IN his reply to my previous correspondence perhaps Alexander Potts misunderstood my premise (Letters, Nov 7).

Financial viability is not the definition of a country – most countries run a deficit anyway. What does define a nation is for its people to have the ability to manage its own affairs, to steer and shape it in the way its people see fit, to reflect the customs and standards that define it.

This is why I stated that Scotland is not currently a country, because it is being denied the fundamental rights to do precisely that.

We’re being subsumed into a political and economic UK culture of international isolation, impoverishment of citizens, maltreatment of asylum seekers and lack of democratic integrity that is anathema to us.

Scotland is a colony outpost under the elected dictatorship of the UK that it has no power to change and is dominated by a Westminster system that knows it has too much to lose to allow any test of opinion to Scots regarding independence – while pretending it’s we Scots who would lose out.

This is fundamental to the independence debate and which I have come to realise for me it is all that really matters.

The desire for national autonomy, embracing the patriotism of being a Scot, which is the historic foundation of Scottish nationalism, is the single aspect that Westminster can’t affect, can’t defeat.

Thus it turns the debate to subordinate issues of currency, pensions, trade with rUK (independence from its major trading partner deemed acceptable for UK Brexit but hypocritically not for Scottish independence) and a whole host of others, none of which deterred other former UK colonies, as a diversion Unionists think they will frighten us sufficiently to quell the patriotic fervour they can’t influence.

Colony Scotland is not currently a country in real terms but it can be. We can learn from the emancipation of America. Scotland, too, can become the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We just need Scots to be brave to be free – brave enough to place our faith in the talent of Scots to do what every former liberated UK colony has done and take back control despite the dominant Westminster government working its vested interest.

Then the Saltire can proudly take its place among the flags of free nations.

Jim Taylor


MR Alexander Potts (Letters, Nov 7) seems to have a very low estimation of my level of education and intelligence.

I am perfectly well aware that neither “great” nor “gross”, cognate words from the same Germanic root, are part of the Latin vocabulary, and I venture to remind him that it was his own description of “Gross Britannia” as a Latin phrase that prompted me to use the word “howler”.

Does he seriously imagine I took “Edward Langshanks” to be the man’s actual name?

European history provides dozens of examples of nicknames, complimentary and otherwise, bestowed on kings in their lifetimes and applied to them ever since: William the Lion, John Lackland, James of the Fiery Face, Richard Crookback, Ivan the Terrible, Carlos the Bewitched, Louis the Well-Beloved, and so on.

I had assumed until recently that the nickname Langshanks was given to Edward I by the Scots, but have since learned that he was called Langshanks even by his own subjects, who, of course, knew as well as Mr Potts does or I do that it was simply a nickname.

Finally, as I have published Scots translations of, among other things, Saint-Wxupery’s Le Petit Prince, Adam Mickiewicz’s Crimean Sonnets, Sorley MacLean’s Dain do Eimhir and Lewis Carroll’s two Alice books. Mr Potts doesn’t need to offer me lessons in translation.

Derrick McClure


I THANK Alan Crawford (Letters, Nov 7) for his response to my question regarding how Scotland should avail herself of the right to self-determination.

While I have every sympathy for Mr Crawford’s position I am afraid his suggestion that the question is misguided and that the answer is pretty simple, is unfortunately unrealistic.

Mr. Crawford suggests that if Scotland votes Yes, the UK Government will simply fall into line and independence will then be negotiated, and that ultimately Scottish MPs would simply vacate Westminster and declare Scotland to be an independent state.

If it were that simple then why have we not already done this?

The thrust of my original letter was to say that, given the political, financial and geographical importance of Scotland within the UK, it is unrealistic to expect the UK Government to ever “fall into line”.

The thought that it would suddenly have a complete turnabout and recognise Scottish democracy is wishful thinking. How does Scotland vote Yes if it cannot have a legally recognised referendum?

As previously stated, withdrawing Scottish MPs from Westminster does not in itself guarantee independence.

A unilateral declaration of independence sounds great but without a sound legal basis for such action it would be difficult, if not impossible, for other countries to recognise Scotland’s legitimate claim.

I am afraid the question that, if Scotland is in a voluntary Union how does she leave that Union, still requires a credible answer.

Professor Alan Boyter

Inveraray, Argyll