DAVID Pratt’s article “Slovakia’s election comes with European dangers and lessons for Scots” (Sep 7) was a timely reminder of Neville Chamberlain’s remarks in 1938 about “a faraway country of which we know nothing”.

As a keen student of the routes to independent states, the one thing which can be said is that there is no gold standard or any uniformity. It is like the tributaries of a delta plain.

Any dissolution or independence will be messy, but as long as the mess does not impact adversely on the quality of life of our people it can be managed. It’s in the interests of both former partners to arrange a sensible framework to deal with urgent and legacy issues. As a new nation state, it is a wonderful opportunity for our diplomats, some of whom will have been UK diplomats, to enhance their professional skills.

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Indeed, any failure by the government of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ENWANI) to complete negotiations conditional on a majority Yes vote before the forthcoming independence election will deny it the thing it cherishes most, the prestige of continuing state status. Its politicians and commentators, and regrettably some of ours, just assume that ENWANI will be the continuing state, but there is nothing in international law which automatically ensures this.

Dissolution of the Union without agreement effectively ends the Union, but the assets and liabilities of the Union are owned by the former partners jointly and severally. That means that both former partners must agree any action made on behalf of the former state, whether that be the approval of any payments from HMRC, implementation of an international treaty obligation or MoD instruction to our defence forces.

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Some may read that with disbelief given the disparity in population sizes, but they forget that government policy and instructions are carried out by civil and public servants who will want to ensure that they are not open to the risk of personal civil and criminal liability from either former partner if the actions they take prejudice one of the former partners without its prior consent. Guarantees of immunity from one former partner will offer little comfort if they wish to venture outwith that partner’s national boundaries at some future date.

If the UK Government and opposition were to be so foolish as to not negotiate before the independence election, then the pressure to reach agreement after dissolution will be so overwhelming that the damage to their reputation will show the post-Brexit fallout as a minor irritation by contrast.

Graeme McCormick

THE letter from Rab Doig in Wednesday’s National was the scariest I have read, with the thought that independence will lead to the cracking open of that crypt that is the House of Lords and its Scots-born former politicians and others slouching back up the low road to Loch Lomond.

After some checking I am glad to say that it is not the case. Once the Lords becomes a legislative chamber of the newly created United Kingdom of Southern Great Britain and Northern Ireland it will be business as usual for its members born within or outwith it.

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Scots MPs will return home as they no longer have a constituency to represent, and not before time. Lords only represent themselves so no change is needed. As long as they are nationals of this new state and are resident in it. they can stay.

Off course Barron Foulkes may well believe that independence could cost him his place, having as faulty a grasp of this subject as he has on so many others.

David Rowe