I HAVE been struck by concerns from those supporting Scottish independence that the backing of the People’s Vote on holding a referendum on the Brexit deal would set a precedent in the eventuality of a vote for Scottish independence.

It should, however, be noted that the circumstances are completely different. Mr Cameron announced the date for the EU referendum in February 2016, with the referendum itself held on June 23, a mere four months later.

The referendum campaign amounted to a matter of weeks, trying to get across what were often highly complex issues, against a background of half-truths and disinformation. Remember the £350 million on the side of a bus and spending irregularities? When it came down to it there really was no clear idea of what Brexit actually meant, with those campaigning for Leave promoting often contradictory views. The electorate were effectively presented with a blank sheet of paper, acting on blind faith as to what Brexit meant.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: This is why backing a People’s Vote is a bad idea

Contrast this with the Scottish independence referendum, with the date of the referendum announced in March 2013, a year-and-a-half before the actual vote. This gave the electorate the time to fully debate the key issues. In November 2013, the Scottish Government published Scotland’s Future, a 670-page White Paper laying out the case for independence and the means through which Scotland might become an independent country. Contrast this with the Brexit campaign.

While one can share the concern of some in the SNP, it should be noted that the circumstances for the People’s Vote are very different from what may happen with an independence referendum. It should also be noted that such a vote is backed by the majority of SNP supporters.

Ultimately the public has a right to change its mind – that’s democracy. Many did not know what they were voting for when it came to the EU referendum and I doubt many voted to make themselves poorer, with the continuing negative impact on our economy and society.

Alex Orr

AFTER reading and listening during the last week to a multiplicity of views on a second EU referendum and a second independence one, I feel a number of salient points are being missed.

The claim that the EU keeps demanding another vote until it gets the answer it wants does not apply here. It is neither the EU nor even our politicians who want a new vote on Brexit, but the voters themselves, who feel misled or have come to realise the damage Brexit is due to impose on us. The right to change our minds is surely a core principle of democracy.

To suggested that a second EU vote gives “a free pass” for a further vote on independence ad infinitum is patent nonsense. The reason for a second EU vote is that no factual, detailed prospectus for Brexit, such as a White Paper, was produced and votes were cast on assumptions, propaganda and downright lies. Now that there is more awareness of the implications, circumstances have changed and there is a strong case for the democratic right to change one’s mind. Similarly, we were promised a form of Home Rule, Holyrood and the Sewell Convention enshrined in law, EU membership guaranteed etc, but none of these promises has been honoured. So changed circumstances justify a second referendum.

The difference lies in the fact that not only were these promises clearly made in advance, but there was also an extensively detailed White Paper produced before the vote. We all knew exactly what we were voting for and we were willing to accept the result on the basis of those promises being implemented. If another referendum is held, it will not be because we were misled about what was involved, or have changed our minds, as with Brexit, but because the circumstances we voted for have not materialised. Moreover, there will once again be a detailed prospectus before the vote, so that there is no likelihood of “blind” voting, and if we get what we vote for, there will be no need of a further (third) vote.

A second EU vote would be the first based on extensive information; a second independence one would be as fully informed as the first but caused by changed circumstances, due to the winning side reneging on the terms.

P Davidson

READ MORE: Scottish People's Vote campaign gives no assurances on indyref2​

I READ today that the Tory government still insists it is 95% of the way to a withdrawal agreement. The remaining five percent being the Northern Ireland problem. Without a resolution to this important fact that will satisfy Northern Ireland and the EU, there is no 95%.

The latest speculation is for a separate but whole UK customs union that would, according to James Brokenshire, negate any need for an Irish backstop. What Brokenshire has left out of his report is the fact that this is really just a temporary factor which, of course, the EU cannot and will not accept. This has been stated since day one of negotiations.

But, as Mrs May will have it, she has to pacify that very small but apparently influential minority bunch of brexiteers. Prime Minister May has reported that there is the forever amber get-out-of-jail card called an “exit clause” suitably to convince the likes of Gove, Johnson and David Davis that an all-UK customs union arrangement will not be permanent.

Dominic Raab must be in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks he can walk away expecting that this will be part of his suspected “very close” to agreeing agreement?

Simon Coveney for the Republic of Ireland has stated that under no circumstance will there be a return to a hard border in Ireland. So when will this Tory government and its Brexit negotiators get this simple fact into their way of thinking?

Alan Magnus-Bennett

READ MORE: Irish PM will not accept backstop Brexit deal that can be ditched by one side alone​