IF Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson had been members of a Unionist party, they would by now be firmly ensconced in the House of Lords along with such worthies as Michael Forsyth, Annabel Goldie and Ian Duncan.

Asked about that possibility in 2014, Alex’s reply was, “not until the Strichen loch runs dry and the rocks on the moon turn to blood”. However, as players, they are both too talented and experienced to be on the sidelines of the politics of an emerging nation state.

In Tuesday’s National, we learned that bankers plan to negotiate on London’s financial interests in Europe (City of London bankers set to bypass Government with their own Brexit negotiating team, July 4). How can that be? Can EU negotiators negotiate with anyone other than the elected government of a member state?

Or is it a possibility that London is about to become a city state?

If separate negotiation for different constituent parts of the UK is a possibility then should a Scottish negotiating team, perhaps headed by our two senior statesmen Salmond and Robertson, be on its way to Brussels? After all, Scotland is a nation. London is merely a city. 
C Walker Aberdeenshire


What lies behind London’s fear of losing Scotland?

IT is often asserted by Unionists that a free Scotland, a nation of sovereign status, is a concept of the modern era. Not so!  The aspiration was evident at the beginning of the 20th century and continued before and after the establishment of the Common Market, which has grown (some would say surreptitiously) into the EU. In the 2014 referendum, the Yes campaign missed out by 192,000 votes, achieving 1,618,000 votes.

Last month’s General Election saw the SNP win 37 per cent of the votes cast, the Tories 29 per cent and Labour 27 per cent of the popular vote. It is acknowledged that Scottish sovereignty is the principal objective of the SNP. It is equally acknowledged that a slice of the Tory and Labour support in a Free Scotland vote would record a Yes position, although this is not possible to quantify. It is inevitable that a Free Scotland vote will in due course be called for, not asked for!

An examination of the history of the 1707 Act of Union will reveal that there was a degree of coercion by the English Commissioners to achieve the result they needed, and it is significant no vote of the people of Scotland was ever held to approve it, a situation which existed until 2014, 307 years later.

It is worthy of note that of all the nation states which have achieved sovereign status since 1945, Scotland is one of a very small number which have pursued their goal by only democratic means, without recourse to any form of aggression. The struggles of the Irish, Indian and European peoples are striking examples of alternative means of pursuing legitimate political aims. It is, therefore, surely contrary to the norms of natural justice that a people of some five million is to be denied forever, in the arbitrary manner being adopted, the democratic right to choose its own future, and, equally, to be restricted to only one opportunity to do so, irrespective of internal and external changes.

There is no appetite at Westminster to recognise the possibility of a Free Scotland, it would seem because of a fear of it. Why should there be a fear of a friendly, supportive neighbour north of the Tweed with permanent ties of family etc but quietly getting on with running its own affairs, posing no threat to any other country, but working in full co-operation with the rest of the world?

Scotland, for sound reasons, is not enamoured of the “precious Union” but is pragmatic in its ambition to be unencumbered by the power-seeking parties who inhabit Westminster.
John Hamilton Bearsden

IT’S very nice that Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau was meeting the Queen in Edinburgh yesterday, but wouldn’t it have been better if he had in New York representing his country at the nuclear weapon ban treaty talks at the UN?

Canada has refused to take part, as have the UK and some other states with nuclear weapons. It would make good sense if the UK was represented at these talks, after all Westminster has been telling us for years they were in favour of multilateral nuclear disarmament, so why aren’t we there? You can’t get more multilateral than the UN can you? On this treaty rests the survival of humanity, we deserve better from our so-called world leaders.
Malcolm Bruce Edinburgh CND

THE extra funds for Northern Ireland are clearly a bung by the Tories to get the DUP onside and it is disappointing that there have not been wholesale remonstrations by politicians against the deal.

However, there are two other important aspects to consider. First, how can it be right and proper for any government to be allowed to disburse public funds with the express intention of seeking party political advantage?

How is this not the grossest abuse of public money? Secondly, where is the political morality of Westminster in allowing a deal to endanger the now precarious Good Friday Agreement? How can it be acceptable for a Westminster government to be allowed to jeopardise a hard-won peace that ended an unparalleled slaughter of innocents?

Hasn’t Theresa May’s medieval, autocratic abuse of the Westminster Parliament brought it into disrepute, begging the question that there has to be a better way, and an urgent need to achieve real government of the people by the people?
Jim Taylor Edinburgh

SLOOP John B is not a Beach Boys song (Warning over future of Orange marches, The National, July 5) but a traditional folk song that dates back to at least the 1920s. While its best known version was released on the Pet Sounds album, it was inspired by the Kingston Trio’s single at the suggestion of Al Jardine, the Beach Boys’ rhythm guitarist.
Keni O’Neill Leith

I WAS delighted to read that the Falls of Clyde sailing ship looks like it may be saved and returned to Glasgow (Last-gasp plan to bring historic ship back to Scotland, The National, July 5). Having been aboard her twice, I know just how impressive.

It is not so long since we lost the Carrick for another country to profit from. Let us not make that mistake again. The Falls of Clyde could equal, if not surpass, the draw of even the Britannia in Edinburgh as a tourist attraction, if used with imagination to illustrate the entire shipbuilding history of the Clyde and its worldwide importance.
L McGregor Falkirk