

Robert I G Scott

Ceres, Fife

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has now set out her conditions for the Brexit negotiations. Rather than respect the result of a referendum, and work to get the best deal for Scotland by reclaiming powers over such things as agriculture, fishing and VAT for Holyrood, she has decided to reject the verdict of the people and essentially try to ignore their vote. No-one has voted to keep Scotland in the EU – that question has not been asked.

With such a pro-EU stance the SNP leadership are rapidly backing themselves into a corner where if they call Indyref2 it would have to be a straight choice between remaining in the UK or remaining in/joining the EU. A choice between remaining in a Union offering increasing devolution and more powers for Edinburgh, or being part of the EU where power and control only ever moves to Brussels.

It is difficult to see how the enthusiasm of the Yes campaign could really be repeated when the cause would be to reduce the parliament in Edinburgh to a regional administration office of the EU, with a new currency and possibly a new trade border with our biggest market, both controlled by Brussels.

There is, of course, a third option for Scotland: proper Independence. Edinburgh and London would be free to set up whatever arrangements they wanted across a new border, without interference. They could even create a “common market” and share a currency.

A probable route to independence will come by good governance by the Edinburgh parliament until it can be shown there would be no fear from going it alone. Demonstrate this and they could go to the country in a few years’ time with a positive message: “Look at what we have done so far, and consider what more we could do if independent.”

Chris Rix

Elphin, Sutherland

The First Minister protests too much in regards to the EU. For each of her five “key interests” in relation to Scotland’s place in the EU, there are strong arguments in relation to our place in the UK.

But the ideology of Nationalism demands we should see one side and not the other. So for economic prosperity we are to think only of jobs and businesses dependent on the EU and forget about those similarly dependent on the rest of the UK, even though those are four times in number. On democracy we are to view the EU referendum outcome as a plebiscite on Scotland’s future when it was no such thing. On social protection we are to believe that we cannot legislate well for ourselves but should rather depend upon the judgement of Brussels.

The First Minister talks of the importance of solidarity in areas such as security, environment and crime when it is the UK that is undeniably the most significant partnership for Scotland in this regard.

Finally, she speaks of influence in the world, yet only the most ardent of Nationalists could deny that as part of the UK we have a serious voice on the world stage, whereas separated as a nation of just over five million we would have next to no influence in the EU of over 500 million, and in a world context would become simply inconsequential.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire