FORMER UK Prime Minister David Cameron is now touring the airwaves to promote his memoirs. Mr Cameron is of course the PM who legislated for the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

As we now know, the 2016 referendum result was, by 52-48, for the UK as a whole to leave the EU. The UK, as we were told during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, comprises four equal nations: Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. This supposed equality is course ridiculous as England holds 80% of the population and voting power of the UK and, just by pure arithmetic, will always be the majority power. Please remember that Scotland voted 62-38 and Northern Ireland 55-47 to remain in the European Union, which is politically ignored by the Westminster UK Government.

What we don’t remember, or more likely ignore, is the legislation which enabled the 2016 vote. I quote from the European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16: “This Bill requires a referendum to be held on the question of the UK’s continued membership of the European Union (EU) before the end of 2017. It does not contain any requirements for the UK Government to implement the result of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented instead.

“This is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions. The referendums held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1997 and 1998 are examples of this type, where opinion is tested before legislation was introduced. The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented.”

The issue with David Cameron is not that he called the 2016 referendum, but that he walked away from the result and refused to face up to the consequences of it. He could have acknowledged the result as advisory and consultative, defended his own legislation and then declare a commitment to address the implications of it. Instead, he “legged it” to leave a vacuum that our Ukip friend Nigel Farage was quick to take advantage of. Farage and others invented, along with newspaper and media allies, a false narrative that the referendum result was an “instruction” to parliament, and to deny it would be treacherous and a betrayal.

One consequence now is that freedom of movement will soon be abolished. This means we will no longer have the right to travel, work, love, and study as of a right as a citizen of Europe throughout the current 28 nations of the EU. In vain I have asked our Westminster MP Mr Mundell to explain why he thinks this is a good idea. Mr Mundell, please let us all (but especially students) know your views.

Michael Clarke

IN SATURDAY’S National I was particularly motivated by John Swinney’s rousing and bullish article on independence. “Our time has come ... we are so very close to make our dream of a. fairer and more prosperous independent country a reality”. I also noticed in Andrew Learmonth’s article that David Cameron has come out of hiding, for one purpose and one purpose only! To enhance his damaged persona. So ironically I have decided to use his words to support John Swinney’s words: “Ours is a movement of inclusion –of kindness, respect and tolerance. Of a modern, forward-thinking Scotland that looks outwards to our friends. As said in Cameron’s memoirs: “I think we can get to a situation where we leave but we are friends, neighbours and partners. We can get there, but I would love to fast-forward to that moment because it’s painful for the country and it’s painful to watch."

I concur, David ... roll on independence!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus