YOUR correspondent John C Hutchison (Letters, June 1) ignores quite a few factors in his assertion that Scotland would have dealt with Covid-19 better if it had been independent.

For example, extra expenditure required to fund furloughing would need to have been borrowed, and we do not know which currency we would be using to do so. If there was a currency union as pro-posed in 2014, it would be under the control of a foreign country. Or if it was a new Scottish currency, it would be made much more expensive due to being untried in the markets (and most likely under speculative attack) and founded upon an economy whose oil trades at nothing or below and whose tourism and food and drink industries have been destroyed.

We can add to that the account of the SNP's Scottish Growth Commission that an independent Scot-land would take 10 years to re-attain its previous prosperity, so we would be only just over halfway to that point even if we accept the report's heroic assumptions and imagine that somehow the process would not be further delayed. In addition, we would still be suffering the economic shock of the withdrawal of more than £10 billion per annum from our public expenditure and its impact on health and other services.

Finally, we must remember that whatever decisions have been made in the current pandemic for Scotland regarding the NHS and public health have been made right here and by nationalists. There is no evidence that these have been better than those made in England. In fact, in general, they have been the same decisions, or where they have varied, the outcomes have been even worse.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow G13.

THE most recent Index of Social and Economic Wellbeing confirms Scotland has underperformed in all key areas since devolution. It has experienced one of the sharpest falls among developed countries in terms of national wellbeing and is now near the bottom of the 32 OECD nations in a range of measures, including income, education, longevity and inclusivity.

Such a situation stems at least in part from Holyrood's lack of administrative accountability. Even before our under-performance during Covid-19 we were failing to get to grips with the fundamental challenges facing our economy and society. Our unicameral legislature and biased committee system kills off alternative policies and encourages blame shifting.

On April 2 the WHO warned “transmission from a pre-symptomatic case can occur before symptom onset”. but it took three weeks for the Scottish Government to ensure patients being transferred from hospital to care homes had a negative Covid test. Evasive responses from the First Minister simply won't do – the buck for these lost lives stops at Bute House.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

TWO articles today stick out like a sore thumb as indicators of the log jam which unionism presents to Scottish politics. Mark Smith's deeply-ingrained and thinly-disguised anti-independence agenda is evident in his long rambling "theories" which could have been summed up by the simple and blindingly obvious statement that "supporters of independence favour rule from Holyrood while opponents of independence favour rule from Westminster" ("The reason nationalists are so in love with lockdown", The Herald, June 1). Labour MP Ian Murray, we are informed, sees the only hope of a return to power his party as one requiring it to gain enough Westminster seats in Scotland in conjunction with a massive swing back to Labour south of the Border ("Murray: Labour needs at least 10 Scots MPS to get back into power", The Herald, June 1).

Mr Murray is clearly unable or unwilling to accept that many former Labour voters in Scotland have switched their allegiance to the SNP, which allows them to express their nationality as Scottish and their political preferences as left-leaning and pro-European. In an independent Scotland, the SNP would wither and die and Scottish Labour, liberated from the burden of 17th/18th century unionism, would be in a strong position to recover and win power. The Scottish Conservatives, currently squirming to distance themselves from the Boris Johnson/Dominic Cummings debacle, would also be able to represent right-leaning voters with a Scottish accent.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

MARK Smith contends that "the more left-wing and /or supporter of independence you are the keener you'll be on lockdown" and goes on to suggest that there is no Scottish identity "but perhaps nationalists love lockdown because it bolsters the illusion that there is". I feel confident that most countries around the world are aware of their identity and would be astonished to be told it was merely an illusion; but then, most countries around the world are independent.

I can assure Mr Smith that although I'm a supporter of independence I have no love for lockdown, and am very keen to see the back of it as soon as it is deemed safe; all I want to do, and I have no doubt that all any of us want to do, whether independence supporters or not, is to hug our children, our grandchildren, and our friends. Roll on that happy day.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

I’VE never been keen on Scottish independence, until now.

Having suffered the mental pain, for three long, long months, of watching and listening to the West-minster Government’s shocking daily presentations of lies, misplaced arrogance, disrespect and in-competence, I fear that I may have caught the Independence Virus.

I am not helped by these presentations being hosted by the likes of Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Grant Shapps. Every one a chancer. Would you entrust your own life and that of your family and friends to this bunch? I certainly wouldn’t.

I am not claiming that serious mistakes have not been made in managing this virus in Scotland, but, the sincerity, honesty and plain heartfelt speaking demonstrated by Nicola Sturgeon deserves acknowledgement. We do have a few numpties at Holyrood but not on the same scale, or as dangerous to health, as those at Westminster and in Downing Street.

Robert C Taylor, Newton Mearns.

SCOTLAND'S testing record is even worse than than Tom Gordon suggests ("Only one-fifth of Scotland’s capacity being used", The Herald, June 1). To date only 115,259 people have been tested (the number of tests is higher). That means almost 98 per cent of us haven’t yet had a test. The latest daily figure is only 937. These numbers are far lower pro rata than in England.

Despite this, and despite the Scottish Government’s full support for the abandonment of test and trace on March 12, there seems to be a general perception that things have been handled better here than south of the Border. Is this just because the First Minister has a gravitas the Prime Minister lacks? If only that had led to different policy decisions.

Andrew Anderson, Edinburgh EH5.

DURING these extraordinary times of lockdown and displays of elitist rule-breaking, things are visibly changing. People who have had to adapt their lives dramatically no longer wish to see a government that allows some rules for the privileged and others for the rest of us.

Deference has been undermined.

The anger and mockery reserved for Dominic Cummings is not "moving on" as requested by the Prime Minister because the outrage has not gone.

Perhaps, at last, what we are seeing is the death throes of the neo-liberalism of an old world and the beginnings of the new. The drastic circumstances of Covid-19 may have forced the pace in different ways. The drastic loss of income for many people has raised the question of how we can revive the economy. In Scotland we have begun to discuss the idea of a Universal Basic Income which would keep money flowing round the economy for goods and services and create a demand for the production of all the necessities of life.

The cessation of life as we know it has thrown us back onto our own resources and made us more reflective about who and what constitute the necessities. The Thursday clap for all our care workers, including posties and shop workers, has brought home to us the people who make these nations and provinces run fully.

The next step must be to upgrade the jobs, training and pay of all who have been undervalued and perhaps reflect about the materialism that has come to dominate our lives.

The birdsong and clear blue skies which we have experienced without traffic have shown us how a greener world might begin to look.

Let us use these lessons to begin to build a kinder, better future for our children and grandchildren.

Maggie Chetty, Glasgow G13.

IAN HC Stein (Letters, May 30) argues that Dominic Cummings is “essential to the performance of the Prime Minister and, by association, Her Majesty’s Government”, and suggests that this fact is a reason for allowing him to remain in post. I suggest that if Mr Cummings has played an essential part in the performance of the present Government and its present head, there could be no better reason for sacking him forthwith.

Derrick McClure, Aberdeen AB24.

THANK you, thank you to Fidelma Cook for her latest column ("In Europe they look at the UK with a pity once reserved for Trump's US", Herald Magazine, May 30). She eloquently captures the anger, shame and disgust that all thinking people must feel for the actions of the junta that has created an elective dictatorship in Westminster.

Lies, hypocrisy and self-promotion have become their key priorities and we, the little people beneath them, have for the next four years no recourse to prevent this. How many will die, lose their livelihoods and freedoms through the action of this cabal, one hardly dares to think.

Well done, Ms Cook, and may you enjoy a speedy return to health.

Dr RM Morris, Ellon.

Read more: Letters: Chancellor should keep jobs scheme for as long as it takes