ANN Williamson (Letters, The National, August 30) expressed disappointment over some elements of the Draft Constitution for Scotland referred to in our letter (The National, August 24) and we are gratified that we have also received several responses directly to our website at the CSCS.

Perhaps I did not make it sufficiently clear that this is a draft of a consultative document to be published online later this year. It is expected that it will be taken apart word by word, examined and rebuilt by everyone with an interest in the shaping of an independent Scotland.

It is specifically not a statement of any fixed preconceptions or a considered conclusion. It is an aide memoire containing most of the important issues we have to collectively decide upon. It is a framework, for a potential three-tier system of government that includes empowerment at community level. A framework, which may well end up entirely different from this initial draft, and it is meant to be controversial and thought-provoking.

It is no mean task we have set ourselves but if we can achieve the widest possible participation and input then we believe the final document should underpin the case for independence.

We are well into the work involved but it is always encouraging to hear from any readers who identify with our objective.
Robert Ingram
Centre for Scottish Constitutional Studies

THE future for sport in Scotland is a dimension of the independence debate. Before we form a view we should, avoiding finger-pointing or whining, have a look at how we came to be where we are.

Football is our main participatory and spectator sport, for which our national stadium is Hampden Park – redeveloped in the late 1990s, costing £71 million (including £24.2m of funding from Millennium Commission), capacity 52,000.

Funding of the £750m Wembley arena included £50m and £120m respectively from taxpayers and the National Lottery, while the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff attracted taxpayer funding of £46m. Our iconic football event was the annual match against the Auld Enemy alternating between Hampden and Wembley – the first event being in 1872, followed by 114 regular contests, and the record crowd being 149,000 at Hampden. The English FA, for their own reasons, abandoned the the most famous football match worldwide in the late 90s – the last regular game taking place in 1999.

Rugby Union is perhaps our second most popular spectator/participatory sport which, despite suggestions by the RFU in England to reorganise the now six-nations annual event, which would see Scotland in a second-tier position, still has the annual inter-nations clashes as routine. It is worth noting that the RFU some years ago, when TV rights really elevated these events into multi-million sterling earners, secured, against protest by the other rugby bodies, the lion’s share of the income – which would have been compromised if the latter had taken a more sturdy negotiating position.

It is gratifying to see the go-ahead for a national tennis/golf campus, promoted by Judy Murray. This is long overdue and is no doubt the result of the Murray family’s success in recent years. It is quite regrettable that some Scots have seen fit to criticise the Scottish Government’s foresight in supporting the programme, but some views are difficult to accommodate.

It is probable that an independent Scotland would be able financially to support all sporting activities which would improve considerably the nation’s status, and its health. Surely a laudable ambition.
John Hamilton

THE GERS figures are supposedly the total taxation raised in Scotland, and although I am retired I still pay tax, but the tax taken from my pensions is deducted from two English tax centres – one deals with my company pension and the other my private pension.

Can one of my fellow readers tell me if I am, therefore, classed as a Scottish taxpayer or an English taxpayer?

As there must be numerous people in Scotland who are in a similar situation, is the tax we pay included in the GERS figures? And if not it would again serve to highlight their inaccuracy.
Robert Neeson