INTRIGUED by your report on Tuesday (Co-operating with UK is ‘only effective route to independence’, expert warns, July 14), I read Anthony Salamone’s actual paper (from the European Merchants website). I have to reject his main points, which he repeatedly makes in his 17 pages of text, that Scotland can only achieve independence with agreement from London, and only by way of a referendum.

These come across as self-evident pronouncements, like holy writ, and do not accord with his clear and accurate assertion that Scotland has the right to independence. They are factually wrong and simply repeat the fallacy that a large part of the independence movement has allowed itself to swallow.

The actual position of the Government of the UK is that Scotland has the sovereign right to independence if its people so choose. That is constitutionally correct and in alignment with what few statements it has ever made on the issue. It does not require a referendum, which is only one way of holding the vote. London has no duty to allow a referendum, so insisting on one merely creates for it a veto on independence.

The SNP position had always been to use an election as the plebiscite, and London’s assumption was that an election would be the way. Why Mr Salamone, like many others, magics this into oblivion I have no idea, and he then conjures up as a real scenario the fantastic notion of London refusing to recognise a Scotland which had gone independent through its own democratic choice and banning its acceptance on all the councils of the world. When he equates such a Scotland to Catalonia and Taiwan, he loses me completely.

Although sometimes it may not seem like it, London is still on the planet Earth, and the truth is a bit less dramatic. London does not want Scotland to go and so will not help it to do so, as by granting a referendum just for the asking. But it can’t prevent Scotland from leaving and has never even hinted that it could or would.

If the people of Scotland voted by majority in a democratic election for an explicit independence manifesto, it could leave the UK over London’s head, simply by its MPs vacating Westminster and setting up a sovereign Scottish Parliament, and London knows that full well. If Scotland ever does get into the position of leaving without its help, London will come around to negotiate the arrangements. That is why the only way, if any, that Scotland will ever get another referendum out of Tory (or Labour?) London is by warning that otherwise it will go by-election.

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As long as the SNP Government baulks at making the threat, it can whistle for a referendum. The key to independence is an election. If the intention to use that key brings a referendum about, fair enough, but only a nincompoop would throw the key away. I fear, though, that the Scottish leadership agrees with Mr Salamone and am continually disappointed at their dumbness on the issue. It is a heresy on the constitutional position, a betrayal of the long-standing policy of the SNP and a sump of political folly.

If the Scottish Government fails to bring about a national vote on independence by, or at, next year’s Holyrood election, it will have broken its mandate. It will win the election, but for years thereafter will be kept powerless over the very thing for which it exists, by one syllable from London: No!
Alan Crocket

LIKE quite deliberately calling the SNP the Scottish Nationalist Party and the Scottish Government the Scottish assembly, Unionists are reviving the old Better Together catchphrase “the most successful political and economic union of nations in the world”.

Expect to hear it ad nauseam in the run-up to the second independence referendum. They expect people to believe it if they hear it often enough, and for many people this may be the case.

It truthfulness obviously depends on the perspective. The UK has been a roaring success for the super-rich and the old Etonians who believe they were born to rule regardless of their ability. If ever there has been a group of people whose actions prove that the Peter Principle and the Dunning-Kruger Effect are real, it is the current UK Government. For them, the UK has been a great success – not as much so to the millions of children living in poverty.
Markus Mattila
Kaarina, Finland

We will have to hold a referendum very soon or we will not have devolution, far less independence.

Boris Johnston is the puppet of the really powerful Michael Gove/Dominic Cummings team who have shown with their actions this week (see the articles about Public First and the internal market) that they consider themselves to be omnipotent in the UK. We are too timid and are in danger of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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Finding a strong voice during this pandemic is difficult but I do wish someone would take up the reins of campaigning now before politicians and political commentators become so engrossed in the minutiae that they cancel each other out. When we are a free country we will have the time and energy to decide how domestic affairs must be managed.

Westminster is dealing with Brexit and the virus, surely we can deal with two agendas simultaneously. These are the thoughts of a 77-year-old wishing for an independent Scotland soon. A shake-up of the civil service and the military by Cummings today, Scotland tomorrow.
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