IN HIS recent piece (An independent Scotland could be a strong voice of reason in the world, September 6) Alyn Smith lauds the Nordic states of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as being those countries that “do international law and internationalism best”.

It’s implied that when Scotland becomes independent we too will be listened to in equal measure to the Nordic states because of our history, links and geographical proximity.

Later in his piece Smith jumps to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and rightly states that “the status quo cannot hold” and that a new round of strife is not far off.

Indeed, with fascist Hamas on the verge of taking municipal control in the West Bank territories, the collapse of the Palestine Authority will follow, along with the long establish Norwegian-brokered Oslo Accords.

What then with the voice of Nordic reason? Is emboldened Hamas going to listen to Nordic reason? Hezbollah, with its new arsenal pointing at Israel – is it going to listen?

On Israel-Palestine, the Nordic countries do not, in fact, always do diplomacy best, nevertheless, Alyn Smith goes on to laud Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström and how her country has made “the greatest contribution to the region”. Seriously? After reminding us that “there is a lot of hypocrisy from a lot of countries” when it comes to the Israel-Palestine matter, he forgets the hypocrisy of Wallström in going out of her way to denounce the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia but staying silent on Hamas-Gaza and the imposition of more conservative cultural and moral codes in that entity, eg veiling, gender division of labour, or female restrictions in public life.

Again, on Sweden, and doing diplomacy best, and playing the voice of reason, did Alyn Smith mean the remark by Wallström after the 2015 Paris attacks (Stade de France and the Bataclan Theatre) when she linked the murder of 120 people to the Israel-Palestine conflict and said of the Middle East and Palestinians that “we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence?”

As Alyn Smith rightly says, there is wrong and right on all sides, and there are more than two sides, not least on interpretation of international law itself.

Indeed, in his piece he pins his principled neutral view to the mast by referring to the “illegal occupation” of Palestinian land. But is it an occupation? Isn’t it an administration? Isn’t it the case that to qualify as a subject under the traditional definition of international law, a state has to be sovereign? When Israeli forces found themselves in Judea and Samaria (and in Gaza) at the end of the 1967

War, did they find themselves in a sovereign territory or did they find themselves in disputed territory administered by Jordan (Judea and Samaria, later called the West Bank) and Egypt (Gaza)?

Since he grew up in the Middle East, as he tells us in his piece, Alyn Smith will of course himself know the answers to these questions.

He will know too that the miserable condition of the Palestinians is not the fault of Israel alone but also the fault of bigoted and callous Arab leaders – principally Arafat and Abbas – who have taken every opportunity to block a two-state solution and to bring about (possibly in coming weeks) the collapse of the Palestine Authority.

Graeme D Eddie, Dunbar, East Lothian

THE voice of sanity. Thanks.

Ian Sanderson via the

THESE articles are like a breath of fresh air.

Roger Dorn via the

Tory Brexit chaos is a world away from drive of Yes2

A QUOTE being flung around by the HypocriTories in the context that they actually have a clue, or a plan as to what they are actually doing towards Brexit, is “the best possible deal” (May gives Davis public ticking off over Brexit, The National, Sep 7)

They have no idea what they are doing, contradiction seems to be the only consistency they have. So where do they go from here? “Unelected representatives” of a governing body (seem a familiar term? ) now making plans to negotiate a deal that they have no power or mandate to do, from people who owe them nothing, the same people they complained EU were “unelected representatives”.

Now wee Ruthie, from Scotlandshire, more focused on party than people, will hark on even more (much more than any of us) about a second referendum and how it has no place in a country which has a huge support for a second referendum.

By far the best recruiting agents for Scottish independence have been the Conservative and Unionist Party. While we research and put facts forward, their lies and hypocrisy get people on the Yes road more effectively (go figure!).

There is little doubt now that we are on the balance of a majority for Yes2 and now more than ever will have to contend with the approaching Project Fear 3 with more lies, a bigger budget and a whole cast of 10th-rate politicians telling us to shut up and eat their serial dishonesty.

Independence is inevitable and it will be up to us to help guide it.

Yes2 has been extremely busy continuing on from September 19 2014 to today, but we see that work doubling now and now we look for an increase in activity for all our followers.

We will be hosting Paul Kavanagh, Common Weal and the mighty Yes Bikers on the 18th [at Glasgow Green] – come speak to us and get involved.

John McHarg, Yes2

I DON’T think anyone could disagree with James Cassidy’s main point about the true feelings of what he calls "Unionist" politicians and their supporters (Letters, The National, Sep 7).

My only disagreement is with the use of the word “Unionist”, which suggests equal partners in the union of two nations. They are not, of course, as events show almost every day now. What they are is "provincial", a status they seem happy with, and a word that more accurately describes their desire to be a mere region or district of England.

Peter Craigie, Edinburgh

BOYD Colim (The Long Letter, Sep 6) does his argument a disservice in castigating opponents of the nuclear option as “mindless”. Nuclear’s advantages over coal and gas are clear and superficially look more attractive than the immense costs and possible environmental damage involved in creating a viable renewable solution.

Mr Colim ignores the main argument against nuclear, one highlighted in Monday’s Panorama report on Sellafield, that it is inherently unsafe. Accidents happen, and nuclear ones can be very serious.

David Cragg-James, Stonegrave, York

HUGH Jones seems to have missed the point of interdisciplinary learning (Letters, The National, Sep 7).

Rule Britannia seems to me an excellent vehicle for teaching children about the evils of imperialism, including the concept of divide and rule, as the song was written by a Scot.

It could also lead to exploring contrasting ideas, such as in the songs of Burns, not to mention the history of imperialism and how empires tend to implode.

Mary Scammell, Inverness

I READ that with Brexit there will be no free movement of people (Brexit ‘waffle’ fails to placate MPs in Commons speech, The National, Sep 6). If Japanese firms leave the UK that’s 140,000 Brits on the dole, not counting American or European firms. So the UK will be like a duck swimming in a bath on its own with no friends and when the plug is pulled it’ll get stuck. This is why we need out of the UK. Let’s trade with Russia – I wouldn’t want a independent Scotland trading with Trump. David Davis, Boris and IDS etc have no clue and only care about middle England. We can do better trade deals under Sturgeon.

Stephen Kelly, Motherwell

Letters I: Elgin Marbles dispute can be resolved by making 3D marbles of artifacts then returning them to Greece