I WRITE to express my appreciation of Donald Anderson’s “Long Letter” of February 16. He clarified so well the historical aspects of the “impounding” of Britain’s oil wealth, which indeed was a task both sides of political power undertook, with vigour, as it has always seemed, as soon as it was realised there was more than 100 barrels there.

On Saturday night on television on an antiques show, there was set of commemorative medallions, one of which was titled 1970 – Britain Discovers Oil. A further indictment of the whole sorry affair is that apart from the riches being squandered to prop up lunatic fiscal policies over many years, we find ourselves with absolutely nothing to show for it. Shetland acted quick to establish an oil fund, which has funded community projects that are contributing to life quality on the isles.

Has anyone considered what Scotland would have done if, over the decades, it had be apportioned the pro-rata 10 per cent of the oil wealth? But then this would have been meaningless without fiscal ability to act.

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We must all bear this firmly in mind when the subject of federality arises, as I am sure it shall.
Dave Moir


TONY Blair’s intervention in the current Brexit goings-on begs the question: where was he during the EU referendum campaign, and is this the same Tony Blair who vigorously opposed Scottish independence now claiming there is a case for it?

Can we assume that in light of this intervention today and the actions of the majority of Labour MPs in the House of Commons last week, voting with the Conservatives to trigger Article 50 on leaving the EU, Tony Blair has now ripped up his Labour Party membership?
Catriona C Clark

I LISTENED to Tony Blair’s speech on Friday morning and, although still having contempt for the messenger, I agree with much of his message. The binary nature of the EU referendum gave a very narrow majority to leave the EU. This narrow majority has now become the meme “will of the people”, a crude club to batter the 48 per cent of Remain voters. A crude club by which to gag dissent and stifle protest. It is now, tragically, being used by the Labour Party to conceal their cowardice in opposition.

I recently visited the Clydeside monument La Pasionaria, the tribute to the men and women of Scotland who gave their lives in the cause of European socialism. The statues plinth bears the words of Dolores Ibarruri, Basque republican and civil war heroine: “Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”

These words should be branded into the soul of the Labour Party, for their utter failure to confront the ideologues of British fascism.
Terry Keegans
Beith, North Ayrshire

WITH reference to recent correspondence regarding future relationships between an independent Scotland and the United States of America, one writer advised that Scotland should tread carefully with criticising President Trump, as this may have an adverse effect on such things as future trade.

Readers may be interested to know that the Land of the Free, the great capitalist state, the beacon of free trade, is anything but any of these when it comes to international trade. Through my previous business I exported goods from Scotland to a number of customers in the USA, Japan and many European countries. These goods were liable to excise duty, which slightly increases bureaucracy.

There is a well-established procedure regarding the process for importing/exporting goods from/to other EU member states. Yes, it can be time-consuming but, at the end of the day, it is simple administration. The easiest country we exported to – contrary to the view that it is very protectionist – was Japan. The most difficult country to export to was the United States.

There are more ways of “protecting” your domestic markets than imposing customs tariffs and the US is very adept at these. The US Food and Drug Administration deliberately places barriers to trade in place for any potential food and drink trader. There may be good reasons for these “hurdles” being placed – to ensure minimum standards, food and drink safety, etc – but the way in which these hurdles are placed is designed to lengthen the approval process for both importer and exporter.

Rather than inform the exporter of each and every requirement that must be met, the aspiring exporter must meet these one at a time.

In my case this took two years before a first shipment could be made. Compare this to Japan, where initial enquiry to shipment took six weeks.

So, let’s not kid ourselves that trade with the US is the be-all and end-all (and that’s not even touching upon TTIP!). Trump has made it clear that “America comes first”. Let’s concentrate on trading with those countries that actually want to do business with us, and make it easy to do so, like the EU that we are (currently) members of.

Make no mistake about it, if we are out of the EU, even although we will still trade with it, it will also be much harder.
A E G MacRuary
Isle of Skye

I HAVE read the valiant efforts of Willam Ross to spin gold into straw with increasing bafflement (his latest, Letters, February 17).

He asks for reasoned thinking yet continues to assert, with no justification whatever, that we cannot remain in the EU by “voting for independence pre-Brexit”, and will thus have to re-join.

Given the friendly overtures we are continually receiving from the EU within the narrow confines of diplomatic niceties, this is very unlikely to be the case.

Furthermore, after being fairly challenged over the euro, he dodges by the disingenuous response that we would have to commit to using the euro “sometime”, which as he surely well knows could easily be as far off as we wish, or even never, as the Czechs and others are already happily doing.

The results of the EU referendum were clear: a significant majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU. If we were already independent and had a referendum, that would surely be the end of it.

So how can someone who claims to support independence possibly reconcile that result with an evident desire to once again have the arrogant UK Government force an economically-disastrous policy unwillingly upon us?

By his own admission, he is also a minority within his own party. If he is indeed a member of the SNP and a supporter of independence, he is also clearly no democrat.
Robert J Sutherland