THE ability of the people of Scotland to enjoy the benefits of adult suffrage has been effectively denied since 1707.

Then the voting privilege was available to less than 1% of the adult male population provided they were owners of property, a qualification to which very few aspired but was in theory available. The Act of Union did not affect suffrage. It did affect Scottish representation at Westminster, the numbers of Members allowed in the House being strictly controlled, and inevitably the vast majority of English delegates permanently outweighed Scottish representation.

Although with the passage of time numbers in the House increased, suffrage was denied the voting population until the early 20th century. Even given the limited suffrage then made available, the weight of English Members continued unsurprisingly to overwhelm those from Scotland, a condition which is permanent, and casually referred to as the democratic deficit.

That situation was contrary to at the very least the Act of Union, forever exacerbated in 2014 by EVEL, enacted by Westminster without approval by or reference to Scotland, which henceforth will deny Scottish constituency Members from participating in or voting on any matter decided by a committee of English Members as concerning only England. Any consequence of such which might affect ultimately Scotland’s interest, eg Barnett, is usually ignored. It quite obviously erodes the responsibility of Scottish Members as non-participants in all matters of House business, and reduces them to lesser status than their English colleagues. It means also that irrespective of party, no Scottish constituency MP can become the Prime Minister, without political Westminster acrobatics.

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The effect of all the foregoing is in important matters unacceptable. For example, Scotland’s MPs had no influence whatsoever in the Iraq War, nor in Brexit, nor in Trident including its augmenting, nor in any so far of the trade deals being negotiated – this latter with Australia, incidentally, is starkly contrary to vital Scottish farming interests – nor in the influx of some 3000 Westminster-appointed civil servants to Edinburgh, nor in the financial bypassing by Westminster of funds direct to Scottish local authorities. The list is not exhaustive, and is far from the spirit required of a union.

Scotland, far from being acknowledged and treated as an equal partner in a voluntary union, is quite cynically but crudely treated as an occupied country.

John Hamilton

STEPHEN Tingle (Letters, May 19) puts the currency question simply: either the euro or the pound. Let’s go for the euro.

The politics of it is straightforward. Given Scotland’s assets, the undertaking to join the Common Market and its currency would change at a stroke the EU from a sleeping giant to protective friend. Though Catalonia has proposed to remain in the EU and does not seem to benefit from it, Scotland is different. The geographical relationship between Ireland, Scotland and Europe by sea are vital to trade and power generation. In the effort to confront the threat of climate chaos, Scotland is a key.

In a similar way, if Turkey had been allow to join, Europe would have had a much stronger and peacemaking influence in the Middle East.

The psychology of spurning the pound would not only have a positive effect in Europe but would weaken Westminster’s sense of centrality. However by keeping the Crown and joining the Commonwealth we could salve their injured pride and allow them to continue to call themselves the United Kingdom.

Iain WD Forde