THE failure to reach agreements with the EU is causing a lot of angst among your correspondents. Of course we want to trade with the EU and on favourable terms. Arguably, because of our long association and our standing as one of the few countries which honestly paid its dues and kept its commitments, we deserve special terms, despite the desire of the EU to punish us for leaving, as if we are erring schoolboys under a headmaster, a source of great anger among us.

Because a hard Brexit has never frightened us, the strategy of taking it to the wire makes good sense. The EU countries want to trade with us: sell us their exports as well as receive our goods and services. This will become more and more important to them as deadlines approach. Hard Brexit is not in their interest.

We should not be paying for the EU after we leave. We are leaving in order that we no longer require to pay, partly. We are tired of bolstering countries like Greece with their fundamental fiscal corruption and incompetence. Nor should we still be bound by EU law even in the transition. For Michel Barnier and his team to make demands of this kind is opportunistic and ruthless. No way to treat an old friend.

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It is, I believe, very important that we refuse to be bullied into unreasonable terms and conditions. Mr Barnier thinks only of his own good and of his allies in the EU. If he were a decent person he would think of ours and he ought to if he values an association with us in the future.

Let them drive us out into the cold if they wish. We will make new arrangements as Churchill's country did before and saved the world, including even France, Poland, Italy and the likes from the desperate straits in which they had sunk. We have been alone before and are unafraid. We will manage far better than if tied down and smothered by the faceless bureaucrats of the EU who did not have the bottle to defend the Ukraine recently. What use are they against Vladimir Putin?

William Scott,

23 Argyle Place, Rothesay.

PERHAPS it is timely, for all who are involved in the Brexit debate, to relax and let nature take its course. Its end, as the sweep of history testifies, is inevitable.

As distinct from Hitler and force of arms to unite Europe, this lot is much more sleekit in using sleight of hand; for example, where has Greece gone since its financial debacle?

Is there anywhere on the continent of Europe where there is not civil unrest? If "our friends in Europe" keep imposing threatening conditions on those negotiating, the possibility of similar behaviour in this country may well be experienced.

All things considered, it may be that our imminent departure is timely before a worsening situation emerges.

George Murray,

113 Dundonald Road, Troon.

SO we are to be worse off after Brexit ("Leaked Whitehall report claims whole UK will lose out on Brexit", The Herald, February 8). Who knew? Nigel Farage, Ruth Davidson, Jacob Rees Mogg, Michael Gove? We voted for poverty, did we not, just as we voted against independence for Scotland (collectively)? Next time, let's get it right. There's lots of oil out there, do not give it to Westminster and the City of London again.

Andrew McCrae,

35 St Andrews Drive, Gourock.

WE'RE all well aware of the reason for holding the referendum on membership of the European Union and the fact that it was hastily drawn up, poorly funded and, most importantly, that the public were ill informed on the complexities of the issue. It's clear that people voted on many issues but we were told by David Cameron that this is democracy in action and that the will of the people must be obeyed.

Fast forward a year and a half and we find that the Cabinet ministers in the Government seem to be belatedly realising that leaving the European Union is indeed complex and that their efforts in reaching an agreed position are beginning to look as shambolic as the referendum process itself. Just like the country, the Cabinet are divided on the issue. And Theresa May, just like her predecessor, tells us that this is democracy in action and that the will of the people must be obeyed.

Most people now realise that such a blunt instrument as a referendum was the wrong approach to such an issue.

Surely the time has come for all of us to see true democracy in action and that a final vote be given to all of us on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Hugh Phillips,

16 Old Bothwell Road, Bothwell.

"SCOTLAND after Brexit" is the theme of this year's David Hume Institute lectures.

A former chairman of the famed institute, Jeremy Peat, hopes this may be the start of a constructive debate on how to improve the performance of the Scottish economy in the medium, not the very short, term.

The regional landscape that Scotland, let alone the UK, must operate within? A fundamental question here is how long the European Union will survive after Brexit. The president of France has grand plans for the EU but suggested last month that if other governments make the same mistake as the UK in holding a referendum then these states would vote to leave too. Unsurprisingly therefore Emmanuel Macron is coming up against even domestic opposition to his proposals for improving French competitiveness, mainly involving the reduction of labour rights. In fairness he seems to be grudgingly acquiescing to the demands of international capital on which his country depends – administered by investors with little national allegiance. It is apparent that, at present, there is no intention in international politics to change this fundamentally. Mr Macron is between a rock and a hard place.

Elsewhere in the region, the reported anti-EU rebellion in Italy may force it to leave both the Eurozone and the EU. Countries in central and eastern Europe have few reservations about accepting the rules of the coming hegemon, China. Germany is finding the politics of keeping the EU together almost unbearable.

The global landscape is levelling.

Ian Jenkins,

7 Spruce Avenue, Hamilton.