I COME from Poland, a country which fought, lost and fought again for independence many times. In the past it was the biggest European country but it also disappeared from the European map for more than 100 years.

Poland was reborn in 1918 then lost its independence in 1939 due to Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia’s aggression. People thought the end of the the war in 1945 would bring independence back but it did not happen. The country, betrayed by Western allies, was given into Stalin’s hands. People waited a long time for true independence, finally regaining it fully in 1990.

These words are about Poland. I have been living in Scotland for 14 years. Every year I find more and more similarities with Polish history. Both countries have the right to self-determination, especially a country which was independent in the past. But what is independence? It is not only frontiers, language, parliament, government or monetary systems. It is also culture, art and education. But mostly it is about people.

People are the foundation: Scottish people are the reason why Scotland can be successful. Not only those born here but those who chose to come, work and contribute here. Today Scotland is a successful multi-national country.

So why do so many people in Scotland feel the need for independence? Some may think Scotland is independent enough as part of the United Kingdom. There is the Scottish Government and Parliament, Scottish bank notes, separate educational and legal systems, culture and art. So, what is missing?

As an external observer (not having full voting rights yet) I can see the current limits and threats to Scottish self-determination but I would like to ask a question: is everyone in Scotland is ready to take the responsibility of governing themselves? Because independence is a big responsibility. I would like to see Scottish residents showing their national affiliation by placing international vehicle registration codes on their cars, hanging Scottish flags on St Andrew’s day, singing Scottish songs, reading Robert Burns’s poems or maintaining the Gaelic and Scots language.

Independence is not only a political and economical fact but also a spiritual condition without which creating a strong and healthy independent country may prove very difficult. It will be a pleasure to be a citizen of an independent Scotland but also hard work and responsibility. People will have to believe in their country and decide what the change to independent nationhood is for. If we are not clear about this, some might say it was better in the United Kingdom.

I see many people in the SNP and the Green Party with a clear vision for Scotland and I welcome the decision to develop Citizen’s Assemblies. My heart belongs to my new homeland – Scotland. I ask you that yours belongs to it as well.

Roland Manowski
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

FOR many, many years I have been a supporter of independence. Like most people, I believed that independence is the only way forward in order to reclaim our country.

But what IS independence? The definition according to Collins English Dictionary is: “If a country has or gains Independence, it has its own government and is not ruled by any other country”.

So, how do we gain our independence? Well, we have to ask a Unionist government of the “mother country” to ask for its permission to hold a vote!

But wait, Scotland doesn’t have to go down this road! We weren’t conquered. We weren’t “discovered “ and taken over by England!

In 1707, there was a vote in the respective parliaments in Scotland and England to abolish their own parliaments and create a mutual parliament. The “parcel of rogues” sold us out, at the final ratification vote, by 110 votes to 69 votes!! The rest is history, but what has changed?

20 years ago, Scotland decided to resurrect its democratically elected government. England has not. The government that was created by the two parliaments under the Union of Parliaments Treaty doesn’t work, in fact has never worked for the interests of Scotland, but has been adopted by England as their own.

ITS TIME TO DISSOLVE THE UNION OF PARLIAMENTS TREATY!

Scotland’s Parliament doesn’t need to ask permission to do this!

The Union Of Parliaments Treaty was voted on by two countries. There is now only one with its own government. England hasn’t resurrected its own government, so can’t voice an opinion on dissolving the Union of Parliaments Treaty. I wonder why they haven’t felt the need to have their country represented ... or does EVEL do that, misusing the purpose of equality in this “British” creation?

So, what now? I want to see our Scottish Government take immediate action. I want to see an MSP propose to dissolve the unfair, unequal Union of Parliaments Treaty, and by using the same principle that created the Treaty, hold a vote to DISSOLVE IT!!

Kenneth S Macrae
Refnrewshire