I WAS very disappointed to read the Long Letter written by Ian Stewart of Skye (Letters, February 27) as it contains many factual inaccuracies and fabrications. It’s bad enough having to counter British nationalists’ arguments without handing then ammunition in the form of easily debunked falsehoods.

Where to begin? When North Sea oil and gas were discovered, nobody had even heard of Margaret Thatcher, let along Bernard Ingham, so their influence over the Scotland-England boundary would have been zero. Even I started working offshore before Thatcher was PM, and I’m not that long in the tooth yet. Bernard Ingham may have wanted to move the border, but he was hardly in a position to do so.

Scots and English Law are entirely separate, and always have been, so it was necessary to know which legal jurisdiction applied should anything unlawful occur offshore. For this reason the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968 was drawn up and, as far as I know, is still in effect. This Order specifies the offshore border as a continuation of the land border, heading due east on the line of latitude at 55° 50’ North.

The money Shetland islanders get from the oil industry was won by Shetland Islands Council as a condition of granting planning permission for the Sullom Voe Terminal. The UK Government had nothing to do with it, and I doubt if they looked on it favourably. Again, these arrangements were in place well before Thatcher became PM.

As for the stuff about Shetland staying with the UK while the rest of Scotland becomes independent – they might or might not, but they wouldn’t get control over any oilfields if they did. International law is very clear about this sort of situation and international law would dictate that the Northern Isles (in this situation) would be treated as a UK enclave within Scottish territory and would control no more than the seabed between the shore and a point 12 nautical miles out from the shore. The precedent for this was set by the UK Government itself when it agreed territorial boundaries between French waters and the Channel Islands.

The technology to exploit reserves off the west coast of Shetland didn’t exist in the 20th century, so that’s another howler.

I think that’s enough for now, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to convey; be sure of your facts before you leave hostages to fortune littering the letters pages.

Neil Caple

HOW wonderful to see my old teacher, Kay Matheson, smiling out from the National’s front page on Tuesday morning (alongside Brian Cox no less!)

I am sure Hamish MacPherson’s piece (How the Stone Raiders won the hearts of Scots, The National, February 27) must inspire a future generation of young Scots.

In 1954, as my Primary 5 teacher, Miss Matheson certainly did inspire me. Our class was privileged to have full personal details of the repatriation of the Stone plus a great deal of Scotland’s bona fide history and current affairs. I can clearly imagine our headteacher’s disapproval had she been aware. The flame lit in me by Miss Matheson at age 10 is still burning strongly today.

I hope readers will enjoy the 1954 picture of my classmates and Miss Matheson at Petershill Primary (I am second row from front, six in from right with bows!)

The National:

Coincidently, my partner of 20 years, John Andrews, was also politically enlightened in his Glasgow school days. At the High School of Glasgow in the 50s his contemporaries were Neil and “Tubby” McCormick, sons of legendary John McCormick. Despite Teddy Taylor also sharing the scene at school, John went on to become a staunch SNP supporter and friend of and fellow participant at the Bannockburn rallies with the late Hugh MacDonald, father of your writer Hugh MacDonald.

I am pleased that Kay Matheson lived long enough to see her dream becoming reality.

Christine Scheuerl (nee Brown)

I REALLY had to do a double take at the tawdry credence and publicity given to Alistair Campbell and his book in Matthew Lindsay’s article in The National (Campbell says that a united Scotland isn’t fiction, February 27).

Blair Ego Project anyone? Dodgy Dossier anyone? Now Campbell is something of an “expert” on the state of Scottish football!

Or have I missed something, such as that he is now repentant of the Iraq War and the many thousands who died for something they didn’t do?

John Quinn