AM I daft, or have the principles of mathematics changed since I was at school? I had been led to believe, prior to the 2014 referendum, that Scotland’s trade with Europe represents 40 per cent of our exports. But Westminster tells us that our trade with rUK is six times greater than our trade with Europe. That would mean that we export some 280 per cent of our produce each year. So something just doesn’t compute.

Even if rUK has all the rest of our exports, which it doesn’t, then that’s 60 per cent and 60 per cent is certainly not six times 40 per cent, unless, as I asked above, the principles of mathematics have changed within the last 50 years. Or maybe Harry Potter is alive and well and living in Scotland and working with the Scottish Government?

Now, I’ve also read somewhere that everything we export to Europe through English ports is counted as being trade with England and is then converted into English exports and not Scottish exports. Is this where the falsehood comes from? Does England really count our exports as theirs just because they pass through English ports? Are these counted as being Scottish trade with England?

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I’ve also been under the impression that we actually import more from England than we sell to them. If that’s the case, then I would humbly suggest that even if rUK imposes a trade embargo on us after Brexit, and after we get our independence, then it will be no great loss. I believe it would save us at least a minimum of £3 billion each year. Maybe we would save more than that if rUK are actually doctoring the trade figures.

All of this really needs to be clarified during the lead-up to indyref2. These are obviously the sort of alternative facts that Donald Trump is very good at. Maybe some of it has brushed off onto Theresa May. We need to know the truth.

Speaking about Donald Trump and the USA, I believe that any deal we get with them after Brexit will be forced upon us very much in the form of the dreaded TTIP deal that the EU has been debating. That would not be good for Scotland’s economy or its public services like the NHS. International businesses would take over all the dealings with business law and we would very soon find that the only employment available to any of us – except the elite – will be zero-hours contracts with the emphasis on ZERO. That has to be avoided at all costs.

In exactly the same way, with the CETA trade deal with Canada having just been accepted by the EU it would be very wise at this point to consider carefully any continuing relationship Scotland has with Europe. I voted to Remain but this trade deal makes me wary. It contains all the problems associated with the independent court system, run by big business, which will consider any grievance the multi-nationals may have with governments. Australia has already been subjected to fines running into millions of dollars for insisting on plain packaging on cigarettes. Do we really want a situation here whereby big business tells our government what to do? With this trade deal already in place I would certainly be very dubious about voting to go back in as a full member of the EU once we are out.

If there can possibly be a choice of having trade with them like via EFTA – with free movement of people and trade; observation of their human rights and laws, but without being subject to their trade treaties – then I think I would rather have that. There’s no doubt that one way or another, either via Brexit or independence, we are going to have a period outside the EU. Our continuing trade with them is important to us but we should consider carefully all the options before running headlong back into Brussels’ arms as a full member.

Charlie Kerr, Glenrothes


Was there ever any public appetite for the EU referendum?

FOLLOWING Ruth Davidson’s logic (although that might be an oxymoron), how is it that the Conservative Party who won the last UK General Election with around 30 per cent of the vote had the audacity or the authority to hold the EU referendum? The result in that election means, by Ms Davidson’s assessment of “the political mood”, that some 70 per cent of the electorate at that time “did not want an EU referendum”.

Again, the convenient spin of information and facts are being cynically used by the Unionists to try to undermine the democratic will of the Scottish people.

Ruth Davidson is the worst example of this but is by no means alone – this is a battle we must win if we are to free ourselves from the strait-jacket of a “union” which is and always has been based on domination and exploitation of our people, our land and our resources.

John Murphy, West Lothian

LET us question the need for a Westminster-sanctioned referendum. Referendums are divisive and manipulated. Voters are placed under intense binary pressure.

I feel a second one would damage Scotland and instead propose an alternative. In 2018, at a timing that is fitting, all the SNP Members of Parliament should resign and call by-elections.

They will stand on a clear and explicit mandate of negotiating independence. Should a clear majority be returned then a mandate shall be assumed, and this should become standard SNP and Green policy, that a vote for either party is a vote for independence.

Should the UK Government ignore this mandate, Scotland shall deem itself to be a country denied self-determination according to the UN charter.

Andy Golan, Essex

SOME questions on the current situation which seem to me to be relevant: 1. Has the Declaration of Arbroath or Claim of Right ever been specifically and legally repealed, or does sovereignty of the people still pertain in Scotland?

2. If we are in an equal partnership with England, why would England, being only one partner, have been the successor state in 2014, but we, as the other partner, cannot be that now that England wants to leave the EU?

3. If the Brexit deal is to be for the whole UK, should the EU not insist that each part is represented in negotiations by their chosen, elected representative, rather than together only by a party elected by England on a relatively small proportion of the vote, which refuses to discuss with the devolved administrations?

4. If the EU accepted this argument, could we send Mike Russell?

5. What is the feasibility of Northern Ireland joining us in backing this demand for representation?

L McGregor, Falkirk

ON Friday night I saw a news item that tells me Scotland is really up against it this time. For a year I studied a course titled “Language and Literacy in Social Context”, as a large part of a Masters in Education Degree. Its subject was the power of language and image deployed in media suggestion. The item I watched could have come from the elementary, introductory, exemplar section of the material on how not to give an extremely bad impression.

The SNP conference city of Aberdeen was portrayed in numerous cuts to shabby high-rise flats against a foreground of scrub wasteland (in reality just coastal grass). Other cuts were to massive offshore oil supply ships, looming in the mist (ships and mist were distorted and amplified because of telescopic lenses) like invading aircraft carriers.

There was an interview in a half-empty auditorium (it was break time) with a nice but not very articulate gentleman conference attendee. Other interviews were with very vocal but not well informed members of the public, expressing anger, impatience and frustration (“Don’t get me started...” ) at the prospect of a second independence referendum.

An interview with Nicola Sturgeon was conducted by a very sly, smiling presenter, who would not let her give a full answer to his loaded questions.

I hope that the news editors have felt that they had been just too obvious and bungling this time and that the trusting Scottish electorate would see through it.

Victor Moncrieff, Lanark