DEAR democratic representative, could I ask you as a representative in a parliament which, unlike Westminster, will not be suspended due to elections, formally to request debating time in the Scottish Parliament on the following: “That, given the impasse created by two of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom voting to leave the EU and two to stay, those parts wanting to leave the EU be formally asked to cede from the UK, temporarily or permanently, as they wish, leaving Scotland and Northern Ireland still within the UK and therefore in the EU, with their situations vis-a-vis the EU unchanged, as democratically mandated in those two countries.”

Such a move would have six advantages: Firstly, it would then leave England and Wales to pursue a Brexit to whatever level of “hardness” they wish without Scotland and Northern Ireland having to be involved.

Secondly, it would leave the border between Eire and Northern Ireland intact. The EU, including Eire, have said that a hard border would be unacceptable and by this means it would be avoided until such time Northern Ireland decided whether its future was with Great Britain, be it Scotland or an independent England and Wales, or in a united Ireland.

Thirdly, it would leave Scotland with no disruption either pre- or post-Brexit. There would be no need for an independence referendum and no need to reapply to the EU on independence, should it be agreed. In addition, the EU has already said that it would happily accept the UK back if it changed its mind in the course of Brexit negotiations or indeed if Wales or England separately decided during those negotiations that it had made a mistake in voting to leave. This solution would allow both possibilities at any stage. Either country would simply reapply to join the UK and therefore automatically become an EU member in the same way as the EU has already said would be the case should Northern Ireland join with Eire.

Fourthly, the problems for Gibraltar, both internally and with Spain, caused by Brexit would be entirely avoided. Gibraltar, if it wished to stay in the EU would simply remain a Crown dependency – of a smaller UK consisting of Scotland and Northern Ireland, but a UK nevertheless.

Fifthly, all problems with regard to currency and the Crown would be avoided. Sterling would remain the currency of the UK. There would be no question that England and Wales could not continue to use sterling for as long as they wished and for all parties there would be no requirement for any party to adopt the euro at any stage. The Queen would remain head of state. It would still be a kingdom and still united. England and Wales could choose to retain the Queen as head of state as many Commonwealth countries do and could, as a separate entity apply to join the Commonwealth alongside the new UK.

Sixth, EU citizens in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and UK citizens in Northern Ireland and Scotland in Europe will be unaffected. For UK citizens who decide they are citizens of England and Wales only, and do not want to use their UK passports any more, it becomes a personal decision as it does for EU citizens who decide to stay in England and Wales. The smaller UK could, regarding England and Wales, adopt a similar measure to Eire, ie, that a Northern Ireland citizen has the right to an Eire passport.

I am happy to leave whichever political party to put gloss on the above but it is a possible solution that could avoid a lot of rancour and wasted “heat and light”.
Sent to every MSP by Ian Campbell Whittle


No wonder migrants don't find Scotland 'attractive'

DURING FMQs at Holyrood on Wednesday, Tory Murdo Fraser, no doubt attempting to ridicule the SNP Government’s avowed intention to encourage more immigrants to Scotland, described his own country as “unattractive” to migrants as figures showed far fewer moved here than elsewhere in the UK.

Today we learn that a Canadian family, who had settled in the Highlands and ran a valued local service, are being forced out by the Home Office (Family of seven forced to leave Highland dream, The National, May 4). Meanwhile, an American couple who moved here six years ago and have invested over £400,000 in refurbishing a hotel in the Torridon area are being similarly hounded. Perhaps this could be part of the reason fewer migrants settle in Murdo Fraser’s “unattractive’’ Scotland.
James Mills

JUST been watching a series of programmes on EBC4 about how the British Government decided, in spite of the post-war state of the country, to spend vast sums of money developing a nuclear bomb. Why? Because they wanted everyone to think Britain was a major military power along with the USA and USSR. This was money which could have been spent making folks’ lives easier by providing housing and repairing war-time damage.

Fast forward to the 21st century and we have the British Government authorising expenditure on a Trident replacement while imposing austerity, allegedly required to make good losses incurred by dodgy bankers. At least in the 50s they wanted a British bomb – this lot just want to buy more WMDs from USA and pretend it’s an independent deterrent. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Barry Stewart

I WANT to bring to the reader’s attention that they are not allowed to be both a carer and a pensioner.

For 12 years my wife and I cared for my elderly father. I was the primary carer and with my father's pension plus my wife’s low paid employment we struggled onwards.

When my pension became due four years ago we felt relieved that extra money would now be available. A few weeks before the pension was due I received a letter from the DWP stating that I must choose to either continue with Carer’s Allowance or the State Pension! It was obviously better to take the State Pension, but meant I would no longer receive or be recognised as a carer. Irony of irony, May 13, 2013, arrived and I said to my wife: “You realise I am no longer a carer?” Got washed and took a cuppa up for my dad ... he had passed away, in his sleep, aged 96.

For me it is in the past, but I hope my story will raise awareness of the problem now facing those reaching pension age who are also carers.
Brian Davis
Tongue, Sutherland

MALCOLM Parkin (Letters, The National, May 4) says the PM should lodge counter-claims to the EU for “the loss of our fully-funded state pension scheme”. Would he care to explain (a) how he believes the state pension scheme was ever “fully-funded”, as each year’s pension pay-out has always been paid for by current fiscal income and not by way of any investment “fund”; and (b) what this scheme has to do with the EU?
Dennis White
Blackwood, Lanark

I AM puzzled by the figures of Scotch whisky exports in 2016 in your synopsis (Bottoms up as whisky exports back in growth, The National April 29) [which states:] “39 bottles worth a total of £127 were exported per second” [which] equates to nearly £67 million for the year. This is approximately 18 per cent of the £1.2 billion given earlier in that sentence.

Furthermore, either of those is vastly different to the £4 billion quoted for overseas whisky sales. I assume that is attributable to taxes in the countries of sale or to export duty from the UK, or both?

With whisky being such an important part of the economy accurate figures are needed for Yes campaigners to argue with, perhaps the Scottish Whisky Association or The National should have presented three sets of figures: the price pre-export duty; price with export duty; and overall overseas sales.
Robert Walker