WHAT will eventually bring down this SNP Government? Will it be its lamentable track record in so many critical areas that it is responsible for? Or will it be its increasingly desperate attempts to cover up its worst mistakes?

For years the SNP has got away with tactics of distraction and deflection, either by trying to blame Westminster when things go wrong, or to intermittently try to whip up some new enthusiasm for breaking away from the rest of the UK. Yet the way that the SNP’s latest paper on independence was met with widespread disinterest suggests its usual get out of jail free card is no longer available to it (“No immigration checks at Scottish border post-independence, says Hepburn”, The Herald, November 4). The lack of enthusiasm for the SNP’s latest musings is hardly surprising. A second independence referendum is at best a very distant prospect, and the SNP’s half-baked ideas about how independence might work are once again revealed, with this latest paper assuming that the rest of the UK will simply bend to the SNP’s will in relation to the operation of a future border, even if that is against the UK’s interests.

Meanwhile, controversy grows around the original award of contracts for what are perhaps the two most expensive ferries in the world, and the Scottish Government’s blatant attempts to whitewash its involvement. Equally, we have the ignominious mix of empty excuses and disingenuous explanations from those wanting to duck inquiry over the fate of their Covid-related WhatsApp messages (“The sooner Nicola Sturgeon & co are before an inquiry the better”, Brian Wilson, The Herald, November 7). All this suggests the SNP’s days of self-entitled power might be numbered For so long in Scotland, many have simply accepted that independence is the answer to whatever the problem might be, encouraged by an SNP leadership that has seemed to revel in trying to impose its views on the rest of us. Yet when judged on the principles of good governance, rather than tales of what might be, hopefully more and more Scots will recognise how badly the SNP has failed us.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

Start thinking visas and passports

MAY I reply to Alasdair Galloway and Mary McCabe (Letters, November 8) who reacted to my letter (November 7) regarding a border needing two sides?

They appear to think I was anticipating boatloads of undocumented would-be migrants crossing the North Sea to Scotland in dinghies. Not at all. I merely pointed out that statistics show the vast majority of migrants coming to the UK express a wish to join established family or friends, most of whom happen to be living in England. The SNP says that a separated Scotland would welcome migrants apparently of any source if they have the required points. Surely it is logical to assume that very many wanting to settle in England would merely go through the motions of coming to Scotland to settle and then slip though the unilaterally declared open SNP border and join their families down south. I made the point that the English are no doubt aware of this and if Scotland opened its border unilaterally, they would slam theirs shut for that very reason. And this of course would also affect adversely the million or more Scots resident down south. Start thinking visas and passports.

As with most SNP plans, it is not thought-through and makes those of Blackadder’s Baldrick highly intelligent in comparison. That was my point.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Read more: Does the SNP really think England will stand for its latest nonsense?

Perspective is needed

DAVID Bol ("Sturgeon has tied herself in knots over Whatsapp debacle", The Herald, November 8) asserts that “much of the UK Covid Inquiry is of little consequence to the pandemic in Scotland”. This is absurd deflection, as the UK Government controlled the timing of events; borders; travel; social distancing and the funding of the whole thing (mostly without referencing the Devolved governments). As we hear more and more from witnesses, the UK Government was an unmitigated disaster, saved by the medical and science experts.

We have reports from antipathetic journalists about Nicola Sturgeon's WhatsApp messaging but we know that Boris Johnson's messaging is incomplete and Rishi Sunak failed to submit his messaging. Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, has said messaging from the Welsh Government may have been deleted. Perspective on this issue is all, and to hear Sir Chris Whitty describe Scotland as “having blazed a trail” during the pandemic gives the lie to those who asserted Scotland as having just followed what England had done.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

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Beware these echoes of 1984

MICHAEL Gove, an expert in weasel language, as is his more intellectually-challenged ministerial ally, Alister Jack, is highly selective in his interactions with the mainstream media to the extent that he is rarely held to account. His scheming paws, however, are all over a long and increasing list of initiatives aimed at undermining devolution and the right of his fellow Scots to exercise their legitimate claim to self-determination. That long list includes the UK Internal Market Act, UK Government Hubs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, UK direct funding to seven selected Scottish councils, and the recent introduction of a selective £150m Investment Fund for Scotland (instead of matching the £500m contribution by the Scottish Government to the Just Transition Fund for the North East of Scotland), all of which together falls well short of previous EU investment which we were told would be fully matched.

From documents recently leaked to the Observer it appears that list could soon be extended even further, as officials working for Mr Gove are apparently planning to “broaden the definition of extremism to include anyone who undermines the country’s institutions and its values” (for “country” read UK). Such a broad definition, with echoes of 1984, could be used by an increasingly authoritarian government to thwart growing support for independence through the threat of imprisonment for ordinary citizens simply expressing critical views of the current democratic chaos. Given the calculated recent hostile pronouncements of fellow UK Government minister Suella Braverman, heartlessly aimed at vulnerable homeless people and refugees, it takes little imagination to envision that threat becoming a stark reality.

With Sir Keir Starmer as Prime Minister unlikely to change even the most restrictive Tory Government legislation, principled social democrats and independent-minded trade-unionists in Scotland need to wake up!

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

Read more: Covid inquiry is ignoring the big questions

Unions are normal

TRICIA Grey (Letters, November 8) attempts to compare the Scottish campaign for independence with that of Belize (formerly British Honduras). In doing so, however, she omits two critical facts.

The first is that British Honduras was a colony, whereas Scotland is a colonising power. The second is that while the campaign in what became Belize commanded massive majority support, the one is Scotland is the preserve of a minority, albeit a noisy one.

Ms Grey then goes on to compound her mistakes by parroting that "independence is normal". In fact, what is more "normal" is for states to comprise unions of now-defunct and obsolete polities - and in fact Scotland is in much the same position as, for example, the Kingdoms of Sardinia or Bavaria. Your readers might like to ponder that in these cases, the unions in question are of much less duration than that of the United Kingdom: Italy was unified in 1861 and Germany has grown even since the Second World War, with the accession of Saarland (1957) and the former GDR (1990). The same applies to the Netherlands (the clue is in the name), Switzerland, France, Belgium and enough other countries to be able to counter: "wrong, unions are normal."

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

The ecocide stumbling block

LABOUR MSP Monica Lennon has a proposed bill to introduce Ecocide in Scotland, which if passed would mean that the worst polluters of the environment could be jailed ("Major polluters face jail for harming the environment", The Herald, November 8). It is an admirable objective which could force industry to tighten up on some of its practices.

She will soon discuss the proposal with Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater.

Ah well, it was a nice thought, Monica. Maybe if Labour gets into power your bill will stand a chance of progressing through parliament. Involving Ms Slater will be its death knell.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.