IN August 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, the slogan “England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity” became the driving force behind the growth of Irish nationalism. The 1916 Easter Rising opened the door to a bloody conflict that only ended with the Irish civil war and a partition of the country which continues to have repercussions to the present day.

In urging a radical, confrontational solution to what he terms as the “inevitability” of Scottish independence, Jonathon Shafi abandons the lessons of history and constitutional common sense (“SNP is blowing chance to press for independence”, The Herald, July 6). Though there is no doubt that Brexit has witnessed the most acute constitutional crisis in modern times, Mr Shafi's frustrated call for Ms Sturgeon and the Scottish Government to “face down the British state” risks the abandonment of democratic practices which would utterly discredit Scotland on the international stage. His article is a clarion call for civil disorder and, as a former member of the Socialist Workers' Party, clearly, but erroneously, based on Marxist ideals.

Independence must be achieved, in the immediate or long-term future, within the parameters of what is democratically possible in Britain. A Boris Johnson premiership may well be completely repugnant to many Scots but that does not mean they will take to the streets and man the barricades until autonomy is granted. The Catalonian movement for independence has suffered a severe setback precisely by adopting the tactics suggested here by Mr Shafi.

There is no better leader in Britain at present than Nicola Sturgeon. She remains committed to a civic nationalism, based on social democratic principles. Ms Sturgeon knows that some in the independence movement are becoming impatient and vocal, yet she steadfastly maintains that her stoical approach to independence is the correct one, protecting Scotland's interests whenever she can and promoting Scotland on the international stage, regardless of funding or support from Westminster.

A gradualist outlook remains within the gift of the current Scottish Government. There is still a likelihood that a General Election can happen this year in the event of Brexit claiming more political casualties. The chances of the SNP becoming power brokers in a future British government are greater than they have been for a generation. Mr Shafi may learn that playing by Westminster's rules may not entirely be to the disadvantage of those who crave an independent Scottish state.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

WHAT more is to be said about Brexit, a curse visited upon this land by the Conservative Party? A curse which has moreover paralysed the leadership of the official Opposition.

But no one as appalled as I am at the prospect of the disaster about to befall us can stay silent. I can think of one counter-force which will drive the undesirable values personified by Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and sundry others back over the Border, that force being independence: an independence forced upon the citizens of Scotland by the imposition of the aforementioned values which have overtaken the UK’s democracy and seriously damaged its political systems. I say this despite not being a nationalist, such being one who believes independence is a desirable end in itself, no matter the consequences.

And so an argument for independence must be qualified by the honest and realistic use of the phrase “for better or for worse”, backed up by a commitment to protect the poor, the disabled and otherwise marginalised from the inevitable financial turbulence which a newly independent Scotland would inevitably have to weather. Nevertheless nothing, surely, can be worse than the forces on the point of being leashed upon us by the current manifestation of hard-right English nationalism.

However perhaps a rabbit can yet be pulled out of the hat and the UK saved from Brexit. So, in the meantime, I shall march in hope against the twin anathemas which are a xenophobic Faragism and the determination of the hardcore neo-Thatcherites who see in Brexit an opportunity to destroy and Americanise the Welfare State.

John Milne, Uddingston.

AT the Perth hustings, Scottish Conservatives were told by their leadership candidates that the Union comes before Brexit. Personally, I am sceptical about this, but I am sure Scottish Conservatives will be reassured if Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were to restate that stance at a major hustings in England, preferably in the glare of the press and television cameras.

I dare them.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.

BEFORE the SNP gives any further thought of trying to break up the UK perhaps it should give some regard to where goods and services exported from Scotland actually go. The main volume, amounting to more than £50 billion in value, goes to England, and other parts of the UK. It does seem inappropriate to have any wish to fall out with those who are your best customers.

Nicola Sturgeon would certainly appear very keen for an independent Scotland to become a member of the EU, yet Scotland's exports to Europe amount to only about £12bn. And could an independent Scotland actually afford the exorbitant fees to be a member of that grandiose club; or in effect have any real say in its policies or agreements?

Scotland's export trade to the rest of the world for goods and services amounts to slightly over £16bn, much of which trade is currently negotiated through departments of the UK Government.

But then, of course, Nicola Sturgeon has always been inclined to gripe about almost anything British.

The SNP administration may well believe that one major source of income for an independent Scotland would be the whisky industry. The key player in this sector is obviously Diageo plc, with 28 distilleries, worldwide sales, but alas its registered office is in London. The distilleries belonging to this and other groups may be located in Scotland but in many cases these could be described as merely "hollowed out" contractors, with the financial controls located in other parts of the world. Along with many well-known brands has gone the ownership of their established whisky businesses. The corporation tax trail for any future Scottish exchequer could be fraught with difficulties.

I believe that the only realistic solution is to carry on with the status quo, expand the UK's export trade, and faze out Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP cronies. It is so obvious that we are all better together in the UK.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.

BORIS Johnson’s campaign manager, Iain Duncan Smith has hit out at former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers, saying "the reality is that the expression of democracy may well frighten him slightly". Mr Duncan Smith and the Conservative Party would appear to have found a new definition of democracy.

Francis Deigman, Erskine.

Read more: UK is in crisis so why is SNP not pushing for independence?