NOW that the Scottish Government have fired the starting gun for the independence referendum, it seems to me very important that we should do our very best to ensure that when the referendum takes place the ballot is secure and properly conducted so that we can rely on the published outcome.

Many Scots will think that this is obvious and hardly requires saying, After all, we are a democratic country and run regular elections, so we have great experience of running elections and making sure they are conducted safely and securely and properly reflect the votes of those entitled to vote. Is that not obvious to everyone? Well, that is what I used to believe. However, that is not what happened at the last Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

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The official figures produced by the Electoral Management Board for that referendum, if carefully studied, convinced me – and no doubt would convince anyone else who studied them carefully and logically — that the postal ballot in that referendum could not have been valid and that this ballot must have been rigged.

I know, this is a shocking claim to make, and coming from a Yes supporter like myself it might be seen as just sour grapes and the reaction of a poor loser. However, I repeat, the main evidence that the postal ballot was rigged comes not from me, but from the figures themselves which I got from the Electoral Management Board.

What these figures tell us is that there was a highly significant majority in the postal ballot in favour of No while in the polling booths by contrast there was a small majority for Yes.

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They tell us that if there had been the usual BBC exit poll published at the close of polling, as is usual, we would all have gone to bed with the news that the Yes vote was ahead.

They tell us that in half of all local authority areas, postal voter turnout was a record more than 95% – a level of turnout for which I can find no equal in the world where democratic elections are held. They tell us that if you exclude those who were still on the register, but could not vote, then more people voted than were entitled to.

I have done a study of that ballot and this is what the figures are telling me. I asked the EMB to explain there figures, but they could not do so. Yet these are their figures.

There have been a number of cases in UK courts where postal ballot rigging has been identified. The position in Northern Ireland with the postal ballot is different from the rest of the UK to prevent ballot rigging, so it seems to me that if we want to ensure that the voting at the referendum is not rigged this time, now would be a good time to look at this and perhaps the adoption of the Northern Ireland system might be a way of addressing it.

Andy Anderson

NICK Cole (Letters, June 17) says: “We can only introduce our own currency when the time and conditions are right and we cannot start making it until after independence.” How does he think we could call ourselves independent if we were tied to the currency of what would by then be another country?

We would have no freedom, for example, to set interest rates to suit conditions here in Scotland, and would be constrained by having to accept monetary and fiscal conditions set by the central bank of that other country to suit their objectives, which would not always be the same as ours.

“Independence” on those terms would leave Scots still bound to policies and decisions that would be made elsewhere but would impact on all our lives. No matter how you try to dress it up, that would not be independence!

Peter Swain