I RECENTLY came across a suggestion that “ego, jealousy and a lack of patience and self-awareness” are behind the founding of the Alliance for Independence Party. I assume that the egos and jealousies are those of a few malcontented senior nationalists and that the lack of patience and self-awareness is that of the silly brigade which believes that marching, faces painted in blue and white, is the mature way to do politics at this crucially sensitive time.

So far the only effective opposition to the current folly that is Conservatism is the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon and anything which weakens that opposition is to be resisted. It is also important that we do not lose the facility she has shown in tackling the pandemic, certainly in comparison with Boris John-son, although in time she will be judged with the benefit of hindsight.

This opinion does not originate in a desire for independence but in a despair at the ineffectiveness of the other parties. While I admire Sir Keir Starmer I am concerned that his slow and steady approach is going to result in us finding ourselves disenfranchised subjects of a banana republic with no future, no trustworthy friends and no internal unity: a UK run by a Cabinet of the grossly mediocre which brings to mind Tony Blair’s 1994 description of the then Conservative Government as being “the most feck-less, irresponsible group of incompetents ever to be let loose in government”. However, considering the current Cabinet he “hadn’t seen nothin’ yet”.

John Milne, Uddingston.

ALASDAIR Galloway (Letters, July 17) proposes that a second independence referendum, if there ever is one, will be fought on different grounds from 2014. Just so, with momentum created by Salmond bluster omitted.

Let us contemplate a Scottish currency, main underlying assets including oil (being given away recent-ly) and whisky (contains the addictive drug ethyl alcohol, considered by WHO to be more addictive than heroin and from which more deaths are predicted in Scotland in 2020 than from Covid-19); such basis neither substantial nor ethical for a currency intended for international profile and use. Perhaps we Scots would be required to deposit, or have confiscated, personal assets with the Scottish National Bank in order to lend a measure of security to the currency; such process being a levy on capital and not a tax on income.

I have worked in a country (Libya) which has oil, much more than Scotland, but with – at that time – a currency which was valueless outside Libya. I possess Libyan currency still, partly as a souvenir but mainly because I cannot find a buyer. At the conclusion of each working visit (teaching in a university medical school), I was paid in whatever hard currency the Libyan Central Bank had to hand. Thus I have been a foreign worker in a country with a flawed national currency in which I could not and would not wish to be paid. Perhaps my experience is a harbinger of an independent Scotland with a flawed na-tional currency unable to attract foreign workers who would not accept being paid in that currency.

A Triple AAA credit rating for an independent Scotland? The reader is invited to acquire basic knowledge about credit rating, taking into account current fiscal deficit without subsidy. Perhaps B+ (Junk) would be attained, grouped with Albania.

William Durward, Bearsden.

IN his reply to my letter of July 16, I note that Peter A Russell (Letters, July 17) makes no mention of Norway’s oil fund but points out that the redrawn border between Scotland and England is “irrelevant to the governance of oil and gas which is a reserved power”; and that is why the revenues from Scot-land’s oil and gas have, for the best part of half a century gushed into the UK Treasury because it is a reserved power and Scotland, unlike Norway, is not independent and as a consequence has no oil fund. On the very eve of the Scottish Parliament coming into being in 1999, the transfer of 6,000 square miles of Scotland’s sea to England is not something that should be conveniently glossed over and pigeon-holed.

Mr Russell forecasts that as the effects of Covid-19 “are likely to be with us for many years and per-haps decades, independence appears to be off the table for the foreseeable future”. Of course it is right that this health crisis must for the moment take precedence; however, with Scotland successfully suppressing the virus, with life slowly but surely returning to something approaching normality, and with the encouraging indications that a vaccine for coronavirus may be on the horizon (not forgetting the ever present menace of Brexit), I would suggest that Mr Russell is labouring under a delusion if he really believes that independence will be “off the table” for years to come.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

I AM inclined to agree with Peter A Russell that, in the event of independence, Scotland would be re-quired to accept its share of national debt. The fairest calculation would be by population percentage: i.e. Scotland would accept responsibility for approximately 10 per ceny of the total. This would mean Scotland would inherit a debt of around £200m.

However, in any such negotiation, the value of all UK assets would also have to be taken into account. The Office of National Statistics recently valued all UK assets at £9.8 trillion, meaning that Scotland would inherit assets valued at approx £1 trillion.

Stewart Keir, Torphins.

PETER A Russell missed the point I was making (Letters, July 16) about rUK demanding “continuator state” status. If rUK claims all the vast “assets” of the state, then it also gets the debt. Over the last 50 years, Scotland paid more in than it got out. There will be a necessity for international legal expertise to sort out the divvy-up. The Vienna Convention on Succession of States will be bedtime reading.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

ALTHOUGH we are only nearing the end of round one of the battle against Covid-19, and I can assure you this is only the beginning of a protracted war, perhaps it’s time that some individuals reviewed their persistent criticisms of the Scottish Government for diverging from the public health measures taken south of the Border. The repeated assertion has been that Holyrood was not aping Westminster simply to make a political point rather than to minimise the carnage caused by a virus for which there is as yet no effective cure.

The latest data available suggests that so far the mortality rate of the virus in Scotland is roughly half of that in the UK as a whole. My assessment is that the limited measures that Holyrood has been able to take to modify UK-wide policy to counter the virus have been highly effective.

Perhaps it’s time for some humble pie to be eaten by those who accused and castigated Ms Surgeon in Holyrood and these very columns for deliberately going against Westminster diktat for purported political reasons, or is it that these individuals would have been happy to sacrifice a few more Scottish pensioners just to keep us in step with Westminster?

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

LET me make it clear right away that I don’t know if any of my bones are anti-English but I do know that none of my surviving brain cells are. My nationality is Scottish and my country of residence is Scotland. My face-mask would meet with the approval of Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, July 13), which troubles me slightly. What troubles me more is the fact that I am a hostage to the political choices of English voters; only independence can fix this.

We are now, contrary to our wishes as a nation, out of the EU and governed by a Tory party which has cloned itself on Ukip and has ethnically cleansed itself of those former MPs who would have wished it to be otherwise. How many Scottish residents, regardless of their country of birth or ethnicity, would be content to have their homes controlled by their next-door neighbours, even those with whom they share sincere mutual affection and esteem? When will unionists address the simple democratic deficit I describe here instead of attacking the personal qualities, face-coverings or party affiliations of indi-vidual politicians?

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

COVID-19 sent the price of oil to all-time lows as people stayed put in order to limit the spread of the virus. With commerce resuming, the price rose a little, but don’t be fooled. Some time this century the world was always going to move away from fossil fuels – the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stone. The recent turmoil in oil markets is not an aberration; it’s a glimpse of our future.

From Scotland to the Gulf, budgets don’t add up. Apart from Qatar, no oil producer using primary ex-traction can balance its books at a price of $40. Algeria is to cut public spending in half; Iraq will take an axe to public sector salaries; Kuwait’s deficit is highest in the world at 40 per cent of GDP. Scotland spends £15 billion more than it raises in tax and faces years of excruciating austerity if independent.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

I AM compelled to write. Whoever dreamed up FACTS, this ridiculous, pointless, mind-boggling, im-possible-to-remember acronym should be shot at dawn. Likewise, anyone caught wearing a stupid, twee, tartan face covering in these hellish times, should be severely and unceremoniously disposed of.

Thousands of innocent people around the world are losing their lives during this global pandemic, and millions more are indirectly affected, and all we care about is FACTS and party politics.

I have never been so ashamed to be Scottish, and so should every single bickering, sniggering, self-righteous, pompous member of the Scottish Parliament, especially the leaders who condone, and sometimes even encourage, this type of behaviour.

Robert Howie, Irvine.

WELL, I finally got to make the journey to see my daughter in Devon, and what an eye-opener. Leave Glasgow 95 per cent mask-wearing in shops, stop in Gretna services for comfort break, 60% wearing masks, every alternate toilet cubicle, urinal, sink and hand dryer disabled to maintain social distancing. Stopped at Killington Lakes, Frankley south of Birmingham and Exeter, where there were no efforts to maintain space in toilets, though they did try to separate you a little and had screens at food outlets and probably 10% mask-wearing in all three services. No wonder infection rates are higher in England.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: Letters: The next referendum will be fought on a very different battleground