THE Unionist argument that Scotland is "too small" to become an independent nation has been brought out again with the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and climate change being highlighted as reasons for needing our neighbours.

Columnist Gillian Bowditch wrote a piece for the Sunday Times talking about why Scotland cannot break away from the UK during a "perfect storm" of troubles.

She claimed there is "simply no way a country the size of Scotland can go it alone".

In the piece, Bowditch initially talks about the Scottish Government continuing to use advice from the Joint Commission on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in regards to the wait between Covid vaccinations.

She pointed to the fact that Scotland had the opportunity to create its own version of the UK committee but instead chose to take the advice from the JCVI.

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Maureen Watt, former SNP MSP and public health minister from 2014-16, wrote a letter to the public petitions committee in 2016 saying that "by nature of its size" Scotland has a "much smaller pool of expert clinicians" to make up its own version of the JCVI.

The letter was brought to light last week as Labour pushed to reduce the wait between Covid vaccine doses.

The Scottish Government said that it takes advice from the JCVI and "other appropriate bodies" in setting its immunisation policy.

Bowditch also highlighted the supply chain problems that are causing empty supermarket shelves and a raw materials shortage as reasons to work with neighbours.

The article was shared by the Sunday Times Twitter account and sparked a stream of rebuttals from Scots.

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Michael Russell, the SNP's president and former constitution secretary for the Scottish Government, said that Scotland would not be going it alone with independence.

He tweeted: "Exactly. That is why Scotland needs to be back in the EU as a full member & out of an increasingly expensive incorporating union with a small backward looking country that is deliberately trying to isolate itself, 'go it alone' & turn its back on the modern world."

Bill Cruickshank highlighted a sense of deja vu coming from the pages of The Times with a clipping from 1959 about the prospect of Malta gaining independence from the UK.

It reads: "Malta cannot live on its own ... the island could pay for only one-fifth of her food and essential imports; well over a quarter of the present about force would be out of work and the economy of the country would collapse without British Treasury subventions.

"Talk of full independence for Malta is therefore hopelessly impractical."

Malta achieved independence from the UK in 1964 and now has a population of just over 500,000 people.

In terms of population, many users highlighted the fact that other European nations have populations and land areas similar to or smaller than Scotland.

Ron Dickinson commented on the piece, saying: "Amazing how some countries even smaller than Scotland are doing better than we are.

"Could it be because they don't have another country making all their big decisions for them? (like #BrexitShambles , #Trident, #Austerity, etc)

"Time to #DissolveTheUnion - we'll be fine, thanks!"

Another Twitter user highlighted the Legatum Prosperity Index which ranks countries based on factors including wealth, economic growth, health, wellbeing and quality of life.

There is a common theme in the top 10 of most of the countries being small in population and size.

The National:

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And there is also the issue that Scotland is not running all of its own affairs with many decisions on Scottish policy being taken at Westminster.

Scottish author JR Tomlin tweeted: "Scotland does indeed need 'neighbors'. What it does NOT need is a master in Westminster running its affairs and even telling the head of its government that she is not welcome at a meeting IN HER OWN NATION."

SNP MP for Inverclyde Ronnie Cowan also highlighted the old Unionist argument and why Westminster is "scared" of the conversation around independence continuing.

He tweeted: "Or to put it another way, Scotland, you are too wee, too poor & too stupid to be a nation in your own right. What utter nonsense. When the time is right & on our terms, the people of Scotland shall have this conversation and they will decide. And Westminster is scared of that."