A second Scottish independence referendum could stop Brexit in its tracks

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How amusing it is to see the actions of the Conservative and Unionist Party systematically dismembering the Union that it allegedly holds so dear.

First, David Cameron carries through on his reckless decision to hold a referendum on EU membership. A Leave vote results.

Now, Nicola Sturgeon has called for another referendum on Scottish independence, premised in the main on the sovereignty of the Scottish people in deciding they want to remain in the EU. Sturgeon would seem likely to win such a referendum, given the narrowness of the defeat last time.

If the referendum goes ahead, this must stop UK negotiations to leave the EU in its tracks. Leaving the EU is already complex enough but will become a whole lot more so if Scotland becomes an independent country wishing to stay in the EU. The EU will simply refuse to negotiate until the Scottish referendum is complete.

The Brexit vote has also helped push the cause of Irish unification, bringing the north and south of Ireland together in a desire to remain in the EU.

What a state the Tories have got the Union into. Cameron set the wheels in motion but May’s arrogant refusal to take on the concerns of those who want to remain has helped make a bad situation a whole lot worse. Though for Remainers, the actions of Sturgeon in calling for a new referendum must make the chances of ever really leaving the EU a bit more remote.

Paul Donovan

Would Scotland survive in a post-UK European Union?

If Scotland does get another referendum in which the majority vote to leave the UK, there are certain outcomes which they should consider.

When they are alone in the EU and no longer a major region of an important member state, they may find that being 20th by population size makes them just another minor player in a crowded field and will not deliver the promises made to them by the SNP.

Warm words of welcome from the major EU states are unlikely to be echoed by existing members of a similar size to Scotland in the real world and it could get rough and dirty towards the bottom of the EU league table.

After all, the UK as a whole has just shown what confusion and uncertainty can follow a slow motion leap into the unknown based largely on distorted facts, lies and bigotry.

One radical step they may like to consider would be to let the English have a vote on their exit. They may be pleasantly surprised at the result, at least in the short term.

Chris Powell

A golf club has a better method of making decisions than our Government

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield) has voted to admit women members. This decision required the approval of a rule change by two-thirds of the membership. 

A golf club requires the endorsement of a change in its membership by a two-thirds majority. Scots are – again – to be faced with choosing membership of the UK on the basis of an over 50 per cent vote. The serious matter of membership of the United Kingdom appears to need less of a positive endorsement than the relatively trivial matter of golf club membership. 

The UK is to exit the EU on the basis of a 51.9 per cent majority, meaning that almost half of voters chose to Remain. The fate of our 300-year union is to be decided by a simple majority. It seems that we have lost all sense of proportion. A golf club has more sense than those in charge of referendums.

Jill Stephenson

Are Theresa May's hands tied in the Brexit negotiations?

I am confused. I am being told that our Prime Minister must have complete freedom to negotiate with the European Union so as to obtain the best possible “Brexit” deal for the UK. Her hands must not be tied.

To that end, our Government has voted that Parliament will only have a yes/no vote on whatever deal is secured at the end of the negotiations. A “no” decision would be a rejection of whatever trading terms are negotiated, and, we suppose, an adoption of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. Numerous commentators, more knowledgeable than I am, regard this as “the worst of all outcomes”.

So, therefore, all the other 27 members of the EU have to do is to propose a marginally better deal for the UK than that offered by the WTO. In what way is that not “tying the hands of our Prime Minister”?

Please excuse my lack of comprehension, and I trust that your readers will help to clear my confusion.

David Hill

It's time to stop the cruel show of horse racing

Most people in Britain care about horses, but when it comes to the Cheltenham Festival many tend to gloss over the animals' plight and focus instead on the large, silly hats. But make no mistake: while women show off their finery, horses suffer on the track.

They collapse, crash through railings, sustain broken legs and necks, and endure what the industry euphemistically calls “breakdown” – as if these beautiful animals were nothing more than old cars. Seven horses died during last year's event. How many more must pay the ultimate price for humans' cruel pursuits before horse racing is finally put out to pasture?

Jennifer White, assistant press officer, PETA UK

Comparisons between Scotland and Greece are not meant to be complimentary 

Edinburgh is known as “the Athens of the North”. With falling revenues and a debt-to-earnings ratio of alarming proportions, let us fervently hope the rest of Scotland does not become “the Greece of the North”.

Robert Walker