MARTIN Hannan’s report on the updated version of the Declaration of Arbroath (Yes DIY, April 14) fills me with alarm and dismay.

According to the report, the revised declaration states: “...I herewith claim my sovereign right as a native of Scotland. This sovereignty is mine by birth...”. There are also references to “birthright” and “sovereign Scot”.

Surely the author is aware that many supporters of an independent Scotland were not born here. Their support has nothing to do with “birthright”. They simply believe that independence will bring about a better, fairer society.

I’m afraid that it wouldn’t take too much effort for opponents of independence to depict the document as being racist. I would suggest that the SNP as a political party, as well as other supporters of independence, distance themselves from this document with some urgency.

Douglas Morton

AS a “new” Scot formerly from England, I am all in favour of independence and the New Arbroath Declaration sets out in short form some of my own thoughts on the deficiencies of English rule under the disguise of a United Kingdom.

But I couldn’t sign the Declaration because, although I can claim Scots heritage through a grandparent, I was not born in Scotland and I therefore cannot claim to be a native Scot.

Scotland is welcoming – my wife and I find warm acceptance, regardless of having moved from England, and Scots society is commendably inclusive in accepting self-declared Scots such as myself. I am proud to be a Scots citizen under the terms of the manifesto for the 2014 indyref and I am looking forward to a Yes vote, whenever it comes, bringing me a legal status as a Scot.

The UN Resolution on de-colonisation, 1514 (XV) of 1960 (which the New Arbroath Declaration is intended to address) does not define “peoples” in terms of birth and I don’t see the need for the Declaration to be predicated on birth. I really would like to see the Declaration re-cast into a more inclusive form to recognise the reality of an open, generous and welcoming Scotland which is not hung up on the narrow notions of nationality with which England degrades its own politics.

Vince Littler
Earlston, Scottish Borders

TWO things: first, I agree 100 per cent with L McGregor of Falkirk (Letters, April 14) when he says we need immigration powers now.

As long as we have an English government that wants to throw immigrants out of Scotland for no valid reason other than their own viciousness, we will never be able to grow our population and our economy. The Smith Commission said we should have it so let’s demand it!

Second: can you please tell me how I can sign the new Declaration of Arbroath? I would be quite prepared to type up and print my own copy and sign and send it in if that’s possible. Not only that but I can probably get a couple of dozen other signatories. Would it not be a good idea for as many Yes supporters as possible to sign it and, wherever possible, get friends and family to sign it too?

If we could get a million signatures, somebody would have to sit up and take notice.

Charlie Kerr

IT is appropriate that the STUC should be discussing parliamentary democracy days after a Prime Minister has has unilaterally taken the UK to war for the second time (Scottish unions mount call for voting reform, April 16).

Unfortunately the STUC’s case is built on sand, as proportional representation brought in for Scottish parliamentary elections was never intended to introduce a fair, proportional representation of the national vote in Holyrood – it was specifically tailored to ensure above all else that the SNP would not gain an overall majority.

The version of d’Hondt adopted for Holyrood uses a first-past-the-post system for single-member constituencies with a top-up from multi-member constituencies to balance the number of seats to votes in Holyrood. As individuals and parties who have not stood as candidates in the single-member constituencies are allowed to stand for election in the multi-member ones, the result is skewed.

There is no chance that any Tory or Labour UK Government will countenance such a system for Westminster.

Having been in coalition with the LibDems and in an alliance with the DUP, the Tories have shown they are open to cooperation with other parties when it is required to retain power. The Labour Party has shown no such ambition. Gordon Brown did not pursue the possibility of a rainbow alliance and Labour leaders have twice announced before elections that they would not enter into an alliance with the SNP, even if it meant the UK would be subjected to another Tory government.

At the last General Election the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland even suggested Labour supporters should consider voting for any party other than the SNP in constituencies where Labour could not win.

The situation in Holyrood at the moment is that the Greens – who contested three seats, won none and were awarded six through the top-up system – are now holding the Scottish Government in thrall, while the Labour Party sits on the sidelines, reduced to sniping for political advantage.

The STUC must first convince the Labour Party leadership that supporting the SNP in Holyrood is not only sensible but also in the spirit of parliamentary democracy that they claimed was envisaged under devolution.

Until then the STUC can leave any proposals to bring democracy to Westminster off the agenda.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry