Ex­change of the week Scot­land’s love of Brus­sels

The Week - - Letters -

To The Times

Alex Massie says that the in­tel­lec­tual case for Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence is “co­her­ent” and “ro­bust” (“Brexit hasn’t put Scots in­de­pen­dence to bed”), and can be summed up in the phrase “con­trol must be taken back”. One won­ders, then, what the English are sup­posed to make of the fact that, in the view of the SNP, tak­ing back con­trol in­volves leav­ing one union (the UK), but re­main­ing part of an­other union (the EU)? This is es­pe­cially puz­zling be­cause the union they want to leave is one forged of fam­ily ties, a com­mon lan­guage and shared his­tory, whereas the one they want to be part of is none of these.

One doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily ex­pect na­tion­al­ism of what­ever stripe to be log­i­cally con­sis­tent, and maybe that isn’t nec­es­sary for it to qual­ify as “ro­bust”. But “co­her­ent”? Not by any nor­mal def­i­ni­tion of the word. Robin Aitken, Ox­ford

To The Spec­ta­tor

A neat but delu­sional mythol­ogy ap­pears to be gain­ing cur­rency that the Brexit ref­er­en­dum can be un­der­stood as a con­flict be­tween met­ro­pol­i­tan elit­ists vot­ing Re­main and the frus­trated masses be­yond the M25 long­ing to Leave. This anal­y­sis may chime sat­is­fy­ingly with re­cent trends in some other democ­ra­cies, but it dis­torts what hap­pened in this one. In the two UK coun­tries fur­thest from Lon­don, the votes went against Brex­it­ing by big­ger mar­gins than the Uk-wide Leave ma­jor­ity: 56-44 in North­ern Ire­land and 62-38 in Scot­land. Lon­don vs The Rest only works if The Rest ends at Carlisle.

In­ci­den­tally, both these mar­gins were clearer than the sup­pos­edly de­fin­i­tive out­come of Scot­land’s 2014 in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum. Keith Aitken, Mont­pel­lier, France

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