AS one who supports the cause of independence it pains me to say that Dr Gerald Edwards, in his latest dig at the SNP (Letters, December 30), is right but for the wrong reasons. Although the Scottish NHS outperforms the NHS in the other countries of the Union, it could do better as could education and social services; if the current SNP administration had all of Scotland’s tax revenue to play with rather than half as is the current position who knows what improvements could be made.

I am not a “kilts, haggis and shortbread” nationalist. To me the Declaration of Arbroath is as irrelevant as is the date 1314; it's done, forget it, let's look forwards not back. I believe Scotland should control its destiny simply because the common man would stand a better chance of having a decent life out from under Westminster’s control. As part of the wider UK, we Scots live in a Union which is experiencing increasing levels of poverty, homelessness and declining life-expectancy, where the hard-earned egalitarian social improvements gained after two world wars are gradually being rolled back by the Establishment. We suffer under a UK system of governance that is happy to pay eight per cent of total government tax revenue in interest to the bankers while failing to address large-scale tax evasion and avoidance facilitated by that sector. A political environment where lies, obfuscation and the deliberate withholding or suppression of information are commonplace. A system that rewards obedient, compliant MPs rejected by the electorate at the ballot box with life peerages and awards a knighthood to a minister who introduced social welfare changes that had a devastating effect on those least able to object.

Thousands of Scots are now forced to rely on charity food banks simply to survive, kids go to school hungry and poorly clothed and in this age of supposed enlightenment the major factor determining one’s future life is still simply the bed you are born in.

Those are some of the reasons why Scotland needs independence because as long as we are shackled to Westminster things simply cannot and will not change. That is also why Scottish Labour needs to get off the fence and support the cause.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

IAN W Thomson (Letters, December 30) claims that there are many Scots who “deeply value their Britishness”. That, indeed, is the problem. Far too many of them are indifferent to the fact that England dominates the Westminster Parliament by a long way and Scotland will always come second best in this political context. I place a high value on my European identity and have had it snatched away from me by a bunch of right-wing zealots in England, despite my country voting to remain in the European Union.

Britishness may be important to Mr. Thomson but, for me, it stands for an arrogant and self-satisfied political system which may have had an empire but whose supporters still don’t realise that all that "glory" is over and done with. And a jolly good thing too!

Dave Stewart, Glasgow G11.

BETWEEN walking the dog and contemplating some DIY, the very old film Lady Hamilton is on the telly. Some of the dialogue related to England's power and the need for England to fight Napoleon Bonaparte. As this was playing, I read in today's Herald (December 30) the letters from Ian W Thomson, Stefan Slater and Tim Ryan in particular, where comment is made on Britishness and the 300-year-old Union of the nations of England and Scotland.

I have written before on this matter pointing out that as a child in the 1940s and 50s I was raised and educated to be British with Scottishness being a reduced status, with for example playground Scots being termed "slang" and being told that it must not be used. In my working life I came across many examples of Scotland being considered as a part of England and English colleagues rarely, if ever, thinking of themselves as British. Then, a few years ago I read Arthur Herman's book on the Scottish Enlightenment. In this he states that many Scots at the forefront of this movement took to referring to themselves as North Britons; he notes that no English academic referred to themselves as South Britons, and that the Scots knew it.

If our United Kingdom can sort this out there may be a future for a United Kingdom of Great Britain, populated by British people. But how many generations will this take? And the onus is on England to start this movement before they lose their so-called "precious Union".

Ian Gray, Croftamie.

ALASDAIR Galloway (Letters, December 30) dismisses the once in a generation referendum promise by repeating the old canard that it was merely a throwaway comment, and thus presumably is of no account. That promise was made by none other than the then First Minister Alex Salmond in the lead up to the 2014 referendum in his Preface to the Scottish Government’s own publication entitled Scotland’s Future, in which he made it clear that the 2014 referendum was to be a once in a generation opportunity to vote for independence. Events have shown that the only thing meriting throwaway was that publication itself.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Read more: SNP should remember that there are many Scots who deeply value their Britishness