I really enjoyed Iain Macwhirter's essay (The talk of 2013, Comment, January 6).

Had I been at the Stand comedy club as the compere ranted about the uselessness of the Scots, I would have been unable to restrain myself to silence. My biggest worry is the apathy of the electorate and the potential backlash from the Unionist parties in the event of a No vote: Scotland could be thrown into a Westminster neoliberal nightmare. Positivity, enthusiasm and participation are key components of the referendum debate.

How about we get an independence bus on the road? I wonder if Neal Ascherson, William McIlvanney and their colleagues of the summer of 1997 with their motto of "The Bus Party, talking about Scotland" would be interested in giving their tour bus a good service and once again driving off to the four corners of Scotland and endeavouring to engage with the community of the realm of Scotland?

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This is an opportunity to re-engage with marginalised and disaffected groups throughout the land and facilitate a social revolution, where the innate potential of the Scottish people is released. And what a breath of fresh air to have 16-year-olds fully participating with this process. The challenge for the pro-independence advocates is to release their potential, to contribute to the common weal and democratisation of our nation.

John R Hosie


The Scots have a tendency to self-deprecation which can extend to self-destructiveness: which other country has subjected its own people to Clearances, the excesses of Calvinism and sectarianism, and allowed the ruin of religious buildings, from Border abbeys to the Cardross seminary? However, the Scots are much more realistic about our place in the world than the present power elite in England. We are more internationalist, and there is less sterile nostalgia for past greatness. We can be proud of the progressive steps made by Labour and SNP administrations in Holyrood since 1997.

The challenge for both Yes and No campaigns is to protect the gains made since devolution. Iain Macwhirter is correct that the Yes campaign has no clear plan should its independence campaign fail. However, what the No campaigners have not realised is that they too are expected to protect our democratic gains from devolution. Many in that camp support the Union for self-interested motives: their jobs in Westminster depend on it. I would remind both factions that, while Norway may be an aspirational model for an independent Scotland, no-one will forgive a quisling.

Graeme Orr