I NOTE that Nicola Sturgeon wants to address Holyrood over her forthcoming plans ("Sturgeon to unveil new plans for Indyref2 tomorrow", The Herald, April 23). There is no need for this. The general public has voted on both Scottish independence and Brexit in the last few years, both times with large turnouts, and the answers have already been given.

What Nicola Sturgeon is not doing is asking for a special address to Holyrood to tell Scots how her party is going to fix the urgent needs of the economy, health and education. Independence will not solve these problems, only exacerbate them.

A governing party has to get its priorities right. Despite what our First Minister might be hoping for, the priorities of the Scottish population do not match those of her party. Her speech to Holyrood, especially since Brexit is unresolved and calling Indyref2 is not in her power, cannot be anything more than her personal wish list, and an ongoing nightmare for many of us.

Dr Gerald Edwards,

Broom Road, Glasgow.

SO the First Minister plans to update Holyrood on her second referendum plans with yet another statement. That news will bring on a collective weary yawn the length and breadth of Scotland.

What seems to be forgotten by the SNP leadership is that the votes of the converted are already there and counted. The people Nicola Sturgeon needs to convince are those with perhaps a smidgen of sympathy for her cause, not her own zealots and not the majority of Scots, who are equally convinced that keeping the UK intact is by far the best way forward for our country.

These bland statements of hers are tediously repetitive and merely turn off even more possible recruits for her cause. It is time for some honesty and I am afraid that is a quality the SNP simply does not have.

Alexander McKay,

8/7 New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.

DOUGLAS Mayer (Letters, April 23) writes that “from the start, devolution was not what it was cracked up to be”, but the even more serious difficulty is its potential within the UK is limited.

Holyrood’s initial powers were limited to areas previously managed by the Scottish Office like health, education and so on, so it seemed there were few implications for the UK. The sum the Scottish Office would have spent was instead sent to Holyrood which would determine its own priorities considering the balance of power there at the time. There were though, unforeseen consequences as when priorities in Scotland diverged, as they inevitably would, from those elsewhere in the UK, it led to complaints about “free this and free that” in Scotland when things such as prescriptions and Higher Education fees for instance, had to be paid by the individual elsewhere.

That, apparently simple problem is, however, symptomatic of a deeper issue, the historical degree of centralisation of the UK state. As former Second Secretary at the Treasury, Sharon White, said the UK is “almost the most centralised developed country in the world”. One sign of this is that local government collects only about five per cent of the revenue that it spends. Even in highly centralised France, the comparable figure is 13 per cent. While income tax has been devolved, some 70 per cent of tax raised in Scotland remains dependent on decisions made in London.

Thus, the "centre of gravity" of the UK remains in London. However, the difficulty is that, having largely got to grips with those matters that have been devolved, almost inevitably the Scottish Parliament was going to come looking for other powers, some of which were made available by the Scotland Act 2016 as a result of the Smith Commission.

However, whether these are enough to satisfy expectations in Scotland is moot. We can argue this either way, but, while devolution has allowed a historically unparalleled diversity of provision in the UK, it is no less clear that demands for more powers for the Scottish Parliament could eventually undermine in a fundamental way the centralised integrity of the UK Parliament. Indeed, as I think there is agreement that some of the powers to be repatriated after Brexit include some that are devolved but will be retained by Westminster, it is possible that we may already be slightly past that point. It is clear, though, that the potential of devolution’s ambition in a centralised state is limited. Indeed, to some extent the two are at odds.

Of course, more diversity would be possible in a federal state, but there seems little serious appetite for this at Westminster. Moreover, federalism would require a written constitution, which in turn would mean the distribution of power in the state would no longer be “power retained” at Westminster, but that Westminster’s powers would be codified and limited by that written constitution. Therefore, to end the impasse that devolution leads to requires power to be no longer “power retained”, but a relationship of equals, with defined powers.

Alasdair Galloway,

14 Silverton Avenue, Dumbarton.

Read more: Tom Gordon – The complex dance between Brexit and Indyref2

JAMES Campbell’s (Letters, April 23) says England would allow Scotland to “sink with a banana republic currency with

penal interest rates, galloping inflation...” I do not recognise this characterisation of England. She will pursue her interest as all independent states do.

A strong Scottish economy would very much be in England’s interest, as a strong English economy would be in Scotland’s. As evidence, can I use Ireland’s recent but short-lived financial problems. In 2008-2010 when Ireland fell into recession as the effects of the financial crisis started to bite, what did the UK do? She was first out of the blocks to offer a very nice loan of £3.2 billion. This loan will be repaid by March 2021 as agreed. This loan helped Ireland recover quickly from the crisis and has now returned to her natural position of financial good health, with a much stronger economy per head than the UK and in a better position to buy UK goods.

When Scotland becomes an independent country, all of our neighbours will work together to produce a region full of strong economies buying and selling goods and services from each other. This situation is driven by self-interest, but we can only join this club if we vote for independence.

Francis Buchan,

5 Drybrough Crescent, Edinburgh.

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Fidelma Cook's views ("Brexit. A story of greed, ineptitude and woeful errors of judgement", Herald Magazine, April 20). It is refreshing to read the opinion of someone who lives in France and understands the peacekeeping importance of our EU membership and the frustration of Scots who voted by a majority to remain.

Fiona Bell,

Braid Road, Edinburgh.