WHAT will it take for those still believing in the benevolence of the Union to face facts?

First we have all the evidence of the Internal Market Bill negating many of the powers vested in Holyrood by the devolution settlements. These include reducing food standards, animal welfare and environmental controls to make a trade deal with the US possible and leaving the NHS “on the table” to allow US companies to bid for it. Add reducing our higher building standards, which protect us from a Grenfell-style disaster, to match those south of the Border “to protect cross-border trade”, which over decades has never been affected by the existing differences.

But other aspects are more fundamental and critical. Scots law, which is protected as separate in perpetuity under the Treaty of Union, is to be scrutinised by an English legal panel to consider changes in the way it subjects our elected representatives to independent scrutiny. Equally, we now hear that the higher standards of training for teachers in our independent education system will be reduced in line with those in England.

Unfortunately, these are only a small sample of the diminution of standards, removal of devolved powers and rejection of the conditions on which the Union is based. Are these departures from a legally binding Treaty not a major breach of international law? Does there still exist in reality a Union from which we need follow a convoluted path to leave?

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How much more evidence do we need that England has already left the Union and Scotland is de facto now independent?
L McGregor

YOU quote Labour’s Iain Gray as saying “we have had ... countless discussion documents, draft bills, bills, consultation papers, commissions, consultations in draft bills, more white papers” in relation to the SNP’s pursuit of independence.

I have been a member of the Scottish National Party for about 50 years. I have dutifully read various documents sent in our First Minister’s name, and other information sent by my busy local party.

However I don’t attend meetings or conferences, I don’t go on marches any more, and although active on social media, I don’t always feel secure in debating independence with misguided acquaintances.

What material is available to the passive but passionate supporter of independence? I can talk in parables, but I want to be able to talk knowledgeably about our new currency, our new Scottish bank, our trade – for example, Union Jack intimated to the chamber at least five times during Scottish Questions last week that Scotland would not be able to maintain the 60% of its trade which is done with England after independence. But he didn’t explain why that trade couldn’t continue, with or without a border, how our cross-border transport systems will run, what our businesses will have to prepare, how our economic practices might change – and so much more.

Time marches on. The older I get, the longer it takes me to digest a tricky document – my Latin training often helps. So I ask, when are we likely to be given the information we need to inform, debate or simply challenge uninformed drivel from the nasty Unionists and the Scottish media?
Kate McGeough

AS a strong supporter of independence, I am dismayed by what I see happening in my constituency over the selection of an SNP candidate for next year’s Holyrood election.

Our current MSP has held the seat unchallenged since 2007, but now for the first time faces a challenge. Yet that challenge will not take place on a level playing field.

Already two prominent Cabinet secretaries have gone public with an endorsement of their current colleague. Neither has an interest in this constituency nor any detailed knowledge of the concerns of constituency members, but yet they feel free to discriminate in favour of the establishment candidate without taking the time to examine the credentials of the challengers.

The seat is not the personal fiefdom of the incumbent and it may be, in the days ahead, that the challengers can present a vision that has the potential to inspire party members to new levels of active engagement beyond what they have grown accustomed to. That task has now been made very much harder by the party establishment looking after its own.

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If this represents what lies ahead in an independent Scotland then the case for pursuing that goal is substantially weakened. We have seen what happened with Labour in Scotland. I am very greatly saddened to see respected figures like Jeane Freeman and Michael Russell following the same dismal path.
David Nicholson
West Kilbride

THIS is the same Tory party that piously told us the 2016 Brexit vote had to be honoured but is so cavalier in reneging on its EU withdrawal. This is a Tory party hell-bent on hauling everybody in Britain into harmful trade deals that will smash numerous standards in health, social welfare, conditions of employment, animal welfare and guarantees of balance and impartiality in such matters as justice and mass media. This is a party that will engage in actively dismantling all the infrastructures which support these standards and guarantees.

Britain is being oven-readied, one might say, for removal of its prize assets, which include among others, the presumption of support in times of need, be this illness, poverty, or consequence of criminal behaviour. The EU, whatever might be its faults, subscribes to the values implicit in these infrastructures and presumptions, as well as offering the precious option of peaceful resolution between member countries when policy confrontations arise.

Scotland, as is well known, voted to stay in the EU. Independence is not an option, it is a necessity.
Ian Johnstone