THE extent to which we Scots seem to be mesmerised by legal formalities and structures never fails to amaze me. We are at it again over the “claim” that a referendum organised by the Scottish Parliament could be pronounced “illegal” by the recently established Supreme Court in London.

We are being told that – in spite of the fact that the Scottish people are sovereign, a principle long established in law – a British Prime Minister, with only a handful of MPs elected in Scotland, can veto such a referendum, and get the Supreme Court to support him in this.

Now I may be a bit naive and I am not a lawyer, but could someone tell me, just where in the UK’s famous unwritten constitution is it written that the UK Prime Minister has such powers, and what is the actual wording of it?

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Yes, I thought so. This important constitutional principle does not exist anywhere, it is an “imagined” legal restraint. Based on what a court in London might decide, if it was under pressure from a Westminster government to do so.

Even in a case of statutory law, when a court has a clearly written statute to consider, it can only effectively apply this legislation in a democratic country if the community, in general, accept the law and comply with it. If in a blatant case like this, when the majority of the people do not accept it, then such a “law” would be inoperative.

In 1995 a small group of people in Skye met and decided to challenge a law duly passed by the Westminster parliament, the New Roads & Street Works Act, under a section of which tolls would be put on the New Skye Bridge when it opened later that year, and it would be a criminal offence not to pay the toll when crossing the bridge.

Well, we decided we were not going to have it, and we would not pay this toll. Illegal and a criminal act or not, we would not do it.

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It was a long and bitter struggle, during which I was put in prison, but I never did pay the toll, nor any of the fines put on me by the court on a number of occasions. You can go up to Skye and drive over that bridge today, without paying a toll. The legislation is still on the Westminster statute book, but the law is no longer effective.

The lesson is clear, If we in Scotland want to have a referendum and decide to do so, if this leads to a decision by the sovereign Scottish people to return to an independent country, then no decision of any court in England will have any authority or effect on this decision of the Scottish people.

Andy Anderson

ONLY a couple of days after The National published Charlie Kerr’s letter complaining that the SNP would not tell the Scottish people what they are going to do after independence, he is back telling us that he has always believed you should judge people by what they have done and not by what they say they are going to do and has switched his allegiance from the SNP to Alba.

I agree with him that Nicola Sturgeon has indeed proved more than capable of handling the worst pandemic of my lifetime, and deserves our respect for that, as do the SNP, who have proved they can govern better than the Labour-LibDem coalition in Scotland or the Labour, Tories and LibDems in the UK.

I believe that the people of Scotland want to make Scotland a better place to live and have better relationships with all the other countries in the world after we gain our independence.

That is the why I will continue to support Scottish independence through the SNP, because of what it has done, rather than base my support and allegiance on the prospectus for an independent Scotland produced by any political party.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry