I AM resting many of my hopes on our European friends and partners – who have seen who is in the right here, in the UK in general and in Scotland in particular. I am comforted by the fact that Scotland has friends, that the other European countries are well disposed toward us, and see Westminster’s treatment of us as the outrage it is.

Malta, which right now holds the presidency of the EU, has a population smaller than that of Edinburgh, yet it has more say in Scotland’s future in the EU, and more say over the terms of Brexit, than we Scots do. The Maltese, however, understand our situation here in Scotland: back in the day, exactly the same fallacious arguments were used to rubbish the idea of Maltese independence as were trotted out by the Better Together dog-and-pony show of 2014.

The Europeans are very well aware of our situation here in Scotland, as they are of the situation in Northern Ireland, which is, of course, a matter of great concern for the government of the Republic. No one in Europe wants to see Northern Ireland lose all the progress it made after the Good Friday Agreement. Westminster, it has to be said, does not appear to be overly concerned... the Spanish are none too happy about the situation with Gibraltar, and the Gibraltarians are naturally very worried. Again, there seems to be more concern in Europe about Gibraltar than there is in Westminster.

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The Westminster regime has gone out of its way to be both clownish and offensive, both truculent and intransigent, both heavy-handed and incompetent, both insufferably arrogant and breathtakingly ignorant. We here in Scotland don’t like that sort of behaviour from the UK Government, and it should be no surprise to anyone that the Europeans don’t like it much either.
Edward Freeman
Via email

THE whole attitude of the Government towards Brexit, especially Theresa May’s has been head down, ignore rationale, protect the Tory extremists and for heaven’s sake do not let common sense prevail. In the beginning there were promises to acknowledge and take into account the needs of the different parts of the country which have been totally ignored.

The PM’S gung-ho attitude does not mark her down as being very stateswoman-like and I think she has been an embarrassment to the country as a whole. She and David Cameron have divided this country more than anyone.

Scotland is only looking for a fair deal and to be treated as equals not underdogs with all the manipulation of economic figures. The EU is a growing body and nobody should be running away from it; they should stay to help to improve it.

All criticism came from the UK Government to suit their own purposes but it was they who were the black sheep.
Thomas Ritchie
Via email

I BELIEVE that the UK Government has contravened the UN laws on a country’s right to independence and free and fair elections, and now believe that a motion should be put before the UN asking them to strip the UK Government of permanent membership of the Security Council and declare them a rogue nation.

I would also hope that our friends in the EU would make the UK Government pay the price for their actions in denying the Scottish Parliament it’s lawful right to independence.

I would hope that the UN would send advisors and monitors to supervise an independence referendum, and to stop the Conservative Government pulling the dirty tricks and outright cheating they did in the 2014 election
Russell Alex
Via email

I WAS a Yes voter but I think indyref 2 needs to wait. I saw the power of jingoism at the Falklands War: the papers, including the Daily Record, went mad for The Brits. I say wait for the fear to die down and the s**t to hit the fan. Once interest rates and inflation go shooting up, people will be shaken into action again. If they were scared last time so easily, they will be petrified now. They will stick to their longest known ally and avoid Johnny Foreigner.

I would say to Nicola Sturgeon, “Do not stick your neck on the line of fire”. There is no need to sacrifice yourself. The Tory Government know there is no effective replacement for you. You are too valuable to the campaign to allow yourself to be conned out of a job. That’s what will happen. There will be more vote rigging, the mainstream media will annihilate it again, no exit polls, no proof.

Here’s a better plan: set up a national bank. Make alliances with Europe after Brexit. Wait a few years to see what happens and plan your alliances, build up the country’s funds. Get civilians involved in face-lifting the nation, clean up streets, be active not passive; hey, we all began jogging back in the day, no-one ever thought that would happen either. Let’s make it the fashion! Then with that sense of identity properly channelled, self-confidence levels raised, exit poll capability, extra election policing then go for it.

Oh and one other thing. Indyref2 sounds like a bad B-movie. What about Scexit?

Let’s raise the bar. I think we can do it, but it is three to five years away. There’s no other option that isn’t political suicide.
Joanna McWhirter
Via email

LAST year French politician François Bayrou said that the tragedy with the UK is that the British have never seen in the EU project anything more than an opportunity to sell their goods.

Listening to two UK businessmen in a recent TV news interview, the comments confirmed Bayrou’s remark, with one Leaver looking forward to being able to selling his goods anywhere in the world now that we are leaving the EU and a Remainer worried that he may not be able to find cheap labour for his business as easily.

This narrow vision of Europe is not new. The absence of the British PM in 2012 at the ceremony when the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize showed a complete disconnection from our history and why the EU exists in the first place.

Donald Tusk yesterday received the long-awaited letter from Theresa May. Tusk was born in the 1950s in a Polish city still bearing the marks of war and still trapped in communism. His grand-father was conscripted by the Wehrmacht and imprisoned in a concentration camp. This is a man who knows the pains and marks left by the history of a continent. There is no doubt that he was deeply saddened when he received the letter from Theresa May.

Compare Tusk with Boris Johnson and his recent jibes about the war when criticising the president of France. Sadly, Johnson is the man who represents us around the world. Theresa May’s letter with hints that Britain may cooperate less in the field of security if it does not get what it wants is serious cause for concern as the Brexit procedure is only beginning.

The UK is becoming a less and less reliable partner for nations willing to work together to make the world a better place. It is not just a hard Brexit, it is a nasty Brexit.

However, there is hope. There is another voice from the island of Great Britain. Scotland is offering its people a different path with another vision of our relationship with Europe and the world. We know that the EU is far more than just about selling our goods: it is about the environment, workers’ rights, farming issues, opportunities for young people to study and work abroad and, of course, for EU nationals to come and work with us and for us here in Scotland. Our belief in fairness, equality, and opportunities for all is seriously threatened by Brexit. Calling for independence the week the PM triggered Article 50 has sent a strong message. Brexit is not inevitable for Scotland. It is time to choose what sort of country we want to become.
Sarah Fanet
Via email

I HAVE been pondering the real rationale for Brexit for quite some time. Nobody in their right mind could think that this lengthy and arduous process of secession, with all its potential for economic catastrophe and little obvious gain (unlike Scottish independence) would be undertaken unless for very, very good reason.

The only explanation I can come up with is a visceral dislike the English, and those under their influence, have for obeying anyone’s else’s rules (even if they are good rules) except perhaps America’s.

This is quite a conundrum as, contrary to what the Leavers would have us believe, Britain has played a huge part in creating the laws and directives upon which the EU now operates. I can only conclude that, with a sprinkling of lies, racism and xenophobia to agitate much of the population, those in the establishment who would see Britain as a virtual 51st state of the US have at last gained the day.

Perhaps in the minds of some this desired shift in political allegiance constitutes a very good reason. But it won’t benefit any of the ordinary people that voted for Brexit, the very ones who benefitted most from EU grants and investment. What a tragedy!
Judith Jaafar
Via email

FROM 16,000km away in Australia, the one thing that gives me solace is the knowledge that the Scots (being inclined to inaction) will only take decisive remedial steps once their backs have been forced to the wall.

With the signing of Article 50, Westminster has well and truly gambled all or nothing on their desired end game. May’s intransigence has pinned your backs firmly to the wall. If Scotland decides to stay with the broken dictatorship that was once a proud UK, they risk being subsumed for all eternity by England and will never again be seen as a country in the eyes of the world. If they decide to exercise their sovereign right as a collective people they have, perhaps, the greatest opportunity to show the world the meaning of true neighbourly love and compassion. They can build a new nation with a new constitution where the right to recall politicians ensure it is the people’s will that is served.

The last referendum helped politicise so many of the population. So many of the people in Scotland were afforded the opportunity to see past the endless propaganda that was spewed from the biased mainstream media. This referendum must be where that self-awareness is harnessed.
Keith Robinson
Via email

MARCH 29 was meant to be a special day for my wife and myself. It was our wedding aniversary. We have been married for 33 years. What makes it different? My wife is German and I am a Scot with Irish ancestry on one side. With Brexit now threatening our married future, we are concerned as to what will become of us and every other EU national living in the UK and Northern Ireland (NI) and every UK and NI national living on the EU part of continental Europe.

Too many people now have to put their lives on hold and wait in uncertainty unable to plan and possibly having to split up partnerships and move in the opposite direction.

Is this partition all over again? For those too young to remember, partition happened when the British Empire lost control of India in 1947 and Pakistan was formed in the north, splitting off from India. Millions lost everything, including many their lives. The border between India and Pakistan is still heavily disputed to this day.

But there will be no loss of life I hear you think. What of Northern Ireland? What will happen in the fourth Green Field of the Emerald Isle when Mrs May and company make a total hash of the open border agreement? How many will die if The Troubles flare up again? How many pensioners will get a letter telling them to return to their country of origin, because they are no longer welcome?

The answer is, we don’t know, because May has refused to answer that question as EU and British citizens are more useful as bargaining chips.

What is left for Scotland? Independence seems the likely outcome, but what if that Tory Government refuses a referendum? Will we have one anyway, or will it be UDI? Great Britain has never let anyone leave the Empire without a fight. Will it now come to that?

And all because the Conservative and Unionist Party, had an internal quarrel and the right wing of the party needed to be appeased at any cost.

An unelected Prime Minister has succeeded is causing the biggest break-up of our time with absolutely no regard for the devolved nation states within the UK, or their future. They have no idea of the troubles this will cause for everyone in both the UK and NI and the EU and, what is worse, they don’t even care as long as their party’s rift is healed.
Andy Hurley

A SAD day in the history of British politics. In a period of turmoil throughout the world when nations should be pulling together to combat global threats I find myself ashamed to be a citizen of a country which has decided on a policy of isolationism.

This, together with outright xenophobic English nationalism, is dragging us over a cliff.

I also found abhorrent the fact that the Article 50 letter appeared to contain a veiled threat to Europe about cooperation around security was conditional on some sort of favourable trade agreement.
Owen Mellon
Via email

I VOTED in the very first (once in a lifetime) referendum to join the Common Market, as it was called then, and I listened to all the same arguments now that I listened to then. We pleaded and begged them to let us join – President de Gaulle of France vetoed us at every turn and it wasn’t till he was gone we managed to scrape in.

In spite of voting No, I was pleasantly surprised to watch the change that membership brought us. It has been an asset to our lives. I listen now to Brexiteers – “We can stand alone; we don’t need big brother holding our hands, we are capable of handling our own affairs” – and think, Oh the irony, they are using all the arguments we used during our referendum, only to be told: “We do need big brother to hold our hand, we are not capable of standing on our own two feet, or handling our own affairs”: in essence, we are better together.

However, there is a difference between the two unions. The UK Union is a self-serving one where we are an unequal partner, the EU is a partnership of equals. Scotland can be an effective equal partner in Europe, once we have unshackled ourselves from the unequal partnership of the UK.
Tom Urquhart
Via email