LOVINA Roe, from Perth, had a letter in yesterday’s answering a challenge from Robert Mitchell (Letters, January 10) asking her “how Scotland would cope as an independent nation outwith the EU and UK”. Your reply to this, Lovina, is in my eyes flawed.

You are correct in your first paragraph that independence means being in charge of our own affairs. However, you seem to be stating in the overall meaning of your reply that Scotland would negotiate its own trade deals with the world, as you say “for and by ourselves”.

All this is great but you sound to me like one of the Brexiteers from Westminster. If we left the UK and did not join EFTA or the EU then we, Scotland, would be using the WTO rules from day one (no country uses these as they damage business, they negotiate trade deals). It takes between three and seven years per country to negotiate a trade deal depending on the scope of trade envisaged. There have been nine studies on the effect of Brexit on the UK and all show a negative effect on business and the country as a whole. So you are saying, as far as I can see, that you would be happy for Scotland to do the same. Is this not irresponsible as it would economically damage us?

You give Iceland as an example of when a small country leaves a large country and does well. Iceland got its independence from Denmark in July 1944 and joined EFTA in 1970, one of the founding members of the four country association. So as the EEC became the EU, Iceland has been using the EU to increase its trade, get the four freedoms and all the EU negotiated trade deals. No need to negotiate your own. So Iceland being a founding member of EFTA still has full control of its fisheries and agriculture (these are outwith EU control) and all other things are as per the EU rules. Iceland is independent, but as a country, has decided to give up 5% of its sovereignty for the better good.

To me it sounds good saying “let’s do this for and by ourselves”, but it is not a practical approach in the real world. If we did this it would be bad for international support to our fledging country and make our finances difficult at the beginning when they need to be robust.

I respect you for your views and always read your letters Lovina. Please do not give up on your beliefs.
Robert Anderson
Dunning, Perthshire

LOVINA Roe says that to be truly independent, Scotland must be out of the UK and EU. She says this will allow Scotland to negotiate all its trade deals, rather than take advantage of existing deals already negotiated by the EU.

Given the experience of other countries such as Canada, of negotiations which have gone on for years, this seems a high price to pay for a very old fashioned ideology. Of course, there is a precedent of trade negotiators who have said that negotiating trade deals will be simple. Unfortunately, the most recent one is Liam Fox.
Douglas Turner