Scotland’s right to independence


Sir, – David Whitehead writes (March 18th) that the SNP’s attempt to secure a special deal for Scotland because she voted to remain in the EU is as indefensible as claiming that “any constituency that voted that way should be entitled to the same right”.

Your reader forgets that Scotland is not a constituency or a random group of parliamentary constituencies, but a nation – though not an independent country – and has been a nation for centuries.

She is in a position similar to that of Ireland before 1914, with the difference that, Scotland having already secured “home rule” and with a long-established distinctive legal and administrative system, she should find it easier to separate from the UK than Ireland did in 1922. If the Scottish people were to follow the example of Sinn Féin in 1918, and unilaterally withdraw its MPs from Westminster, declaring independence, such a decision would be no more objectionable than the one which resulted in the foundation of independent Ireland.

As for the Northern Irish, who Mr Whitehead claims ought to behave like any other part of the UK and accept any decision by the British parliament, they were actually the first to establish that the resolute view of a majority of the voters in the province must form a conclusive argument for special constitutional provisions. This was in 1912, with the Solemn League and Covenant and resulted in partition by 1921.

If the British “constitution” is based on precedent, then 1921-2 should be quite conclusive. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – John FitzGerald’s elegantly argued economic case against Scottish independence (Business Opinion, March 17th) reminds me of a remark attributed to Charles Haughey when he met Margaret Thatcher, “No one ever made history by reducing the rate of inflation”.

Nicola Sturgeon will be remembered if she delivers Scottish independence, whereas maintaining the rate of economic growth or reducing the fiscal deficit will consign her to political oblivion.

How many people can recall the rate of economic growth in Ireland in 1916?

Significant political achievements usually come at a price, if only in the short term. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 9.