WHILE the right to vote is a fundamental principle of democracy, the need to obey the law is also a core principle that must be adhered to in a civilised society. When Spain voted on its new constitution in 1978, the biggest majority of any region in favour was recorded in Catalonia. More than 90 per cent of Catalans supported the constitution and the clause that forbids any region of Spain from holding a referendum on secession.

Instead of holding an illegal referendum on independence, the Catalans should have demanded a nationwide referendum to alter the Spanish constitution. But of course their fiery leader Carles Puigdemont knew this would not deliver the result that he and his nationalist agitators crave. That is why they pressed ahead with the illegal vote and why Spain now faces a democratic crisis, which could ultimately force the government in Madrid to suspend the Catalonian parliament, or Generalitat.

The dangers of nationalism have been laid bare and the lessons of history have once again been ignored.

Struan Stevenson,

Ballantrae, Girvan, Ayrshire.

I CAN see huge deflections coming along about Catalonia. The discussions will probably be all about the absolutely appalling behaviour of the Spanish Government in Catalonia and about the (entirely predictable) initial EU response to it.

The discussion should however be about the inalienable right of self-determination of the people of Catalonia. This will be swept under the table or, if it is referenced at all, it will be met with a fusillade of legal and constitutional nonsenses.

I hope the Scottish Government and others recognise the importance of this.

A constitution and its laws are only legitimate if they are supported by a majority of the people who live under them. If a majority of the people of Catalonia reject the provisions of the Spanish constitution it has no validity or legitimacy in Catalonia.

It’s called “democracy”.

Dave McEwan Hill,

1 Tom Nan Ragh, Dalinlongart, Sandbank, Argyll.

IN light of the actions of the Guardia Civil during the Catalan referendum and the later, and first, major statement by the King of Spain (“King accuses Catalan leaders after tens of thousands block city streets”, The Herald, October 4), it would appear that the spirit of El Caudillo still lives on in Spain.

T J Dowds,

6q Fleming Road, Cumbernauld.

AS has been stated by Alex Orr and Iain Mann (Letters, October 3), the decision by the Spanish Government to send armed troops to Catalonia, to prevent the people conveying their wish in a peaceful, democratic manner, was deplorable.

This decision was compounded by the King of Spain's endorsement of his government's actions, and as Mr Orr pointed out, the failure of most of Europe to express any regrets. The only explanation for the whole affair is that the future destiny of Europe might be threatened if small parts are allowed to decide their own future; I recall Iain Macwhirter's description of Europe, maybe two years ago, as a “democratic abomination”.

Various important figures in the supra-national structure that overlays the European Union have said that Britain must not be seen to benefit from leaving. In other words, that the UK must be punished. This is a very strange attitude, given that the EU is meant to be a voluntary group, formed to ensure mutual advantages for all the member states. If the latter is true, the decision to leave would be sufficient to cause regret and nobody among those who remain would need to worry.

Senior figures in the EU have stated that their ultimate goal is a single government, controlling the major matters of state such as defence, foreign affairs and the money supply. Such a government would be dominated by Germany, with the French tagging along behind. Is this the kind of future that we would wish for the UK?

Roger Waigh,

4 The Meadows, Helensburgh.