I NOTE Mark Smith's article with interest on the 16 seats ("The 16 seats that matter and the voters who hold the key", The Herald, November 4).

I am one of those tactical voters keen to see the Tories ousted with potential for the UK to remain in the EU or at least for another referendum based on the Boris Johnson proposal or remain; leave without a deal was never proposed and should not be an option in a referendum.

I will probably vote SNP (for the first time) as this is the best option for ousting the Tory candidate but this does not mean I would support independence. Indeed, if the UK were to remain in the EU then the SNP assertion about giving Scots the right to choose to remain in the EU would no longer apply and would likely strengthen the hand of people wanting to remain part of the Union. For me therefore the SNP can claim as loudly as they wish that this election is about independence, it’s not, it is about Brexit. Independence will be dealt with separately and the SNP will need to prove that it would be in the best interests of Scotland.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.

THE SNP must be relishing the forthcoming election. With the three main Unionist parties in Scotland competing against each other for a share of the Unionist vote the outcome is a shoo-in for the nationalists. The likely outcome will be they will win 50 seats or more and then use this to push for another Scottish referendum, maintaining they have a mandate to do so, telling us that they speak for "the people of Scotland".

The other near certainty is if the total Unionist votes are added together they will have more votes, thereby negating any so-called mandate. This will of course be ignored by Nicola Sturgeon.

If the Unionist parties are really serious about avoiding a near wipe-out they have to come to an agreement. It may well be anathema to some of the diehards but the outcome will be next to no representation at Westminster. This would leave us with the national embarrassment of having to listen to Ian Blackford et al whinge and whine over possibly the next five years.

Remember this election will not for the nationalist be on their performance in Scotland it will be to get a mandate for independence.

The Unionist parties should agree that whichever party was second last time to the SNP they should be allowed to put up their candidate and the others refrain from doing so. No doubt the SNP would cry foul but desperate times demand a desperate solution.

At the last referendum in 2014 the nationalists were defeated in almost every constituency. The only other solution is tactical voting by the electorate but that is likely to be haphazard; better if the Unionist parties showed leadership.

Roy B Hudson, Bearsden.

SURELY there can be no doubt about the fairest question in indyref2?

It's high time we stopped being thought of in terms of Yes and No voters. Both the previous questions supported by Nicola Sturgeon and Colin Gunn (Letters, November 2) are loaded, with the latter also introducing the disjunctive "or", which makes confusion worse confounded.

The simplest procedure would be to put, in separate boxes, "Should Scotland become an independent nation-state?" and "Should Scotland remain an integral part of the United Kingdom?", with an accompanying instruction to put an X against the one with which you agree. This is how we always did things in the past, and it is as fail-safe as can be achieved. I recommend this, with the subsequent dropping of Yes and No, Remain and Leave, etc.

For the record, I am a Yes – for the United Kingdom and the Monarch.

James McIntyre, Bearsden.

IN 2014 I voted No in the Scottish independence referendum, primarily because of my perception of the economic impact of independence. Since then the changed political landscape has persuaded me to support Scottish independence, albeit many of my concerns about the economic impact remain.

However, in the wake of the Brexit referendum , and the bitterly divided society which the 52/48 vote has produced, it seems imperative to me that we avoid a repetition of such division in an independent Scotland. The EU referendum related to a major change of direction for the UK, and ought, in my opinion, to have been the subject of a qualified majority. Here in Scotland we will soon be asked to vote on independence for our country, in my view a far more significant issue than leaving the EU. It is an issue as much for the heart as for the mind. As a newly independent country facing the inevitable challenges independence would bring, we need the mass of our fellow Scots truly committed to such an enterprise. The overwhelming majority need to be behind such an effort and I suggest at least 60 per cent, preferably 70 per cent, should be the pass mark.

Without such a qualified majority we create the real risk of Scotland setting off on its journey as an independent country with, say, a disaffected 48 per cent not on side, a prospect too dreadful to contemplate.

James Farrell, Edinburgh EH10.

Read more: Mark Smith: The 16 Scottish seats that matter