UDI is not some sort of magical solution. Sadly the letter by Charlie Kerr (November 15) clearly shows that there is still a misunderstanding about what a UDI could entail.

The term “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” was first used to describe the action of Southern Rhodesia when it declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. There are too many assumptions made about UDI, especially with regard to Scottish independence, and not enough actual facts.

International perceptions about how any UDI is made are very important to it being successful and gaining international recognition.

In an Advisory Opinion in 2010 the International Court of Justice declared that UDIs are not illegal under international law. Despite this there is no absolute guarantee that a UDI will receive recognition by the international community. All declarations of independence without a formal agreement are UDIs.

“A UDI does not create a state, it is not among the criteria of statehood as specified in the Montevideo Convention” – ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on the UDI in respect of Kosovo,

“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with other states” – Montevideo Convention, Article I.

Basically there are four routes a UDI can take:

Route 1 – Tacit approval by the parent state of the UDI of part of its territory following a democratic vote on the issue of independence by voters,

Route 2 – Where the parent state is hostile to that UDI even though it was made following a democratic vote on independence by voters,

Route 3 – Where that UDI has neither stated or tacit approval by the parent state nor a specific democratic approval by voters,

Route 4 – The total collapse, including as a result of internal violent action, of an existing state into two or more entities.

Each of these routes has its own risks some of which may be shared with the other routes.

Previously I mentioned the UDI of Rhodesia in 1965 and have seen a question to the effect that if Rhodesia could survive for 15 years following a UDI why not Scotland? There is a very simple answer and comparison – Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) is on a different continent over 5000 miles away from London whereas Scotland is just a few hundred miles up the road on the same landmass. Rhodesia is landlocked, and at that time had two neighbouring sympathetic countries – South Africa and Mozambique (until the revolution in Portugal on 25 April 1974) whereas Scotland is at present an integral part of the UK surrounded by water except for the land border with England.

There have been 30 UDI’s since 1776. Since 1919 there have only been four UDI’s which involved the United Kingdom (2 were successful, although one involved a revolution – the Irish Republic, the other being the then Kingdom of Egypt (which was actually a ‘Unilateral grant of independence by the British government’) and two were unsuccessful)). Only five of the 21 UDI’s made since 1945 have been successful with another, Kosovo, being only partially successful.

Michael Follon

I SEE from last week’s Sunday National that I have rattled the bars of Charlie Kerr’s cage.

It is rather impolite and casual for him to infer that I was unaware of Boris Johnston’s declaration regarding indyref2. Apparently Nicola Sturgeon is doing something wrong by sticking to the SNP line, and running Scotland effectively during a pandemic the like of which has never been experienced before in Scotland.

Mr Kerr should remember that the Yes Campaign is the SNP, and that deviation from the cause of independence is harmful. I believe that the SNP is working away and looking at various scenarios, but not publicising them, and opening them to ridicule by the Unionists.

The political scene is changing by the day; the election of Joe Biden in America will have far reaching effects in Europe; Mr Biden does not have the same cavalier approach to international law as Mr Johnson and his buddy Donald Trump, and he is more amenable to the EU – and Ireland.

As I view Mr Johnston’s approach I am reminded of Spike Milligan’s spoof hit “I’m walking backward for Christmas, across the Irish Sea”. How apt.

Mr Kerr also has a very strange view of the Treaty of Union, seeing it as a carefully planned and reasoned action; the Treaty was signed in a candlelit cellar in Edinburgh while the crowds rioted outside, and there was an English Army ready to invade.

As Robert Burns wrote: “Noo Sark runs ower the Solway Sands and Tweed runs tae the ocean, to mark whaur England’s province stands – Sic a Parcel o’ Rogues in a Nation.”

As to the colonies, perhaps I have a slightly different view from Mr Kerr; I did my National Service with the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (The Gallant Forty Twa), and served in Kenya during the Mau Mau troubles. The tribes had no authority or autonomy – England ran everything. (PS I was only a humble Private!)

I fully accept that at the age of 86 (only 54 of them in the SNP) I will not see independence, but my children will, and I have no time for those who want to split the movement for their own aspirations, but I do not accuse Mr Kerr of that; I see Divide and Rule looming.

Jim Lynch

JOHNSON asserts devolution is a disaster. The biggest mistake of Tony Blair.

Let’s see ... hospital parking fees, prescription charges of £7 per item when unwell, annual student fees or debt or £9000, bridge crossing tolls at Erskine, Queensferry and Skye, no meal provision for our poorest weans during school holidays, bedroom taxes for older renters whose offspring have moved on, more minimum wage jobs for our young and older people too, less and less job security, and let’s be thankful for being dragged out of Europe so that their awful legislation about human rights will no longer apply.

Oh, and the Highlands can remain under-populated along with other parts, since our secure borders will keep all kinds of people away. Just continue to let people with addictions die in alleys since controlled injection places can only work in other countries, and roll on more vanity projects like a bridge or tunnel to the north of Ireland or a new airport in the middle of the Forth or Clyde estuary.

Now, surely not to be omitted from our essential needs are more aircraft carriers with their complements of fighter warplanes and also more powerful nuclear submarines with their missiles of massive human destruction roaming the oceans of our Mother Earth. Let’s also frack, frack and frack again ‘til our drinking water quality equals that of the citizens of Flint in Michigan!

Do away with our Holyrood parliament? Let’s not be fooled by the daily torrent of lies, not just from malevolent Boris but from our broadcasters and newspapers. They wish us no goodwill!

Myles Murray
via email

BORIS Johnson’s “devolution disaster” was a mistake and a blurt when he directed his angst at the SNP having against the odds steered his beloved UK to a state beyond repair.

He could of course allow himself some credit for speeding that particular development and this might well be compounding his mental confusion into anger.

The inherently self-righteous Tory mindset simply can’t handle self-blame and will invariable seek fault elsewhere rather contemplate introspection. That said, some are seeing the light sooner than others and I have no doubt he will be among the last.

Tom Gray

LETTERS earlier this month anent “Guy Fawkes Nicht” compel met to tae pit in ma bawhee’s worth on this vexed subject. That any country of whatever Christian label, or none at all, is still content to celebrate the burning of a fellow human being is in itself patently absurd. That Scotland participates in this event when the 400-year-old obscenity has absolutely nothing to do with our country is pitiful to say the least.

Here is a suggestion for our parliament to enact: no further sales of fireworks to the general public on safety grounds full stop! Move the “Fireworks Nicht” to November 30, St Andrew’s Day, as a national day of celebration devoid of any sectarian taint, and avoid the hideous spectacle of submitting a human being to the flames.

If oor chiels in Holyrood canne manage tae mak sic a relatively simple, progressive but profound alteration, sic as suggested here, I’ll just hiv tae gang awa and shak ma heid in despair at sic inaction!

James Cameron Stuart

IT is encouraging to know that our glorious leaders are considering lifting the pandemic restrictions over Christmas and are seeking a Covid Pact.

Why not go further and include Navaratri, Krishna Janmashtami, Setsubun, Pentecost, Ramadan and Eid-Ul-Fitr, Diwali, Chinese New Year, Easter and Hajj and Eid-Ul-Adha.

While we’re here, why not birthdays, christenings, barmitzivas, first holy communions, confirmations. Hell, with the expertise of our inter-species negotiators, we could even have Covid-free weekends and maybe just a 40 hour week of Covid activity. There should be only one proviso: Frost and his Brexit negotiating team are not involved!

Peter Barjonas

THIS sounds familiar! “China has broken the joint declaration three times with including national security legislation for Hong Kong introduced this year.” “China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

This is considered to be the case according to the British government.

When one substitutes “Britain” for “China” and Northern Ireland for Hong Kong and” EU-British Withdrawal Agreement’ for “Sino-British Joint Declaration”, then one can see why the UK Government will be seen as a pariah post-December 31.

No doubt, the reneging on the Withdrawal Agreement is not what the PM means actually! It will be dissembled by the coterie of apologists put up to retro-correct! Only the Chinese do such things they will say, and we are dispatching the aircraft carrier to the Far East in response to their behaviour.

John Edgar

I CONFESS to having some sympathy for Dominic Cummings. Can anyone imagine the size of his renewal quote for motor insurance!

B Wilson