United by fear

The novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch suggested that two questions where worth asking of people. What position are you trying to protect? How do you intend to protect it?

For the Unionists the answer to the first question is “the status quo”; the answer to the second is “by any means possible”.

From your headline, “Separate Scotland ‘will lose defence contracts’”(15 November), we can see they have now turned to that old standby, fear.

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Scottish philosopher David Hume described how we are motivated by our passion, not by our reason. The latest outburst from an increasingly desperate Unionist camp shows their passion to maintain the Union and yet more passion and not reason in raising fear and poorly veiled threats should the Scots even contemplate voting for independence.

Unlike the Conservatives, whose 2010 manifesto made no mention of the NHS reforms in which they are now engaged, the SNP made it abundantly clear that, not only would there be a referendum but when it would occur.

Let us be clear, the Scots voted for an SNP majority government in Holyrood, despite Donald Dewar’s rules specifically designed to prevent it. It will be the electorate in Scotland who will decide on independence when the question is asked by the duly elected Scottish Government.

Meanwhile, the Scots should take heart from the words of the English statesman and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon as paraphrased by former US president Franklin D Roosevelt: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

David Bird

Crichton Village

Pathhead, Midlothian

It seems extraordinary to me that so many of your correspondents appear not to know the meaning of the word independence when it is applied to a nation or state.

These people live in what is and independent state, the UK, and many of them, I assume, visit other independent states on holiday I imagine. Yet they seem to fail understand the meaning of independence.

Independence means that a nation or state is sovereign and that sovereignty is recognised by other states. Independence implies that the nation concerned has full internal and external sovereignty in all matters.

Independence in sovereign states is only limited by treaties entered into by the government of the sovereign state, and to an extent by international law. I hope this has helped to clear up the confusion which seems to cloud certain minds.

R Mill Irving

Station Road

Gifford, East Lothian