I CONSTANTLY read in Te National how bad or good the European Union is. The Long Letter on June 3 saw Julia Pannell takes issue with, I think, five correspondents on various issues, which to my mind may be of technical interest but may be missing the greatest issue of them all. What I am about to write in no way reflects on Julia or her friends.

I am old enough to remember the World Wars during the last century. The uncountable millions that were killed, wounded limbless who stumbled home wondering why they were still alive, and many wishing they were not.

Matt the greengrocer minus an arm and a leg. My Uncle Willie shot in a field in Normandy. Syd Knowles, my landlord in Hounslow in 1963, who couldn’t hold a conversation for more than 10 seconds without mentioning the Somme. When asked about it he couldn’t tell you what had happened, just gave a wide-eyed horrified kind of shrug, returning eventually to the matter in hand for a further few seconds before the devils of the Somme took hold again.

Unlike Julia and friends I’m not going to debate or discuss the minutia of who did what back then or now. The whys and wherefores of the Lisbon and Maastricht Treaties, CETA and the like, from where I stand, they are merely housekeeping issues that need attending.

It’s my view that the European Union is the noblest act of mankind in history. For hundreds of blood-soaked years Europe ripped itself asunder until finally after the 1939-1945 obscenity, somebody – it matters not what, who or why – said enough is enough. Since that time until today there has not been a significant conflict in Europe. 28 countries live in comparative harmony. No longer tanks rolling down streets or people being strung up on lamp posts by their heels.

It was said World War One was “the war to end all wars” and we know where that got us. For the first time in history we stand a chance. “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it” (Edmund Burke 1729-1797). Do Farage, Johnson or Gove know history? These are the charlatans that Donald Tusk was aiming at with his reference to hell. I am no great believer in God, but should he exist he will be weighing them in the balances and he will be finding them wanting.

Bob Harper

I CAN understand people disliking the EU as it is not a perfect institution, but what I simply cannot understand is why any independence supporter would vote for Brexit. Abstain from voting or spoil the ballot paper yes, but vote for Brexit?

It is not now beyond incredulity that Nigel Farage could become prime minister after the next General Election, or the Tories returned but with Farage’s policies.

So can any Europhobe please explain to me why they would prefer Farage’s vision of an insurance-based NHS owned by predatory American companies, a trade deal with no restrictions on imports from the USA, and reduced workers’ rights, pay and conditions over a flawed EU which protects the environment and food standards, protects workers and consumers, and upholds human rights generally?

Richard Walthew

JULIA Pannell’s sticking to her one gun, I see; and all credit for tenacity. It’s just a pity that it’s utterly wrong-headed. I share her distaste for the EU’s deafening silence on the outrageous black farce currently being perpetrated in Spain, which is an absolute affront to fundamental democracy and demonstrates that Spain now is still under the hand of the Francoists who have oppressed my Catalan friends since the Civil War, in completely futile attempts to smother their culture, their language and most of all their distinct identity. There’s a hypocrisy there which is utterly offensive – the EU doctrine of non-interference in member nations’ internal politics didn’t stop leading French and Spanish politicians making negative noises about Scotland’s prospects of becoming an EU member in 2014.

However, neither that nor the harsh treatment of Greece can possibly offset in any way the salient fact in our current position, which is that we can’t do anything positive or purposeful about the EU’s behaviour from the outside.

Much more important, we can’t do anything radical or lasting about the condition of our own country so long as we’re under the muddy boot of Westminster – priority number one (and two, and three) has to be how we get free of this odious non-Union and start making our own future.

That means, for now, supporting the party or parties working to that end. The alliances and commercial connections the new, independent Scotland may make will then (and only then) become a matter for the Scottish population. These are not matters which we can decide or act on in any meaningful fashion now; we have to get free first. After that, Scotland’s political representation may well resolve itself into quite a different spectrum; time enough then to object to its policies.

In any case, however heartfelt the objections to the EU’s behaviour and current structure, it is nothing short of perverse (and to me utterly inconceivable) to lend a vote, even once, to a so-called party headed by an ignorant boor who has already made clear his “get back in your box” attitude to Scotland, an Essex barrow boy whose approval by the most revolting thug ever to usurp the Oval Office really ought to be enough to put him and his new gang of Little Englander Europe-bashers well beyond any electoral pale.

Colin Stuart
Saline, Fife