THE opinion of Professor Adam Tomkins ("Indyref2 is a dead as Monty Python’s parrot. Why can’t they move on?", The Herald, May 31) could not be more acute or more accurate: there is no lawful unilateral route to Indyref2 and it is not going to happen under the current constitutional settlement. One day perhaps those still fighting the battles of 2014 will come to their senses and acknowledge this fact of political life, and then they will see that a change of strategy is required.

This may involve mobilising their political forces to work within the other parties – Labour, LibDems and the Tories – to achieve a broad consensus in favour of a further referendum, as was the case in the successful campaign for devolution. Alternatively, it could mean campaigning for the permanent transfer of the power to hold a referendum to the Scottish Parliament – for what it is worth, I would support the latter provided it followed international best practice and required a two-thirds majority for major constitutional change.

What each of these rational moves would require, however, is for nationalists to seek compromise and rapprochement with those of us who do not share their view – no more "Tory scum out" banners, no more calling lifelong socialists "Red Tories", no more "End Westminster rule". And as there seems little hope that nationalists will desist in that way, the rest of us can sleep easy in our beds knowing that independence is a vanishingly tiny prospect.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

UK's shades of Khruschev

REGARDING Adam Tomkins' article: yes, it’s astonishing that the police are investigating the internal finances of the SNP, but it is more astonishing there is no police investigation into the billions of public moneys lost to fraud and corruption by the Tory Government.

However, the most disturbing thing, given Professor Tomkins is a legal expert, is his insistence that after the Supreme Court ruled Scotland has no constitutional rights, the ruling means the route to independence “has been stopped … and by the Supreme Court, not the opposition parties”. The Supreme Court made it clear this was a political issue, to be decided by politicians, but the politicians have now instigated what looks like a permanent Anglo-British veto on independence being decided by any decision of the Scottish people. So no legal route and the political road now has a Khrushchevian "Nyet", yet half the population want self-government.

I happen to differ on the view of “colonialism” from the Supreme Court; we are now undoubtedly exploited for our resources by our big neighbour. We may view what happens next through a glass, darkly. Many of the indistinguishable southern political and media elite, in their shared metropolitan fastness, no longer even recognise Scotland as a national entity. I think Prof Tomkins, with an important voice, should be advocating for a democratic solution, because history shows that external suppression of national aspirations seldom comes with a happy finale.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

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No reason for indy minister

ADAM Tomkins reminds us of another unnecessary and costly visit to the Supreme Court which unsurprisingly confirmed what had been accepted previously between Holyrood and Westminster, namely that there can be no Indyref2 without Westminster’s consent. Not unreasonably, it is obvious that that will only be given if Westminster is satisfied that the demand for such a referendum had become the settled will of the Scottish people. Possibly that could be established sometime in the future, for example after consistent and substantial majority polling in favour, but clearly that doesn’t exist at present.

Having regard to all this and the limits of Holyrood activity, how does the First Minister justify this creation of a toothless Minister for Independence, supported by a large team of civil servants taken off other more useful work? Also, has he exceeded his authority in creating these costly posts which appear to concern only matters reserved to Westminster unless and until it consents to transferring them to Holyrood?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Read more: Indyref is as dead as Monty Python's parrot. Why can't they move on?

Brown told us nothing new

IN the midst of the maelstrom that currently rages over the political landscape of the UK, it is comforting to know that someone of the eminence and experience of Gordon Brown is able to raise his head above the storm and share with the public the results of his research and pronounce that "Scots feel alienated from London-centric state" ("Brown: Scots feel alienated from ‘London-centric’ state", The Herald, May 30).

What next? An announcement that the Earth orbits the Sun?

Ian Hutcheson, Glasgow.

The case against private schools

TODAY’S Guy Stenhouse article ("Reeves’ stance on private schools shows Labour is still not fit to govern", The Herald, May 31) is unusual in attacking someone other than the SNP Government.

I suppose his attack on Labour is quite encouraging as it defines it as the party his favourite Tories fear most. It’s a sign of his desperation that the main criticism of Labour is its objection to the favourable status of private schools. Let’s ignore for now the fact that the UK is being reduced to an impoverished offshore island by the present Government and choose a topic that privately-educated people like him can relate to.

He states that abolishing charitable status would deprive talented poor children “like Rishi Sunak” of a private school education and make children at private schools take up places in state schools. That is possibly true, but one benefit would be the abolition of the old boys' network which holds back those talented poor children who have not gone to private schools.

Another benefit could be the levelling up of educational standards, as middle and upper-class parents would expect similar class sizes and standards to what are found in the private sector. They might even be willing to pay more tax so that poor children could benefit too.

Sam Craig, Glasgow.

Read more: Reeves shows why Labour is still not ready to govern

A better way to tackle litter

I HAVE been watching the DRS fiasco ("Slater hints that deposit return scheme could end up in the bin", The Herald, May 31) and I leave it to others to decide if this is an affront to devolution although, for my part, I suspect recent determined efforts to provoke confrontation with Westminster are an exercise to deflect public opinion away from the failure of the Scottish Government to provide good governance of those things that are its responsibility.

My question is simply who really believes that a 20p returnable deposit will make a real difference to the amount of bottles and cans that litter our streets. This is despite us all having access to recycle waste bins.

Will it have football fans leaving our streets clean and tidy after yet another celebration? I think not. There is a bus stop near my house with a large bin about 10 feet away, yet people leave bottles and cans in the shelter. Personally, I think it is a behavioural thing, as one look at the Glasgow streetscape will confirm.

Surely an educational approach to litter might be a better idea. I have travelled quite a bit in Europe and not only are their places much cleaner, their people appear more disciplined about litter disposal than here. In using the term "here", I do not differentiate for Scotland. I see it as a UK issue.

Oh no, I have just given Humza Yousaf and Lorna Slater ammunition to say that an independent Scotland would be clean and tidy.

Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.

A crushing blow

CAN one of your better-informed readers please enlighten me on a fairly simple point? I am accustomed to crushing empty drinks cans to make more room in the appropriate bin. It's also quite satisfying. Is it correct that, under our Circular Minister's Deposit Return Scheme (unless that also finishes up in the bin) my squashed cans won't be recyclable because the returns machine won't be able to read the barcode and decide that it's not a bottle? Does that mean that my tiny feat of strength will cost me 20p a time?

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.

Comic cuts

THE news that the start of the new trade deals with Australia and New Zealand will facilitate the shipments of signed copies of the Beano comic ("Oz trade deal starts", The Herald, May 31) must be a cause of enormous rejoicing for the enthusiasts of Brexit. Without the restoration of our national sovereignty, we could never have achieved this triumphant result.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.