GERRY Fisher (Letters, May 22), like so many Leave voters, is wilfully ignorant of what independence in Europe means. The member states of the EU are independent in that they have full control of their sovereignty. They can choose if they wish to pool some of it with the EU as a whole and, should they decide it is no longer in their interests, they can take it back. Brexit proves this. The UK had agreed to pool some of its sovereignty with the EU but unilaterally decided to take it back. There was nothing the EU could do to stop it. That is independence.

Contrast that with the union Scotland currently languishes in where a centralised government it did not vote for can pat its head, tell it “now is not the time” and deny its people the right to decide where its sovereignty lies. Westminster holds it and will not let Scotland have it back. That is not independence. I know which union I would rather Scotland was a part of.

Stuart Allan

NOBODY should ever imagine that I have agreed with every position the SNP has ever adopted, nor has any of the rest of us I imagine. But we are still here and we vote SNP. And the end of the road is in sight.

So we have put up with Gerry Fisher over the years. “Oh no, it’s Gerry again” as he makes his way onto the stage. And he has made many a valid point over the best part of a half-century. And rigorous examination is what makes a good political party better. But democracy is about agreeing to disagree and staying together in a common cause.

The final sentence in that letter of Gerry’s you printed today is a betrayal of all the rest of us.

And does he imagine an independent Scotland will not allow its citizens to decide about the EU when we are in a position to make our own choice on it?

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

I READ the letter headlined “Here’s why I can’t bring myself to vote SNP tomorrow”. I have to say, I take issue with it. Not because of its stance against the SNP (I myself am a member of the Scottish Green Party) but because of the implication you can’t be independent in the EU.

A major point made by the author is that we cannot support a parliament to which we send only six MEPS, which he points out to be 0.9% of the power base. I agree, for a country of five million this is disastrously low, however that is not because of the EU but rather the UK. You see, the number of MEPs a country gets is based on degressive proportionality. This means that smaller countries get proportionally more MEPs and larger countries, including the UK, get proportionally fewer. This means that while we remain in the EU, we will receive this small number of MEPs, but as an independent country we would elect around 15 MEPs and giving Scottish voters a larger influence than a voter in, say, Germany.

I would also refute the claim we will have rules we have no influence over forced on us. Our MEPs sit with the wider European parties. The SNP and Scottish Greens both sit with the G/EFA group, a group based on left-of-centre, green policies and rights of autonomous nations. This is a bloc of members who share the beliefs of SNP and Green voters. While the SNP may have a small influence, with the wider party it has a great influence, and therefore WE have a great influence.

That is a very brief summary of why I believe we CAN be independent within in the EU and I will continue to fight for our independence and for our place within the EU.

Jamie Ogilvie

IT’S regrettable to see Gerry Fisher taking a not only narrow but also illogical view of Scotland’s EU membership prospects. However one may dislike accepting an international consensus over more localised preferences, Scotland’s best interests and most promising future undoubtedly lie within the EU, not in expulsion beyond its fringes.

Setting aside the fact that an independent Scotland – and that means our people, not London – can, once independence is gained, choose whether or not to belong to the EU, then, as is pointed out in the same issue by Martin Hannan, we would have double our present representation and so double the voice.

In any case, it’s clearly bonkers to pull out of the biggest, indeed the only, major commercial and political union in this part of the world and one which, even when our trade and development is being routinely strangled by Westminster, is our most important present and potential marketplace.

We should also compare and contrast the shabby, exploitative treatment of Scotland within every Unionist’s “precious” union with the unhesitating and rock-solid defence of Ireland’s interests mounted by the EU throughout the Brexit omnishambles – when there are two tents to choose from, I’ll take the stout marquee over the leaky, rotting bivouac any day.

Basic decency, you might think, would have made the UK Ireland’s strongest ally, as Ireland’s nearest neighbour and under the responsibility derived from being Ireland’s recent overlord; but not a hope.

Boris Johnson’s foul-mouthed dismissal of Irish interests exemplified the underlying Tory attitude there.

Certainly the EU is in many ways imperfect; but what political and commercial structure of such size, weight and complexity could be anything else?

If it needs improving, we can’t effect that from the sidelines; but as an independent nation we work on improvement from within, and among friends who, regrettably, are much more to be trusted than our present – not neighbours, not friends, but wasteful proprietors.

Colin Stuart
Saline, Fife

GERRY Fisher’s letter draws a false comparison between the UK and the EU.

In both, he is correct that Scotland would be a small part. However, in the UK, as approximately 8% of the population, we are in a Union with three other partners one of whom (England) is approximately 85% of the whole. The most recent evidence of this is that while one of the other member nations, Wales, voted, along with England, to leave the EU, even if the Welsh vote was taken out the UK would still have voted to leave. In short, leaving is primarily dependent on the balance of opinion in England.

The situation in the EU is different. Brussels’ powers are certainly considerable and have grown over the years, but are less than Westminster’s in the UK, which is an all-encompassing Union. Moreover, in the EU neither do we face a single other, vastly larger member nation. For sure there are larger countries than Scotland in the EU – most notably Germany and France, but also Poland. As members of the EU there are, though, nine or ten other countries smaller than Scotland.

The EU’s political situation is therefore much more complex than in the UK. For instance, unlike the UK, where if England knows its own mind it gets its way, this would not be so for Germany without the support of other member states. Conversely, the policy of an independent Scotland in the EU should be to seek common cause with other like-minded states (not necessarily the same size, but with similar problems) to further our own ends. On our own, as Mr Fisher contends, we have little influence, but in cooperation with other member states, we can exercise influence beyond our size.

Therefore, would I support an independent Scotland joining the EU (leaving the currency issue to one side)? Twenty years ago, I would have voted for this with both hands if that had been allowed. However, in 2016 I had to be very careful that my right hand did not slip and tick the other (Leave) box on the voting paper. We could actually achieve many of our aims with regard to Europe by joining EFTA and committing to the EEA, to achieve single market access, as well as negotiating a customs union for frictionless trade. It would also avoid currency issues as well as the vexed Common Fisheries Policy.

But, lastly, my main reason for disagreeing with Mr Fisher is that not voting SNP could give succour to either the Conservatives, or, even worse, the Brexit Party. The polls suggest that the SNP are on course to win perhaps three seats, the Brexit Party one, but the other two seats are very much up for grabs between the Conservatives, Labour, Brexit Party, Liberal Democrats and SNP. Not to vote could therefore encourage Unionist parties, giving them cause to claim more support in Scotland than they actually have, and challenge our Remain decision.

Alasdair Galloway