I READ the 12 guiding principles in the 2019 declaration published in The National (October 10) and found myself responding positively in general, noting that a few tweaks and additions may well be necessary, evolving through discussion and refinement in the coming months.

At the bottom of your one-page presentation, bold type declared “Top cultural figures sign this statement declaring Scotland’s best future is as an independent country”. I then immediately looked for an expected note either from the 48 signatories or from The National, inviting the “rest of us” to sign up. I searched your pages to see if an internet linkage or other mechanism was offered, I found none. No such invitation appeared in the few days since October 10. as far as I know.

READ MORE: Big names in Scottish culture sign 'Declaration for Independence'

I began to feel uneasy about this declaration and its intentions. What is the strategy of the signatories? Putting pressure on the First Minister and the SNP timed just ahead of their conference might somehow be seen necessary, but it’s certainly not sufficient. It is a rather excluding kind of move. What outcome was being sought? The action taken by the signatories may not be as “inclusive” as the principles committed to. Is this an oversight?

On October 16, in reading Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s column, it became clear that the declaration’s 48 signatories were echoing the number of signatories of our original Declaration of Arbroath, the 700th birthday of which we will celebrate in 2020. Why have the “rest of us” (meaning all who support Yes, for example) been left out of this opportunity to sign up, even if we have a quibble here and there? A wider participative signatory base would establish a stronger foundation for the principles declared on October 10. Are the principles only to apply to Yessers? What about the three million or so of the wider Scottish electorate?

READ MORE: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh: The Declaration of Arbroath is as relevant as it has ever been

Having spent many years working in the fields of social and community development and environmental programmes in England and Scotland I’m concerned that no matter how compassionate, well-intentioned and necessary the current declaration is intended to be, I cannot see how in present circumstances it is sufficient when no participative strategy has been clearly attached to the principles, or evolutionary timescale for refinement, or for acceptance as a 21st-century foundational commitment.

I appeal to the signatories to consider clarifying for “the rest of us” the full purpose of their declaration in the present context and why THEIR declaration is only left at the moment as implicitly OURS (whatever the numbers making up OURS is).

Neil mac Neil
North Ayrshire

METROPOLITAN commentators fall into the trap of confusing national with nationalistic when commenting on the SNP conference. They muse how the SNP would fare with a “progressive”’ Labour government.

Whether a Jeremy Corbyn government would be a progressive, socialist one is a moot point. Yet Jeremy Corbyn is a Westminster centrist first and foremost. Nationalisation for him is Labour Londonisation and centrism, hence the collapse of Labour in Scotland where it is viewed as a joke. Memories of the failed Vow are still extant.

There will be a Plan B, whatever the outcome of asking for Section 30. Tactics demand such options. The comatose Westminster set-up is now unfit for purpose, even for the England. The English political and constitutional arrangements, which Scotland has been “incorporated” into, have atrophied and no longer function. We must move out and move on.

The institution of monarchy, a mere dressed-up irrelevance dunk in decrepitude, has now become a tool of the minority unelected Johnson regime. The UK is now an anachronistic Ruritania looking backwards into faux nostalgia and overburdened with pomp and pomposity. Continentals and Anglophiles have seen the myth of the UK unravel in the last three years at Westminster. Their illusions are now delusional.

Independence in Europe, in order to be back together with the 27 and with added full Scottish membership, is what Scots voted for in 2016. That will be the outcome for us, and we can depart South Britain as it lapses into global irrelevance.

John Edgar

PIERCE-PATRICK Hynes (The long letter, October 15), I take my hat off to you. What a glorious contribution. Articulate and alliterative. Many good points made in a most beyond competent, clever and beautiful style. Keep contributing, I do not believe I have spotted your name before. How lovely to read such a well constructed and amusing piece of the English language. Would that more folk could compose on this level.

Wendy Wilson
via email

READ MORE: Splendour of a State Opening can’t mask the rot at Westminster

WELL I enjoyed the Queen’s Speech ... in a perverse sort of way. And with the help of a dictionary also appreciated Pierce-Patrick Hynes’s comments in his letter!

There are a few points, however, I think onlookers have missed. It wasn’t a total waste of time or just a political stunt. For the Queen it was a day oot the “hoose”, a wee run in her new horse-drawn heated carriage, a chance to sit on her gold throne and wear her crown. For her understudy, ie Prince Charles, a chance to wear all his medals, and a dress rehearsal for when it’s his turn.

What also intrigued me was the mystery. What happened to Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford en route to the House of Lords? They left, as protocol demands, behind the pantomime villain Boris, but when they arrived only Jo Swinson could be seen beside Boris! Unlike normal pantomimes they weren’t behind him! Oh yes they were! Oh no they weren’t!

Had both been caught short? Stopped to tie their shoelaces, nicked to the bar for a swift dram? Maybe a National correspondent could ask Ian. I would love to know!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

I WOULD really have enjoyed Mr Hynes’s letter if I hadn’t had to reach for my dictionary every second sentence!

William Milne
Rothes, Moray