CORRESPONDENT Eric Morris (Letters, Feb 6) tells us he doesn’t get the difference in treatment between new Northern Ireland nationalist leader Michelle O’Neill and Nicola Sturgeon by the Unionist press, given that both wish to be free from Westminster control. Isn’t the answer simple?

Consider the wealth of Scotland’s oil reserves exploited to benefit the UK Exchequer, the risks of the nuclear weapons facility in Scotland that Westminster is happy to be located here, the contribution of our science and education sector, the rich resources such as there being more water in Loch Ness than all the standing water in (flood and drought impacted, water-resource challenged) England, our renewable energy generation and its huge potential to replace carbon fuels, agriculture and fisheries, Scottish commercial enterprise and exporting actuality with even more potential – the list is considerable, these are just part of it.

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Is it any wonder the UK is resisting the democratic rights of Scots to determine our own future. What price democracy when there are lucrative riches at stake?

The reality is that for rUK its political and economic standing in the global world will diminish considerably with Scottish independence. That’s why they are resisting Scots asserting their right to independent nationhood, what they are desperate to protect. That’s why Scots are being restrained from breaking away.

Does anyone seriously believe that if we truly were the financial burden the Unionists claim we are to rUK, that we’re too wee and too poor to manage our own affairs (more than half the countries in the world are smaller and many less resourced than we are), there would not have been moves to “allow” Scotland to break away? Do we really believe the British empire’s largesse ever stretched to shelling out for failed nations like they claim we are?

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Were that really true, the Better Together campaign wouldn’t have bothered. Independence would have been allowed to slip by with nary a consideration, and the mainstream Unionist press would have supported it. It’s no coincidence they didn’t.

So, Eric, there’s the answer. Westminster has too much to lose by Scotland’s independence. We’ve just got to campaign hard, prove to Scots the reality, and encourage them to join in and ensure it’s Scotland that wins.

Jim Taylor

SIMILARITIES and differences, us in Scotland and the North of Ireland with a republican FM, Michelle O’Neill? Northern Ireland voted, like us, to stay in the EU. But that’s about all in the way of similarities. We (most of us) can’t qualify for an Irish passport. That means we don’t have unlimited access to the EU, whether that’s fir work, studies, or just life and living.

Northern Ireland got £4 billion (in Theresa May’s time) in the way of a bung whilst our devolved government has to manage and mitigate via our ever-restrictive budget. Now there’s the additional money injected to kick-start the much-required revival at Stormont. And let’s not forget other small matters: access to the single market with all that will bring in the way of trade/financial benefits, and a legally recognised route to a border poll!

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The UK General Election could produce another bonus for the island of Ireland, if the majority of the seats up for grabs in Northern Ireland are won by nationalists. Just imagine then if the general election south of their border produces a Sinn Fein majority government in Dublin. Changed and changing days indeed.

So in the coming months, even with a change of Westminster government, will these inequalities between Northern Ireland and Scotland be addressed and resolved? We are, after all, a union of equals.

In the coming months, what potential is there for meaningful engagement between the Scottish Government, the Senedd, and Stormont to progress devolution and independence? Perhaps the more appropriate question might be, at the forthcoming General Election will Scotland vote in a majority of pro-independence MPs? Will there be an independence-seeking majority pushing the agenda for the like-minded to engage with? Or will a Unionist majority in Scotland imply indy is off the agenda?

Michelle O Neill said: “I believe we’re in a decade of opportunity.”

What will the decade hold for us and independence in Scotland?

Selma Rahman

THE Welsh Parliament (by majority, though without the Labour leader) called for a ceasefire early in the destruction of Gaza, as did Humza Yousaf the First Minister of Scotland.

Now that Stormont has resumed, the newly minted First Minister of Ireland made room in her inaugural speech to call for a ceasefire and express sympathy for the incalculable and unimaginable suffering of the people of Gaza.

As the number of dead teens, children and babies heads for 12,000, can it be sustainable that the UK’s position remains one of not calling for a ceasefire when three of the four nations of the so-called “United” Kingdom do not agree?

Amanda Baker