LAST week I had the privilege, along with my wife, of attending the Edinburgh Fringe event The Ayes Have It! The Ayes Have It! led by Alex Salmond and the show producer and creator Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

Kate Forbes made a vigorous case for independence followed by David Davies making his case for the Union.

Kate, as always, made a case that was almost impossible to argue against, but I have to admit I was impressed with David – he read the room and knew the audience weren’t on his side, so played on the humour and audience engagement.

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The seconding speeches, by former SNP MSP Jim Eadie, followed by former Labour MP Sir Brian Donohoe, were a bit more questionable.

Jim made a favourable comment that it was Winnie Ewing that said with her characteristic flair and panache “stop the world, Scotland wants to get on”.

Then it was the turn of Sir Brian, who made maybe the only point that angered the floor, when he quoted the line “home rule is Rome rule”.

Thankfully, up next were the students of Broxburn Academy, 17-year-old Emma, making the case for the ayes and 14-year-old Sarah speaking for the nos.

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Emma made the case for independence exceedingly well and set out why is it essential; while Sarah didn’t disagree with the merits of independence, she made a very strong case that we needed a bigger margin of support before we reclaim our independence.

Both of the young ladies’ courage and conviction could have easily swung the vote and I am sure everyone in attendance would agree that our current politicians could learn a thing or two from these fantastic young ladies.

Finally it came to the vote, and given the concept of the show I think it’s fair to say the bookies wouldn’t have even offered odds on the outcome.

However, in my opinion the real winner here was the lesson for true debate to define and outline our principled, sovereign right to democracy.

Tasmina, Alex and David have done a fantastic job in reminding us of how politics can, and in my personal opinion should, be done.

Debate and democracy is something we are so missing in this country and The Ayes Have It! showed an example of how we can bring that back.

I hope our current politicians can learn from this, as well as future politicians in an independent Scotland.

For if we want to stop the world while Scotland gets on, we must define our aspiration, for when we reach that destination.

Hector Macleod
Alba Highland Organiser, Isle Of Skye

I’M no lawyer and I haven’t read in detail either the 1689 Bill of Rights or the 1998 Scotland Act. However, in relation to the Scottish Government’s arguments against the Section 35 blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and Alister Jack’s counterarguments, it would seem logical to assume that if it is impermissible for Holyrood to “impeach and question” proceedings in the parliament, then a similar argument should work in the opposite direction.

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Long before Holyrood did its “impeaching and questioning”, A Jack and other Tories were very active in “impeaching and questioning” the GRR proceedings in the Scottish Parliament, and that was not always within the protected environment of the House of Commons. After all, since the ancient Bill does not specify any particular parliament, and if the Scotland Act did not modify the direction of action of the 1689 law, then it must be assumed that it applies to any parliament in the UK. The biter bit, maybe!

Derek Ball

ANENT the GRR court challenge, I believe that one particular argument being put forward by Alister Jack is sufficient by itself to defeat his defence. That is his citing of the Bill of Rights Act 1689.

That Act, by its very date, applied to the English Parliament which existed before 1707, when the Treaty of Union stipulated that both the English and Scottish Parliaments would be dissolved and a new, joint one established. An Act prior to that date, therefore, applied only to that defunct parliament and has no relevance to either of the two current parliaments and so should be inadmissible in the court case.

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Were it to be judged relevant by the court, would that not indicate that they believe that Westminster is the continuing English parliament, never dissolved, but simply renamed, thereby breaking the Treaty of 1707 at the outset? Is that not tantamount to admitting that the Union does not legally exist and does that mean that Scotland is, de facto, already independent?

If this defence from Alister Jack is accepted, the court will, I believe, be making a political not legal judgment, just as happened in the recent Supreme Court decision based on the effect on Westminster sovereignty, which has no relevance in Scotland.

P Davidson

THE efforts of the Scottish Government to achieve a pay settlement with junior doctors is to be welcomed in the interest of us all. This is a major achievement in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and NHS strikes in other parts of the UK. However, I was rather taken aback that this was not front-page news, with banner headlines in The National.

Catriona C Clark

I WONDER if the trustees of The British Museum are aware of the irony of their sacking of an employee for stealing artefacts from the museum.

John McArthur