IAIN Macwhirter (“Is there a sporting chance for Britain?”, The Herald, August 16) asks whether Team GB is the last bastion of Better Together - in fact it is the embodiment of the principle that a union creates an outcome that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This can also be seen in the relative weakness of Scottish teams and individuals in sports where Scotland is still competes separately – such as football and rugby –and above all in the way in which individuals thrive when succeeding in the more challenging UK context.

Kenny Dalglish was of course an excellent player at Celtic – but only became a great one after he moved to Liverpool and the old English First Division. Likewise Denis Law before him – it hard to see that he would have been the same player if he had stayed in Aberdeen.

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We can all think of examples in other fields that follow this paradigm such as Alexander Fleming in medical research, or Keir Hardie (or Gordon Brown) in politics. The (Scottish) former Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor likes to point out that Adam Smith was a visitor on the first day that establishment opened: a Scot benefiting from the access to the world-class knowledge that the wider union afforded.

Team GB is sign of the great success of the Union, and the opportunities which it will continue to offer Scotland and Scots. In fact, in the slim chance of there being a further independence referendum, "Team GB" might be just the inspirational message to secure a handsome victory for Remain.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow.

YOUR Olympics article “Scotland would have been at 13 in medal table by competing as an independent nation under the Saltire”, The Herald, August 16) is flawed on a number of levels.

All British athletes, irrespective of where they are from in the UK, benefit from UK Sport's funding, sourced from the National Lottery and the Exchequer.

Athletes from Scotland also benefit from economies of scale – from pooling and sharing resources with others from all corners of the UK.

While naturally it's difficult to be definitive, it seems unlikely an independent Scotland would be able to match the resources provided to Scottish Olympians under the Team GB aegis.

Like everyone in Scotland, I'm delighted our local athletes are performing well. However, rather than being right near the top of the medals table as part of Team GB, isn't it more likely that an independent Scotland's position would be similar to Ireland's position, currently 57th?

Martin Redfern,

4 Royal Circus, Edinburgh.

IAIN AD Mann (Letters, August 15) seems to think that because the United Kingdom has borrowing of £1.62 trillion, an independent Scotland should be able to cover the shortfall of £9 billion in its revenues identified in the recent report by Government Expenditure and Revenue (Scotland) – GERS -– quite easily by government borrowing.

He does not seem to understand, first of all, that the amount of UK national debt has no relevance to the question of whether or not an independent Scotland would be able to cover a shortfall in revenues by borrowing.

The UK national debt is funded by the issue of government securities that are mainly bought by UK-based financial institutions such as insurance companies, pension funds and investment funds. In an independent Scotland there would almost no market within Scotland for government debt. The financial institutions that are based in Scotland, Standard Life for example, could not invest in the debt issued by a Scottish government because the bulk of their liabilities would still be in sterling because about 90 per cent of their customers are in England.

An independent Scottish government would have to try to sell its debt abroad. It is unlikely that debt expressed in a Scottish currency would be attractive to foreign investors but taking on the liability to repay borrowing in other currencies would be very risky.

If the Scottish currency fell against the currency in which the borrowing had been made, the cost of servicing the debt, which would be a lot higher than the cost at which the UK government can borrow because of the fact that an independent Scotland would have no track record in borrowing and, more importantly, repaying borrowing, would increase sharply and the deficit the debt was supposed to cover would get worse.

Mr Mann says “it is perfectly feasible that if Scotland had the normal borrowing powers of a self-governing nation we could cover negative variations between income and expenditure”. The probability is that attempting to do exactly this would have disastrous consequences for us all.

Peter Wylie,

26 New Street, Paisley.

IAIN AD Mann hits the nail on the head once more with his comparative analysis of the UK and Scottish economies

My own nutshell concept of the Scottish position is that we had extra money poured into St Andrew’s House in the post-war years as well as our so-called “share” of the proceeds of Labour’s profligate borrowing and spend, to thwart the nationalists, yet the Unionist parties now use that to blame us for having a financial deficit. And when our economic figures are positive, successive so-called Scottish Secretaries take the credit for their UK policies having benefited us, yet when they are adverse they ask the First Minister what he or she is going to do about it. They surely know that the economy is a matter reserved to Westminster.

As Mr Mann implies, if the UK Government had the limited powers we have, it would not function, either. In the context of the EU referendum debate, it did not seem to understand that the arguments it put forward for taking powers back from Europe to London were not a million miles away from those vis a vis Scotland and the UK.

It is about time these parties, and their sympathisers in the Letters Pages, realised their own responsibility for the SNP’s success, having not spotted the direction of travel of Scottish politics, and offering nothing to combat it, except, of course, to put in place devolution and the Scottish Parliament.

Douglas R Mayer,

76 Thomson Crescent, Currie.

KEITH Howell (Letters, August 16) asks for clarity from NIcola Sturgeon in these post-Brexit days, but I note that he isn't asking for clarity from Theresa May. I would remind Mr Howell that the EU Referendum was held in late June and this is only the middle of August. In calling for more clarity from the First Minister, Mr Howell should bear in mind that the Brexit situation is not one that Nicola Sturgeon hoped for or sought, indeed she campaigned for the entire UK to remain within the European Union, and proposed that the UK should leave only if that was the result voted for by all the UK nations. She is now trying to find a way whereby Scotland could remain within the European Union.

Mr Howell suggests that Scotland has never been as wholeheartedly for the European Union as one might imagine. As every local authority area in Scotland voted to stay within the EU, and as the vote over all was 62 per cent in favour of remaining, I would have thought that was a pretty good indication of Scotland's support for the EU, and gives the First Minister a mandate to try to resolve a situation not of her, or of Scotland's making.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road, Stirling.

HAVING read the nonsense being spouted by the boss of RBS which is obviously political (“RBS boss reignites row over vow to move HQ down south”, The Herald, August 15) I will no longer bank with them. My money would obviously be unsafe in such economically illiterate arms.

B Mckenna,

Overtoun Avenue, Dumbarton.