TWO learned professors, Sir John Curtice and Michael Keating, tell us that those of us supporting the Union might as well recognise that "we’re all doomed". Prof Curtice, as befits a pollster, hangs his belief on a few polls, the latest of which was somewhat dodgy with an unknown sample and leading questions ("Support for Union has ‘never looked so weak’ as Indy movement on the rise", The Herald, July 6). Prof Keating condemns "strident rhetoric" about the border, blaming Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg for their pronouncements on it ("How British nationalism is taking the place of traditional unionism",Tthe Herald, July 7). I don’t see him citing Ms Sturgeon’s dire warnings about perhaps, but only perhaps, closing the border between Scotland and England or the antics of the ultra-nationalists who dressed up at the border at the weekend and shouted abuse at people crossing it from the south.

This is all treated as being in a vacuum. When people realise that their jobs and livelihoods have been protected by money from the UK Treasury – money Ms Sturgeon speaks of spending, but is not generated by her – they will conclude that, however good a game she talks, following her down the road to separatism would indeed doom us all.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh EH14.

ANDY Maciver states he “voted No in 2014 based solely on my view that Scotland’s inherited fiscal deficit, combined with the leftism of a new, ideologised nation would leave me and my family poorer for a significant period of time” ("Have unionists given up or are they just asleep?", The Herald, July 7).

Despite the apparent small increase in support for breaking up the United Kingdom, nothing has changed from 2014 and an independent Scotland would leave us all very much “poorer for a significant period of time".

If Nicola Sturgeon is polished at anything, it is the ability to stand day after day and voice her opinion and facts about the Covid-19 crisis. It would appear her increase in popularity and subsequent increase in support for nationalism is due to this and if “the people of Scotland” wish to make themselves “poorer for a significant period of time”, they should support separation. However, this is no basis on which to eradicate a successful Union of 300 years.

What the pandemic has done is to significantly divert attention from the woeful mismanagement of Scotland by this nationalist regime but the debate will return. The fully costed and credible economic effects of an independent Scotland must be placed before us and then we will see how the polls behave. I suspect Mr Maciver will have even more cause to vote “No” should there ever be another referendum.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

IN these dog days of lockdown with July’s monsoon in full flow we could do with some cheering up. The wonderful picture of Jackson Carlaw circa 1997 which accompanied the column by Andy MacIver certainly brought a smile to my face. Mr Carlaw stands foursquare before a Scottish Conservative poster urging voters to reject the prospect of managing their domestic affairs and to vote no to the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. He is the Scottish cringe incarnate, the subtext of the billboard being the Labour worthies pictured could never be trusted with running Scotland’s affairs, best leave that to the clever people in Westminster.

Mr Maciver’s point about unionists being “behind the curve” is well illustrated by the photograph which shows Labour politicians as the potential bogeymen of a putative Scottish Parliament rather than the SNP. whose electoral success had triggered the devolution project.

I agree with much of Mr Maciver’s piece, if not his conclusion. He feels that unionists can turn the tide of support for Scottish independence by offering enhanced devolution and a new Holyrood-Westminster partnership. That ship sailed some time ago. We are now on course for a substantial majority for independence in May 2021. A request for a Section 30 referendum will be raised, and rejected, in quick order. As the clamour rises unionist heads north and south of the Border will be deeply buried in the sand but Boris Johnson will soon find himself the target of serious criticism from liberal democracies around the world. The First Minister will address the United Nations. Things are going to get very interesting.

Iain Gunn, Elgin.

I NOTE Andy Maciver’s article and wish to make a comment on the language used by political commentators (and many politicians) which I do not think helps the debate re the future of Scotland and the UK.

Mr Maciver hints at a possible compromise – a “new unionism” that would enhance the role of both parliaments and governments

But the use of the terms nationalist and unionist throughout by Mr Maciver (and by many others) seems destined to make any sort of compromise much more difficult – it exacerbates the binary choice which he appears to object to

To illustrate my point by using my own case: I voted Yes in the referendum and would do so again mainly for political reasons. I am not happy at the prospect of never-ending Conservative (or even New Labour) governments of the type we get in Westminster managing much of my life (or taking us to war). There is a chance of a different political culture resulting from a Scotland managing its own internal and external affairs. I may be wrong but worth a try.

Does that make me and those who think like me a “nationalist”? I sometimes think that the term is now used to denigrate or insult. There are many definitions but let's look at just one (from the Oxford Dictionary): "the desire by a group of people who share the same race, culture, language, etc. to form an independent country a feeling that your country is better than any other".

Of course there are people in the Yes movement who espouse exceptionalism and think that Scotland is better than any other (and we could say the same about some people who espouse Britishness). But in my experience that is not what underlies the motives of much of the Yes movement. The Green Party, for example, is both internationalist and for a self-governing Scotland

It may suit some politicians and, I am afraid, commentators to use language to polarise: Donald Trump is a good example. Some in Westminster now provocatively call the SNP the Scottish Nationalist Party (perhaps it needs to change its name?). And unionism also is often coupled with sectarian thugs. Do we really want Scotland to descend into years of Irish mutual hostility?

So if we are serious about wanting a grown-up debate about our political future then can I suggest we drop these labels and find a new. more nuanced language which reflects and respects people’s views. It may be less pithy but what about “Those who want to maintain the Union” and “Those who want self-government”?

Bob Marshall, Glasgow G43.

NICOLA Sturgeon has not achieved as much success over the coronavirus outbreak as is made out to be, it is only SNP spin that is working. Ms Sturgeon's fixation at getting the virus nearly eliminated , above all else, is only bearing fruit because of the huge financial support that Westminster is supplying to Scotland. Had Scotland been an independent country, none of this scenario would have been possible.

The irony of the situation is that whilst England has helped behind the scenes, the SNP has gained at the polls and is turning this into support for independence. It might be so far, so good, for the SNP but the long-term damage being done daily to the Scottish economy will not be easily repaired nor easily dismissed either. The sting is in the tail.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

Read more: Letters: Where is the opposition that will halt the SNP surge?