I UNDERSTAND up to a point why the SNP are voting down the government’s Brexit bill, and talking up a People’s Vote, although I think it may have been in Scotland’s better interests to abstain and not to meddle further, given that crashing the government and forcing a General Election may not give the SNP the results it hopes for (remember 2017?).

I also believe that people outside Scotland do not see the SNP as acting in the national interest. Anyone advocating Scottish independence is regarded with deep suspicion or outright hostility. There is no dividend to be gained by the SNP in meddling in Brexit.

It is true that Scotland voted to remain in the EU, and no doubt would vote to return as soon as possible. Brexit gives Scotland the chance to explore other options.

But I am really at a loss to understand the Tories and Labour in all of this. If the government crashes, as it seems it may, we have a General Election which may wipe out Labour south of the Border, and even if Tories keep their seats, and increase their majority even by a lot, what difference would that make? Unless they are all hardline Brexiters, the country would be in much the same situation as now.

And what is really a puzzle is the timing of everything. There is scarce time to organise a General Election before March 29. Jeremy Corbyn has apparently pencilled in April 4 as election day, but by then the UK will be out of the EU, so any talk of a People’s Vote then would be useless.

The only thing which seems vaguely coherent is that Parliament may intend to step in and rescind or extend Article 50, but that is another hornets’ nest. The EU has to agree to an extension, and the EU Withdrawal Bill needs to be repealed. All well and good, except the electorate in England’s Leave heartlands will be unforgiving in the extreme if that happens, and if they see a General Election called, they will fear Brexit may not happen at all and will likely lurch to the right. What kind of UK Parliament would we end up with then?

Add to that the fact that the SNP supporting a People’s Vote will leave them hostage to a confirmatory vote after a successful indyref2 and I can only hope that they are better tactically than they appear to be, as I can see nothing good coming from it for the independence movement or even for the Tories and Labour.

Lastly, and at a bit of a tangent, don’t the present problems around the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the Alex Salmond complaint make it less likely that indyref2 will be called any time soon? (Hope I am wrong on that),

Julia Pannell

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NO “fantasy Brexit deal”, no “bad deal” (May), no “no deal”, and no “remain minus” is what Westminster will likely deliver tonight, nothing more and nothing less. What defines this process is “No”, which also pretty much defines ConDemSlab in Scotland, their controlling UK parties, and of course the DUP.

Looking ahead at the Westminster preferred options, they are likely to be based upon an unmanaged market approach coupled with austerity, and it is unclear whether Mr Corbyn will be up to the challenges of reversing a decade-plus-long policy of austerity, nor indeed whether he will be allowed the chance.

Put simply, if the UK requires more subsidiarity in its EU cake-eating, then it must start to play a full role in increasing the size of the EU cake, and not just simply opt out repeatedly.

The starting point for a “remain plus plus” is membership of the customs union and single market, which is the position of Scotland’s FM, which could also be the starting point for the UK, if it could subdue its feelings of entitlement.

Should the people of Scotland seek “Yes” for a “remain plus plus” option, they would be seeking a fair society in a managed market. “Yes” for the people of Scotland is currently only available via indyref2, which the UK “No” parties will not support.

In the interim, given the EU preparations for better connections between the EU and the island of Ireland in case of a “no deal”, improved connections between Ireland (EU) and Scotland would be helpful, to mitigate the disruption of Scotland’s exports currently utilising English transport hubs.

For the avoidance of doubt, indyref2 will require “remain plus plus” to be front and centre, if the people of Scotland want a fair society to be deliverable.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

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DANGER for Labour down south and hope for the English Tories could be perceived looking at the current number of MPs at Westminster.

Remove all Scottish MPs through Scottish independence or if the Tories decided to break the Union of 1707, and the DUP Tories would have a commanding majority in the Commons! The majority of Scots MPs are opposed to the Tories at Westminster.

Theresa May has warned about the break-up of the Union if her deal is rejected and a no deal leads takes place. Really? A break-up of the UK can give Tories perpetual power in England and no DUP to bribe! After all, a majority of her English party members were happy to give up the Union and cut Northern Ireland adrift if it would bring about a no deal.

May would have her deal and the Scottish “Unionist” parties would be cast into an existential crisis along with their peers in the Lords.

When the English Tory party grasps that fact, the Union will be ditched just as the Empire was ditched. There must always be a Tory England as they see themselves as the natural party of government down south. The Scots and Irish MPs are currently in the way.

The realisation of that has already begun already with the implementation of English Votes for English Laws. One could imagine the Tories in London being cheerleaders for indyref2 where the whole Scottish contingent at Westminster could go back to Skye and everywhere else.

The Tory, Labour and LibDem branches must be shaking already at that prospect.

John Edgar