ANDREW Tickell’s interesting piece (If a Section 30 order is not granted, law is not the way to win indy, December 15) dismisses any legal right to a referendum. But having closed off that garden path, we still have a perfectly good route to independence. Both sides are dancing blindly round the issue, nationalists out of fear that there will not be a majority for independence, and Unionists out of fear that there will. They are both ignoring the simple essentials, which are as follows:

1. Without discretionary authority granted by the UK Government (as under S30 of the Scotland Act), Holyrood has no power to bring independence about. So in the face of UK refusal of that authority, how is it to be achieved?

2. There is no UK constitutional provision to prevent Scotland from going independent if it so chooses, and no UK Government has ever claimed one. Indeed, they have repeatedly stated that the Union persists by consent.

3. The Union between Scotland and England is a union of parliaments.

4. Constitutionally, Scotland becomes independent by its MPs leaving Westminster and establishing a sovereign Scottish parliament. London has no say.

5. A modern requirement, if such a step is to be recognised by Scotland’s own people and internationally, is that it be democratic.

6. It would therefore have to follow a national vote in Scotland in which the majority opted for independence. Such a vote could be given as a Westminster or Holyrood election if the manifesto was directly in terms of independence.

READ MORE: Without Section 30, the law won't help Scottish independence

Political considerations are of a different and lesser order, having to do with the nature of the campaign, any agreed involvement of London, the timing of the various stages of the process, and so on.

Why the SNP leadership has declined even to discuss this option, suggesting that it is improper, is a total mystery. As a matter of fact, it is extremely unusual for countries to go independent by referendum, and the kind of alternative method mentioned here was always SNP policy before Holyrood, and was endorsed even by the likes of Thatcher. The SNP’s dissemination of the absurd and servile notion that Scotland does not already have the power to go independent if it so wishes is a course of imbecilic folly.

Alan Crocket

PETER A Bell (Letters, December 16) is quite right in saying there is no legal escape route from denial by Westminster of a Section 30.

At the heart of the Supreme Court decision on Miller sits their view of the supremacy of the Westminster Parliament, and that will not change.

Peter seems to imply that by “cutting Westminster out of the process altogether” the SNP should opt for a declaration of UDI in the Holyrood Parliament. For UDI to be successful would require an overwhelming support for independence, at a level where even the courts and police were at one with the need for it. Politics can triumph legality, as was shown by the Statute of Westminster when the Dominions cut the legislative chord with Westminster. But at the present level of support for independence, we are a long way from that being an option.

READ MORE: The FM has painted herself into a corner over Section 30 orders

I can understand the impatience in the independence movement, but Brexit has created a new paradigm the full implications of which, on the case for independence, will not be known until the final UK-EU treaty, and how it works in practice. The task then will be to build the independence vote to a much higher level than now, 60% – not through marches, however good they are for morale, but by engaging with the people at community and doorstep level in an educational campaign based on a well thought out, detailed policy.

I pitch aiming support at that level because, unlike now at 45-50%, it would be exceedingly difficult for any government at Westminster to deny what would patently be a legitimate demand for a referendum.

Sixty per cent too high? We were at only 29% in February 2014, and the difference on polling day was due to a campaign that was more like a national teach-in as the people engaged in politics in a way never seen since 1945. My way will take time, but it is far better to take time and win than rush in and lose.

Jim Sillars

AN idea. Getting ready for independence. Do not sell off Prestwick Airport. Instead start up a Scottish Government-funded research project based at Prestwick. This would be charged with the development of expertise in drone aircraft with a view to launching long-duration surveillance of Scottish fishing waters etc by long duration flights of drone craft equipped with powerful cameras, search lights and powered by hydrogen fuel cells or whatever seems suitable and carbon-neutral.

This seems likely to be more affordable in the long run than purchasing manned US surveillance craft. It seems to me that a small team of scientists (recruited from universities and industry) would be sustainable for a few years and could, in the long run, provide the birth of a lucrative export industry.

Hugh Noble