LIKE much current discussion, Hamish MacPherson’s profile article of December 29 (“This country is not – and has never been – a principality”), though well-intentioned, tilts at windmills.

In fact, Scotland’s route to independence is not elusive, and no magic formula need be sought in the entrails of the Act of Union, which he regards as “the key to such an exit” because it uses the word “kingdom” rather than “state”, whatever he means by that. He betrays his own lack of confidence by pleading that the case should be made by “our best lawyers”. Well, good luck with that fond hope.

Why don’t we just stop such pointless navel-gazing? Bewilderingly, the notion that there is some legal bar to progress is found only amongst our fellow nationalists, desperate to find a way out of what they see as a constraining net. They are encouraged in this fruitless exercise by the SNP’s own blind adherence to the one route to independence that London might well have a veto over, like it or not, and that is a referendum.

Scotland today is part of the Union not because of 1707, but because in 2014 the majority of its people democratically voted No. If we had voted differently, we would have been independent years ago. We now need to have the vote again. It is very simple. There are only two requirements: a leadership which will give us the vote (either by referendum or by election), and a Yes result.

We don’t know if London would try to stymie a referendum by taking Holyrood’s legislation to court, or if any such blocking attempt would succeed. We do know that London could and would do nothing to prevent Scottish independence if we voted for it in a General Election under the appropriate manifesto. That was always the way envisaged, both by London and by nationalists, and it still applies.

The UK constitution, if it even matters on the question, contains no provision whatsoever to prevent Scotland from leaving, and no UK government will depart from their repeated assertion that the Union is voluntary and consensual. So if it turns out that a referendum cannot take place, it is of no consequence, because the electoral route remains open.

By merely acknowledging this fact of the matter, the SNP would unclutter the whole discourse and re-invigorate the movement. So far, they show no sign of doing so, having trapped themselves on the line between irrationality and insanity.

In his recent interview by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Mike Russell contemptuously refused to face the question of what the Scottish Government would do if London managed to block a referendum, babbling phrases like “not going to speculate – confident we will have a referendum – we have a democratic right – the ball is in their court”. Given our constitutional and legal position, in which the people of Scotland are NOT prevented from exercising our inalienable right to self-determination, such drivel is not just silly, but crazy. It is mortifyingly enervating for otherwise good and sensible people who wish for independence to constantly regurgitate the craven nonsense that it is being prevented. If we do go independent, and the sooner the better, we may hope that our lamentable self-destructive characteristic is one of the first things to be jettisoned.

Alan Crocket

NOW it looks like the Prime Minister of England is being led by “100” backbenchers. But these cruel, corrupt lodgers are quite happy to cut pensions up and stop the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift while lining the pockets of their party “donors”.

Meanwhile, up goes the cost of living, gas and electricity like never before in modern times. Food banks and children in poverty are reaching record levels. We, us in Scotland, can do so so much better than this.

Let us all work together in 2022 and make this magnificent country of ours free.

A guid New Year tae yin and aw!

Ken McCartney