I AGREED with Michael Fry’s interesting take on nationalism (Time for an honest analysis of what went wrong for Yes in 2014, The National, March 14). However, I would like to make some points in terms of the “crucial margins” within the population which have never seen answers to their problems in nationalism.

I have many good friends who voted No in 2014 for very moral reasons which I cannot criticise. Their reasoning was that nationalism, especially the rabid kind, can only be defeated by solidarity across borders and continents. In other words, they put the welfare and rights of people across the world before what they thought was small-minded superiority, based on a “my country first” mentality. I have tried and failed to convince these friends that an independent Scotland might offer a beacon of hope for caring people both here and across the world.

So how do we convince these honest humanitarians to vote Yes in the next referendum? Given that my friends are intelligent people and are fully aware that the Brexit vote was a shallow plea for British nationalism writ large, a belief by many of a return to some golden age of opportunity and prosperity which, as we know has never truly existed for the majority of people who live in these isles. We therefore need to prove that Scottish nationalism is of a different breed, that will set a moral standard for ourselves and for others to follow. This will, of course, only happen if the model we set has two key aims – more democracy and a more equal society.

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All history shows countries that have flourished at least in very narrow economic terms have done so through a combination of technology, industrialisation, the use of energy including fossil fuels, and not forgetting weapon technology, the latter, of course, being used to bolster our GDP on many occasions.

All of these are the same forces that are now beginning to destroy all civilisations.The result of this mayhem is societal despair which has led to a blame culture within which Johnny foreigner is blamed for all our ills.

It is obvious that disparate groups of people voted No in the last referendum for many different reasons, and they all need to be addressed individually. I have merely highlighted one group.

In the end, it is my fervent belief that the fight for independence needs to kick into touch all of  the political bullshit, forget realpolitik (a euphemism for the status quo anyway). What we need for real change is to set out on a quest for true freedom, solidarity with all peoples, economic equality and meaningful participatory democracy. Only then will we have a genuine chance of convincing No voters to change their minds.
Alan Hind
Old Kilpatrick

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REGARDLESS of our individual attitudes to EU membership, there is one position on which those of us who favour Scottish independence can surely unite. I do not think any of us would want the Westminster Brexit team to be solely responsible for negotiating a new relationship between ourselves (the Scottish population) and the EU (in secret).

We surely cannot be happy to allow the (self-designated) Westminster elite to use Scottish assets (such as access to fishing waters, exploitation of our huge natural renewable energy sources, and our sea food and agricultural produce industry) to be given away in return for favourable concessions for the City of London.

I suggest the Scottish Parliament should hold an advisory referendum on independence (announced now but with voting in about two years’ time – which would not need formal Westminster approval) with a view to sending a message to the EU negotiators that Scottish assets are not legitimate bargaining chips.

That advisory referendum on independence could also promise another vote on EU membership for a newly independent Scotland. Would that tie Theresa May’s hands? I sincerely hope so. I have no doubt Mrs May and her close colleagues, will try to keep the terms negotiated a secret until it is a fait accompli.

We could also send a message to others (President Trump et al) beyond the EU (and keep repeating the warning) that the Scottish NHS, the railways, the subsea territory etc are not trade-able commodities.
Hugh Noble
Appin

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SCOTLAND joining the EU as a new, sovereign, independent country would be the perfect counterbalance to the negativity, tunnel vision, xenophobia, and uncertainty created by the Little Englanders in Westminster who are pushing for EU disintegration. We know that, and so does the rest of Europe.

Why would the EU slam the entry door in the face of pro-European Scots who, to all intents and purposes, are already integrated into Europe? That would send all the wrong messages to the rest of Europe. There is no love lost in Brussels for the anti-European English.

Spain has stated that the Catalan situation is different from Scotland and that it would not block a Scottish EU application. My oh my, what are the hapless British Unionists to do now? With Europe onside with a pro-European Scotland – and logically, given the situation – they would be crazy not to be, Scotland can achieve a Yes vote.

William C McLaughlin
Biggar