MIKE Underwood maintains (Letters, July 29) that advocates of UDI are wrong to propose it immediately but he does not rule it out in the future. I agree that it would probably fail now, but just imagine the situation a year or two down the line when the SNP and the Greens have a stronger independence mandate post another General Election won by the Tories.

Scottish Labour could well by then have come around to independence to avoid total irrelevance north of the Border. Repeated refusal of indyref2 has raised support to consistently above 60%. UDI could be the logical, almost inevitable way forward in that scenario.

Around half of UDIs have been successful and there have been more than 30 starting with a biggie – the USA. Many were bloodless but some, like the USA and Ireland, involved hostilities. When empires reach the natural end, a fairly random mix of UDIs and referendums has tended to establish the new small nations.

UDIs are, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, not contrary to international law. Most relevant one to Scotland? Take your pick, but my particular favourite is Slovenia where the landscapes, despite its position south of Austria and in the northern Balkan region, are very reminiscent of Scotland. They declared UDI in 1991 and joined the EU in 2004. They are enthusiastic Europeans and have prospered since admission, although their adoption of the euro has caused some problems.

A Scottish pound may be the answer after our independence is gained, whether it is achieved through a referendum or by UDI. If both those fail, we’ll need another King Robert the Bruce.

David Crines

LIKE P Davidson (Letters, July 30) I also enjoy Julia Pannell’s contributions to the independence debate and while I don’t always agree with them I hope they will continue to add to the diversity of opinions within the independentistas umbrella.

Similarly I welcome Michael Fry’s views, though not as much as those of The Wee Ginger Dug(!) and all the others who add to and broaden our view of what an independent Scotland might be like. Long may this diversity within the independence camp continue, for it can only strengthen our resolve to remain united until independence is attained. Once we have that, then decisions as to Leave/Remain etc will be decided by the people of Scotland and not imposed upon us by others.

That said, I am reminded of an unexpected meeting with a former colleague while out walking in July 2014. As workmates we had often in the past discussed politics, he being a member of the Labour party, and I, at the time, a member of the SNP. When we met two months before the referendum he surprised me by saying that he intended to vote Yes. I expressed my surprise and asked why, to be told: “it is the only way we’ll get a genuine Scottish Labour Party back”.

This supported my long-held views (since the 1970s) that once independent, Scotland would support a diversity of politics and political parties in addition to the SNP, but for now they are our vehicle to independence and we cannot have two or more drivers otherwise Westminster will “divide and rule” as they have so successfully done in the past.

So for the present enjoy the many views expressed in The National and be thankful we now have a newspaper to read them in.

Paul A Gillon

I READ Lesley J Findlay’s letter (Politician’s freedom of conscience must be protected, July 29) with interest. I also note the phrase “freedom of conscience”. Allow me please to correct her.

No-one, so far as I am aware, is objecting to Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen exercising his conscious objection to abortion. He can believe what he wants to believe. No-one is being forced to have an abortion.

What some of us do object to is his demand for “freedom to oppress” – that is, freedom to vote against a bill which would allow others to exercise their right to behave according to their beliefs. It is easy to understand that distinction, yet it is a distinction which is often overlooked by those of a religious persuasion.

Everyone should have freedom to believe what they want, but that freedom does not extend to a right to enforce one’s own beliefs on others by voting for laws which would ensure compliance with those beliefs. That is oppression.

Hugh Noble

MPs must of course be allowed to vote according to their conscience. How awful it is, though, that people such as Lesley J Findlay and Dr Lisa Cameron MP should wish to deny anyone basic human rights and dignity due to their own tragi-comic beliefs in superstition and myth handed down from the stone age.

J Kirk