I WAS amused by your report on Jeremy Corbyn’s faux pas regarding the status of the Scottish legal system (ie not knowing that it is already completely different and separate from the English system – one being based on precedence and the other on the principles of Roman law like most other systems in Europe).

And then, on Friday, you reported on Corbyn’s advocacy of a federal arrangement for the governance of the UK (Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: It’s federalism or bust for the next Labour leader, The National, September 1).

These two issues are related. The independence of the Scottish legal system is the most compelling reason why a federal system for the UK could not possibly function properly. In the UK, there would be no legislature in the whole Union which could administer the ENGLISH legal system, without either generating anomalies relating to the position of Scottish MPs at Westminster, (and potentially stripping Westminster of its responsibility for that legal system), or splitting the English legal systems into five or six different legal systems.

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Some time ago I wrote a letter to another newspaper to make that point. They published it, but also published an attempted rebuttal which asked me how Canada was able to have provincial legal systems – with the one in Quebec operating under the Code Napoleon. I did the research which the paper and its correspondent had not done. Canada has only one criminal law, which is administered by the federal government in Ottawa. The several legal systems administered by the Canadian provinces are civil legal systems, under which any legal arrangement usually involves the signing of a contract that tells us the civil law which will apply.

Felons do not usually sign a contract which tells us how they can be prosecuted. The newspaper in question somehow forgot to publish my second letter explaining all that.
Hugh Noble
Appin

MANY thanks to Monsieur Philippe Lamberts for saying Nicola Sturgeon should be included in the Brexit talks. I hope he is able to persuade many other MEPs that the UK Government does not speak for all its citizens. I hope, too, that such a group would act to prevent Westminster from using Scottish fishing and farming as pawns to be negotiated away for the sake of London interests.

Scotland needs all the friends she can muster in Europe at a time when the Conservative Party is denying us one of our six representatives in the European Parliament because of internal squabbles. Effectively, we are now down to four MEPs, as David Coburn of Ukip does not stand up for Scotland.
Ann Rayner
Edinburgh

SCOTTISH Conservative leader Ruth Davidson wants to see thousands of new council houses across Scotland. It is a call I am sure is echoed by many others, but a call from a Conservative in Scotland for more social housing is surely a bit hypocritical (Ruth Davidson’s plan for 25,000 new homes a year labelled ‘height of hypocrisy’, The National, September 1).

The Conservatives were the party who allowed thousands of council homes to be sold off in Scotland in the 1980s, a policy we are still suffering the consequences of today (currently being extended in England) and a policy which the SNP Government in Scotland has rightly abolished.

Not satisfied with diminishing the council housing stock in Scotland, the Conservatives have taken housing benefit away from 18 to 25-year-olds, making it impossible for many to afford housing if they are in zero-hour contracts or in low-paid jobs. Does Ms Davidson suggest by her call that this be reinstated?
Catriona C Clark
Banknock, Falkirk

I HAVE to admit that there are times when, in spite of all the progress and the achievements of the nationalist cause during my life-time, I come close to despair. Most recently, at a typical Edinburgh middle-class gathering, I overheard a conversation in which one lady, speaking of Scotland, said simply: “Well, of course there is no such place.”

As I was not part of the group I did not feel able to intervene. In any case I was momentarily stunned by such a bizarre world view. But later, when I was assured by another gentleman, a Scots lawyer forsooth, that “Scotland doesn’t actually have an economy”, I was able to correct him with some facts.

However, the interesting thing about this gathering of Unionists was the general mood of political disillusionment that prevailed. Several indeed remarked that they felt unable to vote for any of the parties. While mulling over what this means, I came across the following quotation: “One of the greatest misfortunes of decent people is that they are cowards. They groan, keep quiet, have supper and forget.”

Possibly nothing will inspire such people to build a new Scotland. Still, we have to keep trying, by example and by argument, to educate and convert them. Though I fear that for such as these, no arguments will change them. It will take events to do that.
Peter Craigie
Edinburgh

THE Bella Caledonia magazine has surpassed itself this month, with such a wide-ranging scope of articles, I wouldn’t know where to start with a response. But to answer Sara Sheridan’s question (“Are you a witch or a bitch?”) I know I’m often called a bitch, but I do so love my witchy moments!
Selma Rahman
Edinburgh