HAMISH MacPherson’s excellent article on the Union (How our nation came to be a part of the Union’, The National, April 18) shows in brilliant clarity that history is repeating itself.

Quite apart from the attempts by the English elite over many centuries to swallow up our nation, and the callous way in which they ensured that Darien was a disaster, it is their Aliens Act of 1705 which takes the biscuit.

The referenced article states that “it made Scots into foreign nationals in England and threatened to destroy Scottish trade with England”, and this resulted in the Union of 1707.

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So there we have it: using people from outwith England as bargaining chips; threatening to ruin Scotland’s trade with Europe by dragging us out of the EU against our will.

This is history repeating itself and demonstrates that the mindset of the English elite has not changed one iota over the centuries.

It’s definitely time for Scotland to finally free itself from this political union.
Dennis
White Lanark

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Desire for indy is about far more than Brexit terms

DR Kirsty Hughes has misunderstood Scotland’s intentions in your piece yesterday (Warning over ‘substantial uncertainty’ over Brexit terms in event of a spring 2019 indy referendum, The National, April 18).

We do not seek independence from the Westminster grip dependent on the terms of Brexit but on its very existence. There is absolutely no doubt that Scotland can run itself as a very successful small country, thank you very much, as dozens of others have proved, having once broken Westminster’s vice-like grip on their resources.

Of course there are risks but the truth is that the risks are greater if we stay with the sinking ship.

Brexit is our trigger, our impetus. Doors will be open to us that will not be open to Mrs May and her players and therein lies the nub of Dr Kirsty’s piece. The uncertainty belongs entirely to rump UK.

Of course we don’t yet know who we’ll join. Will it be the EU, which I favour, EFTA or any of the other possibilities? But these uncertainties are not “substantial” for us.
Christopher Bruce
Taynuilt

THE loss of the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Banking Authority (EBA), as highlighted in recent reports, became inevitable after Britain voted to leave the EU.

The EMA and EBA each employ about 1000 people, many of them British, and provide a hub for businesses in the UK. A number of capital cities are lining up to welcome both agencies and EU Council president Donald Tusk is expected to unveil the selection criteria within the next two weeks, with the agencies anticipated to know their new locations in June.

Cities such as Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam, Paris and Stockholm all want to play host to the agencies, which are considered as among the EU’s crown jewels.

In the early 2000s I led a campaign to bring the European Justice Agency (Eurojust) to Edinburgh. While EU officials were sympathetic, it was made very clear that this was an issue for the UK Government, which gave it short thrift and saw the body locate to The Hague.

What is clear is the potential for Scotland, should it be independent within the EU, to host such agencies and other EU bodies.

Similarly, there is an incredible opportunity for Scotland, with the predicted loss of passporting rights to the City, to gain from financial service companies relocating from London to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

While an independent Scotland within the EU would therefore have much going for it, the bizarre approach of the UK Government to Brexit continues, further reinforced by David Davis, who as Brexit Secretary still naively believes these agencies can somehow remain in the UK. Of course they can’t – Brexit does mean Brexit after all.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh

THIS letter is addressed particularly to those who intend to vote on May 4. This includes our 16-year-olds who will vote for the first time. It is hoped that it will be clear to them that they have that right resulting from a decision by Holyrood.

It is shameful, some would say only regrettable, that LibDems, Labour and Conservatives have made the next independence referendum an issue. The elections, as everyone knows, are to elect fresh councils to handle affairs peculiar to each local area.

Not for the first time, those three parties have indulged in tactics designed to mislead Scots into a position where their lives can be controlled by pseudo-Scots as proxies for their respective Westminster principals.

Scotland has had Project Fear, vows and lies aplenty, and here is our opportunity to send another message that enough is enough. The term pseudo-Scot is well-earned. Their day job is to frustrate and interrupt as much of the government of Scotland as they can, by any means, worthy or not.

The behaviour of their leaders at Holyrood demonstrates adequately two things: viz, their unfitness for office and their disregard for the proper government of our country.

Their incessant bleating about the First Minister’s day job exposes a shallow notion of government, and a traffic light failure in Dumfries for example is, while important, hardly the stuff of government.

Local councils should be capable of a constructive approach to their dealings with Holyrood.

It is patently obvious that the pseudo-Scots have neither the ability nor the inclination to be anything other than destructive. There would be a price to pay for their success. Hopefully it will not be requested.
John Hamilton
Bearsden

SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson has apparently threatened to “storm out” of Holyrood if the Scottish Parliament should vote by a majority to initiate another referendum without her consent or that of her London puppet-master, Mrs May (Tories threaten to walk out of Holyrood if second referendum is agreed by MSPs, The National, April 18).

Ms Davidson sees this as a “cynical move to stoke up grievance” and will not stand for it. The temerity of Nicola Sturgeon – playing politics with the future of Scotland. How dare she!

Ruth’s response to this “undemocratic” vote would be to order her (mostly) unelected troops out into the constituencies to work – though as only seven of her 31 MSPs actually have a constituency to represent, it is unclear what the rest will do.
James Mills
Johnstone