THERE has been some talk recently of a new “NI-only backstop” last-minute deal. Of course this is not new, it was May’s original agreement, vetoed by her puppet-masters the DUP who in turn vetoed the amended version with the British backstop. (It gets called the “Irish backstop” much as the very severe English problem Ireland had for 700 years gets called by British nationalists the “Irish problem”.)

The SNP must stand totally firm on the principle that Scotland, more strongly Remain-voting than Northern Ireland, must be treated in exactly the same way; with 35 MPs in the chaotic House of Commons it should be able to exert compelling influence in that direction, if the numbers turn out right.

Moving the border to Scotland would also solve the supposed problem of the exceptional treatment of Northern Ireland, though the DUP of course are total hypocrites on this. They are very keen on separate abortion and same-sex marriage laws, separate arrangements for agriculture, motor licensing (until recently) etc. Indeed its founder was very keen on distinctive voting arrangements, being a vehement supporter of the old Stormont voting system which rejected the debauched idea of one person, one vote.

There would be a cost: Johnson’s fantasy of a purely electronic border is surely just that. Boots have to be on the ground checking inside randomly stopped lorries to see if what is in there matches the manifest. But the cost of this border would surely be outweighed by the benefits of staying in the single market, and of the jobs which move north.

With a further bit of fortune, in the forthcoming General Election we might see the SNP able to insist on ending the humiliation of a devolutionary parliament, which can be annulled by the UK (effectively English) parliament at a stroke and instituting an autonomous parliament with the right to call a referendum and right of secession. If economic powers were to be strengthened in line with the distinctiveness of a single market Scotland (perhaps even our own online currency, like the euro in its inception) then it might be best to hold the referendum a few years down the line when economic independence has more or less been achieved.

As always in politics, this would all require a great deal of luck, in terms of election results going our way and so forth. But perhaps something good could come out the Brexit nightmare if the cards fall Scotland’s way.

Alan Weir

I DISAGREE entirely with Ian Richmond (Letters, September 11). Being pulled out of the EU against Scotland’s interests and against the will of Scotland indeed strengthens the case for independence.

However, should it happen – which now seems likely – the Scottish case for independence then faces the biggest weapon our opposition can lay its hands on: that an independent Scotland in the EU would face a hard border with its biggest trading partner England. This will become the defining issue.

Against that scenario it is obvious our independence will more readily be achieved if the UK remains in the EU. The SNP is very fully aware of that, which explains its position.

Remaining in the EU in no way lessens our case for independence.

Scotland and England as friendly neighbours in an accommodating European Union is our best and most enduring position. There is no downside to offering out friends, relatives and ancient neighbours down south our assistance in achieving that position.

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll