ALTHOUGH they represent a mere snapshot of opinion, two comments, reported in The National from All Under One Banner marchers on Saturday would appear to accurately sum up the growing mood of a nation: “For a big part of Scotland now, the UK Government we have does not represent this country in any way, shape or form now” and “The difference between Scotland and England is just so enormous. They don’t represent us now, they haven’t done for decades and they never will.”

The “they” the marcher was referring to was Westminster, its personnel and its institutions. Scottish independence is now inevitable because such comments appear to accurately reflect an increasing mood amongst the people who live in Scotland, a whole movement withdrawing their consent to be part of a system they no longer consider to legitimately represent them. This is the result of a complete loss of trust in the system, and particularly the personnel who dominate in that system.

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It is a fundamental truism that any political system or nation state can only survive if it meets the necessary criteria of consent, legitimacy and trust. Even highly centralised totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union have found this to their ultimate demise, and the present UK is in serious default on all three.

Indeed, Scotland’s insistence on charting its future on the basis of its right to self-determination is the result of a fundamental failure of the British political and economic system to satisfy those three criteria. As a result, the foundations of the UK are crumbling and the source of that rot is Westminster.

The Westminster system as it stands today is a fraud, governed and administered by fraudsters and liars who glorify in their lies and deceptions and, most importantly, who take great pleasure in persistently reminding the Scottish people that they don’t matter and their opinions are of no concern. Westminster is completely complicit in its loss of trust and legitimacy and therefore the Scots are increasingly withdrawing their consent. By their voting behaviour, the people of England have transparently signalled that they have different priorities and policy goals than the Scots; in short, we no longer have very much in common.

Consent is contingent on trust and legitimacy and the Westminster parties, particularly the Tories, have forfeited all and any trust due to their behaviour, both individually and collectively. Trust and consent must be earned, they do not come with the job, and Boris in particular has disgraced himself in every position and office he has held since he first emerged in the public domain. It is a matter of deep concern to Scottish people that the electorate in England can give a mandate to such an appalling creature.

On a wider front, in their attempts to counter the growing demands for self-determination the Unionist community have consistently lied and deceived, discarding all pretence of honesty and decency. As a result, the breakdown in trust and legitimacy is systemic as it extends to all three major Westminster parties and their personnel, with Labour having found to its cost the price of its deception and betrayal of the Scottish electorate. The British political system does indeed reflect George Orwell’s description of politics as “a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia” and the Scottish people are no longer prepared to respect the legitimacy of the political order on which it is founded.

Peter Kerr

SOMETIMES one must be cruel to be kind, as the old saying goes, so someone ought to take the well-meaning and ever-optimistic Henry McLeish aside and quietly whisper to him that, in stark contradiction to the article headline (McLeish: Labour are running out of time to offer indy alternative, January 14), Labour have long since run out of time on the independence question.

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When the closest the party leadership in Scotland can get to an independence policy is to vaguely entertain a notion of a federalism that our English cousins (and politicians) have no intention whatever of introducing on their own account, let alone ours, the only responses they are likely to encounter are either a sad shake of the head at their continuing self-delusion, or an angrier one that federalism is nothing more than a devious ploy intended as a poison-pill revisitation of the dastardly “Devo-Max Vow” of yore. Besides the unlikelihood of any implementation, federalism can clearly never provide Scotland with adequate protection from the kind of egregious imposition exemplified by the looming forcible Brexit.

The days of federalism as a realistic response to the utterly sclerotic condition of the UK state are long gone, so any party which foolishly envisions this as the means of revitalising ever-waning support in Scotland is deservedly heading for extinction here. Even the LibDems, for whom this was a longstanding major policy plank, have long since fallen conspicuously silent on the issue (as well they might).

Robert J Sutherland