REGARDING P Davidson’s letter (Salmond’s comment was not a promise, August 9). I very much share his/her exasperation at hearing Unionists’ ad-nauseum repetition of the “once in a generation” myth. It fair rips ma knittin’ every time I hear

Alex Salmond

’s statement characterised as a “promise”, especially when this is so frequently allowed to pass unchallenged by interviewers and journalists.

Here’s my tuppence worth on the matter: 1) It wasn’t a promise; it was the expression of a sincerely and reasonably held belief based on the prevailing circumstances of the time and on the historical context. Getting to choose whether Scotland should become independent for the first time since 1707, and therefore for the first time in all of our lives, was a truly historic vote, an absolutely momentous occasion, and to say achieving this opportunity was hard won is putting it mildly – independence had been fought for by some for decades, and by Salmond for most of his life. It’s entirely understandable, given such a context, that he and others therefore believed that we wouldn’t get another such opportunity for some time to come, for many of us probably not again in our lifetimes.

2) It’s not in the gift of any First Minister, Scottish or UK government, political party or leader, politician, etc to “promise” such a thing: we don’t live in a dictatorship or similarly repressive regime, we live in a democracy – governments change every five years or so, circumstances change, etc.; no-one can foresee what’s going to happen, but most importantly of all, no government has the right to bind future governments to such a “promise” which would effectively be a dictat. Democracy, by definition, is of the people; it’s the people of Scotland who are sovereign – it’s we who decide.

3) The Unionists’ various promises, the Vow, their assurances and threats – not least regarding Scotland’s membership of the EU as part of the UK – have proven to be utter mince, thus rendering the 2014 vote null and void.

For me, the most important point is my second one – I can’t see how anyone who claims to be a democrat (as many Unionists presumably do) could reasonably disagree with it.
Mo Maclean

YESTERDAY we had news of the United Nations having issued a lengthy document concerning the future of the planet, particularly in relation to the food we eat and the need to make far-reaching changes to our collective menus. Land use and management, it calls it. The suggestion seems to be seriously made that the quantity of cattle and other livestock in the world should be hugely reduced and, as far as countries like Britain are concerned, a drastic move towards vegetarian and vegan diets.

Before we get to the possible implications of this policy for Britain, and in particular Scotland, there are some things relating to the present set up which need to be considered.

On waste, it is stated that something like one-third of all food produced is wasted. A lot of this has to be laid at the feet of the food industry and the rules by which they operate. The “use by” and “sell by” date system causes a huge lot of food to be dumped for no good reason other than that it has violated a predetermined arbitrary date, when it could and should still be used for days, and in many cases weeks, beyond that. This whole system needs to be seriously reassessed. Was it put in place to encourage supermarket sales?

While the move towards veganism has, to its devotees, everything going for it, there are all sorts of implications which should be considered. It seems to be suggested that veganism is aided by the support of “additives”; these have to be manufactured and transported around the country. It should be pointed out that there a lot of unresolved questions which have the potential to have a fairly large impact on the future of the life of Scotland, if that direction were to be pursued too enthusiastically.

I would mention just a few. Only a relatively small area of the cultivable land mass of Scotland would be able to produce vegetables in quantity; once produced these would require to be distributed around the country requiring traffic emissions. If the farms presently producing sheep and cattle were to go out of business that would seriously affect the population level and the other tax-paying members of our society, with the drop down follow-on effect on almost all other enterprises in an area, including teaching and health systems.

In addition, no one seems to have researched what the future health situation of the nation would be if we were to go down that route. These situations may suit a certain number of people well, but may in themselves bring problems if a relatively sudden mass adoption were to take place.

From the time when we stopped swinging about in trees and became a land-based mammal species, our ancestors have taken to the eating of meat, and it follows therefrom that our metabolism has adapted to it being in our diet. A relatively sudden return to a solely vegetable diet needs a lot of research to determine what the long--term effects would be.

While actions need to be taken to combat the ruining of the planet by the human species, what is really needed more than anything is the bringing to bear of the influence of a sound and forward-looking Scottish Government and its like minded allies in other countries on the less worldly-responsible large selfish governments around the globe; I can think of several of these!
George M Mitchell
Sheriffmuir, Dunblane

I THINK Dougie Connor makes an excellent point (Can Johnson push through Brexit in the middle of a General Election?, August 9) by suggesting that if Boris Johnson pushes through his “Enabling Act”, then all the SNP MPs should return home and a motion should be presented before Holyrood on the dissolution of the Treaty of Union. As one of the two co-signatories of the treaty we have every right to do so.

I would also suggest that the returning SNP MPs form the basis of an upper chamber of parliament dedicated to putting in place all the mechanisms and institutions we will need as an independent nation and drafting important national legislation such as a written constitution, a plebiscite on rejoining the EU, etc. – in effect, a National Council of Scotland. This chamber should be entirely non-party-political in its decision making and committed to working together for the greater good of all the people of Scotland, not for the vested interests of a few. It should be representative of the highest ideals of democracy and proceed on the basis of full and open debate according to Hegel’s dialectic – thesis, anti-thesis and resolution. It could be led by a president independent of any political party.

One of the things that I have never understood about Brexit was why it was and is being conducted according to party political lines. Something of such magnitude and implications to the UK and its constituent nations should not be dictated by party or individual policy. This is the mistake which has opened the fault lines tearing the UK apart, but which can only lead to our independence.
Solomon Steinbett
Maryhill, Glasgow

COULD someone please explain to me what “Plan B” is, and why on Earth I should be attracted to it? If I am understanding it correctly it means that if our Scottish Government has the referendum arrangement ready, and Boris Johnson says we can’t hold the referendum, we should accept that refusal as being somehow “legitimate” and wait for another election for “authority” to start negotiations for independence.

So this would mean that we accept that Boris Johnson has such constitutional power, so we just back off and seek electoral support to “negotiate” for independence. Negotiate with whom, about what?

Let’s look at the facts: Fact (1): The Scottish people are sovereign. Fact (2): The Scottish people want to have a referendum on independence, and the Scottish Government has a mandate to hold one. Fact (3): The UK does not have a written constitution so there is not a “word” in the constitution which would disallow such a referendum. Fact (4): The United Nations Charter is clear on this subject every country has a right to determine its own form of government, without exception.

So this is an issue of international significance, it has legal, constitutional, and political aspects to it.

The Scottish Government currently has the legal right to organise referendums, which it is currently doing. The only legal question which might arise is whether such a referendum is advisory or not. Well, the answer to that is simple in the UK. The Westminster Parliament claims that with “the Queen in Parliament” it is the sovereign authority, so no referendum in the UK can be other than advisory as indeed the EU one was, and the 2014 referendum was also subject to Westminster approval.

So if the Scottish Government goes ahead with the referendum it would legally be an advisory referendum, just like the EU one was. So far, so good. Now, if the Scottish people vote for independence by a majority, a majority of one is enough; then the Scottish Government will know the will of the Scottish people which in Scotland is the sovereign will.

The Scottish Government will then have sovereign authority to establish Scottish independence and they will have the United Nations Charter and international law on their side as well as the sovereign people.

In these circumstances Boris Johnson, or Jeremy Corbyn might not agree with the Scottish people, but that is not relevant. Scotland will go ahead and establish our independent state, we would prefer to do this in co-operation with the UK Government, and we should try to arrange this; but we will not, and cannot wait for this approval before pressing ahead.

None of this, of course, takes place in a vacuum. Indeed it will take place in a highly charged political situation with the Westminster Government is chaos and the EU and UK entangled in a trading situation which will be very messy and costly for all concerned, including Scotland.

We should make it clear to the EU that Scotland wants to remain in the single market, perhaps in a similar situation as Norway, in the interim period at least, until Scotland has established its independent institutions. We should co-operate with the EU and where possible with the UK to try and bring stability into the trading mess in order to protect Scotland’s people and economic structure as well as we can.

In this situation, what Boris Johnson thinks about our country will be of no importance, what might be of more significance, is what he thinks about trying to save England from the economic mess he drove it into.
Andy Anderson
North Ayrshire