DAVID Bone (Letters, January 21) claims a “separatist Scotland isn’t known in history”. I suggest that he have a close look at the Declaration of Arbroath (written 700 years ago) and thinks carefully about what it says. The Saltire is in fact, the oldest national flag in the world. Simply denying our identity won’t make it disappear, like a persistent, rather embarrassing stain.

He says it is easy to have a dual Scottish/British identity. That is true – and that’s the trouble. Scottish independence means freeing ourselves from precisely this delusion of an essentially benign Britishness. It means acknowledging the fact that since its creation by massive bribery and corruption in 1707, the British state has been congenitally and irredeemably, an imperialist construct. The problem is that Scotland has a schizoid identity. We were on the one hand, the perpetrators of imperialism, while being at the same time its victims. Perhaps this lies at the root of Hugh MacDiarmid’s infamous “Caledonian antisysygy”.

Mr Bone boasts that Scotland did well from this “precious Union”. Indeed, a few did profit handsomely from Empire; rich capitalists and servants of the state did nicely, thank you. But at what a cost. While the common men were far from home fighting for the imperial masters, their wives and children were being evicted from their homes and their houses burnt to the ground.

The soldiers returned to poverty and destitution, and drifted into the cities seeking a living. The empty landscape we regard today as beautiful is a painful witness to past injustices, just as is the present grotesque ownership of vast swathes of our land by a handful of plutocratic landlords.

But nostalgia for imperialism is still a very potent element in political life. Mr Bone’s letter is powerful proof of this.

Brian M Quail, Glasgow G11.

MARK SMITH ("How the Change Factor might still scupper the SNP", The Herald, January 20) writes that many Scots “want to stay the same – British – within a changed system”, and then argues that the change needed is toward “a federal system based on proportional representation [meaning] less chance of a Tory government at Westminster and so, by extension, less difference with Scotland.”

There are two major errors in this. First, in 2011 the British electorate rejected the Alternative Vote (AV), about the simplest method of PR there is. Only the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and most of the Green Party were in favour, while the Conservatives were resolutely against and Labour – perhaps an indication of things to come – adopted no official position. The UK vote to reject was almost 68 per cent, with England voting 69 per cent against and Scotland 63 per cent.

Secondly, it is all very well to speak of federalism but just how would it be introduced? For instance, what relative powers would continue to be held at UK level? Just how centralised would it be? Westminster with a few “parish councils”? And how many “parish councils”?

A federal UK would be composed of four members, one of which (England) is almost 85 per cent of the whole by population. Of course, perhaps England would be happy to balkanise itself to create a more equal structure though even then, London and the south-east (two UK regions) would alone constitute 25 per cent of the population, as well as being economically way ahead of everyone else. And does anyone really believe Boris Johnson would introduce a system with “less chance of a Tory government”?

A federal UK, therefore, would pose its own issues, and in any event, given the short shrift AV got, implementing federalism may be a solution to something they might not even consider a problem.

Therefore, the most egregious error in Mr Smith’s thinking is that while he sees the aim of a federal system to be “less difference with Scotland”, perhaps the view at Westminster is that it is Scotland that needs to change so that there is less difference between us and the rest of the UK?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

OWEN Kelly (Letters, January 21) does not appear to have high hopes for the pending visits to Scotland by Boris Johnson.

I confess to having some sympathy with the challenge to re-establish the Tory Party in Scotland which Boris faces. He has to manoeuvre past the still-dark shadows cast by people like Michael Forsyth, Malcolm Rifkind and Ian Lang. I cannot help but visualise them having afternoon tea with Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Many people will rightly see the success of the SNP in Scotland as people simply voting for the least unappealing of the political parties on offer rather than a sympathy vote for independence. Most obviously, I expect very many SNP voters are really lapsed Labour voters who are still bewildered by the swings between the New Labour of Tony Blair and the failed far left Labour of Jeremy Corbyn.

I anticipate that Mr Johnson may well be received better in Scotland than might be imagined. His colourful and rather eccentric persona will be a welcome antidote to the phlegmatic, dour and humourless characters who front the tiresome and boring SNP mantra calling for Indyref2.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

I NOTE to your report headed "Johnson plans more visits to Scotland to help strengthen the Union" (The Herald, January 20).

Last September, Boris Johnson gave himself the new title: Minister for the Union.

This new Ministry for the Union solemnly announced in its spending package: "£10 million of additional funding to strengthen the links between the four nations of the union as the UK leaves the EU, supporting the work of the prime minister as minister for the union. Of this, £5 million will be allocated to the Territorial Offices."

Amazingly, "Territorial Offices" is the actual UK Government official term for the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and the Northern Ireland Office. So Scotland is one of the UK "territories", just like the British Virgin Islands or Gibraltar.

Mr Johnson's first act as Minister for the Union will be to place the "Territory" of Scotland on a new international customs frontier running from Islay, via Campbeltown and the Firth of Clyde to Stranraer.

While Whitehall is spending £10 million to save the Union, it has committed £8.3 billion to planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Councillor Tom Johnston (SNP), Cumbernauld.

IT is clear that Boris Johnson is indeed a "One Nation" Conservative. With the refusal of consent for the EU Withdrawal Agreement by governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, that one nation, it appears, is England.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh EH9.

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the British economy will grow faster than that of the Eurozone over the next two years. Where does this leave the SNP's desire to abandon the UK in favour of the EU? The IMF is a highly respected international body and this report cannot simply be brushed aside by SNP spin and Derek Mackay's re-imagined GERS figures.

Nicola Sturgeon is always praising EU membership over the current Union as being in Scotland's best interests, particularly financial. This report shows the race for Scotland's bright future is firmly within the Union, not the EU. The SNP is backing the wrong horse.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

I READ Alan Fitzpatrick's letter (January 20) regarding possible reduced care home charges, and appreciate the concerns that he raises.

However, I think that the bigger problem would be that it would discourage people from coming to Scotland in the first place.

Unless they are fabulously wealthy, I doubt if many pensioners living in Scotland would move to England. Obviously, I can only speak for my septuagenarian self, but if I were to move, where would I settle? I still have friends in England from school, university and Army days, but they are scattered all over. I would also have to buy a new house, and in several parts of England, that would be very expensive. Add to that the cost of surveys, removal, solicitor's and estate agent's fees, and any alterations needed to make the new house into a new home, and any tax savings would rapidly melt away, even if I were to continue to work.

Even more importantly, I would lose, and need to rebuild the networks that I have built up over 30-plus years – church, the football club that I support, friends and neighbours, the societies and associations to which I belong and which have shared my joys and supported me in times of distress, as well as visits to and from my grandchildren and their families. The sort of things that money just cannot buy. All this may well be replaced by grumpy neighbours, who might assume that I had arrived in their community simply to sponge off their social security system.

So, Scotland: all being well, you're stuck with me – English, pro-Union and pro-Brexit – hopefully for a long time to come.

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.

YOUR Those Were The Days feature today ("Referendum rally in George Square, 1992", The Herald, January 21) brought back memories of the early 1990s campaign for a Scottish legislature. It differed from today's pro SNP marches in that in 1992 there was a huge level of cross-party respect and tolerance.

Scotland United was led by a morally towering and dignified figure in Canon Kenyon Wright. Our marches were well attended and there was none of the gross exaggeration upwards of the numbers attending as now happens. Notable also in that era was the good nature and respectful dignity of the marchers who would never have thought of shaming our marches with banners and placards containing crude obscenities, even about our political opponents. So much has changed.

Gus Logan, North Berwick.

Read more: Johnson’s plan for more visits will be a boon for the SNP