THE SNP has yet again been dismissive of the Prime Minister's visit to Scotland and the UK’s ongoing response to Covid ("PM flies in as cracks widening in Union relations", The Herald, July 23). As always, the Union is receiving much predictable ire from it. However, the four nations of the UK have all funded a massive furlough scheme, billions went to charity, arts, culture and to support services. There is no way each individual nation could have done this alone.

Am I supposed to believe the SNP line that Scotland receives absolutely no benefit from being part of the UK? None? Zero? This is surely disingenuous, and I expect the SNP leadership knows this privately but is obviously unable to admit it in public.

In that case, how can the Union with the UK be a drain, but EU membership be an unrelenting good all the time in all circumstances? The EU didn’t operate a furlough scheme, the UK did. The UK supported 900,000 Scots, which is almost a fifth of our entire population. An additional £10 billion spent in Scotland to fight and mitigate Covid-19 does indeed show the might of the Union.

David Bone, Girvan.

BORIS Johnson is right when he says the might of the Union helped us to provide the governmental response to Covid-19. As predictable as the sun rising in the east, Nicola Sturgeon refuses to accept this, arguing that it is merely due to where the power lies, citing Ireland as an example of an independent country that has done things itself.

I can only assume our First Minister was too busy raging over our PM not asking her permission to visit part of the nation he governs to have seen the outcome of the EU recovery funding package where Ireland will be $3,200 per person worse off. We are much better off in the union that is the UK.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

THERE is no doubt that Boris Johnson’s terminology, with its choice of “might” to describe the UK, is meant to imply that an independent Scotland, by comparison, would have failed to cope with the Covid-19 crisis. There is, however, a flaw in such an implied assertion: that is an independent Scotland does not exist, so how can something that does not exist be judged as a failure?

We are also told by unionists that had Scotland become independent in 2014, it would not have been able to mobilise the necessary resources by now to handle a Covid crisis. Really? How can anyone know what the last six years of independent government, with a different economic policy than that allowed under devolution, would have been able to accomplish?

The unionists will have to do much better than invent both a non-existent history and perform the miracle of forecasting a future yet to come, if they are to hold off the rising tide for independence.

Jim Sillars, Edinburgh EH9.

AS Boris Johnson picked his way through the minefield of the UK’s health, social and economic response to the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon has followed in his footsteps, pretending to be doing her own thing, whilst staying just sufficiently socially distanced to avoid any shrapnel if Mr Johnson sets off a mine – at minimal political risk herself. If things go wrong for him, she will say her "caution" has been justified and if it all goes well for the UK as a whole, the worst she can be accused of is that she "cared too much about the safety of the people of Scotland".

There may be many justified criticisms of the UK Government’s health-related actions in dealing with Covid-19, but one cannot deny that it also had other major issues to deal with concurrently, many of which would have in themselves constituted a major crisis. These include repatriation of UK nationals, initiating furlough schemes, Brexit, China, Hong Kong, Huawei, Russia, Yemen, trade deals, air bridges, and the borrowing to pay for it all. This and Mr Johnson’s own encounter with the virus necessitated the daily briefings often being led by various Government ministers other than the PM.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon, unburdened by any distractions on a similar scale, was easily able to create the illusion of calm, measured "hands-on" approach to the crisis when in fact all she was doing was allowing the UK Government to make the big decisions, take the risk and responsibility, so she could follow on a couple of weeks later. Meanwhile, the natural advantages Scotland had in terms of lower population density, fewer major international transport hubs, less internal travel and commuting enabled the total deaths per 100k of population so far to look better than England’s but in fact not nearly as good as comparable countries like Denmark, Norway and Ireland.

What she is doing may be good politics, but good leadership it is not.

Mark Openshaw, Aberdeen AB15.

BORIS Johnson's trip to Scotland does not seem to have worked. Nicola Sturgeon is claiming this as a "victory" due to her perceived better handling of the coronavirus outbreak. However, there is a long way to go and whilst the health of the nation seems to be so far, so good, the opposite to this wellbeing is yet to kick in with the other side of the pandemic coin, that of economic meltdown. Does the SNP have either the plans or the politicians to sort this out without recourse to the usual call for more powers from Westminster or even independence altogether? Surely if the SNP thinks that Scotland can easily go it alone then it must have some ability to rescue our economy even under the current constraints. The SNP ought to relish this chance to show what it can do without Westminster's extra help. That is what "independence" actually means.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

BORIS Johnson visits Scotland and keeps his itinerary as secret as possible yet his Unionist lackeys insist we must welcome him with open arms. This is a Prime Minister whose approval ratings are seriously negative and who has spent years denigrating Scotland and the Scots yet we still have pathetic toadying from some correspondents.

Let us be honest, the assumption by the unionists is that we are too stupid not to see through their fallacious arguments and simply absurd economic fault-finding of an independent Scotland. They are working on the old principle that if you repeat a lie often enough it will become an accepted truth. Mr Johnson has lost virtually every job he has ever had for lying, including writing for the Telegraph, whose editor said he couldn't trust a word he wrote. Why, then, should we accept anything he says?

The correspondence in last week's Herald also showed that old Labour is alive and well. Both Peter Russell and John Dunlop told us that an independent Scotland would fail, but that is no surprise as the yellow brick road for Labour politicians has always been the motorway heading for London.

If we continue to be fooled by these charlatan parties and their willing acolytes then we deserve nothing better than a proven liar and a used car salesman.

David Stubley, Prestwick.

STEWART Keir (Letters, July 22) has graciously admitted that he reduced the size of the national debt by a factor of 1,000 but he is rash to persist in his argument that Scotland can afford it nevertheless.

With a 90-10 allocation of the national debt at independence, of course the rUK and Scottish debt-to-GDP ratios would be about the same at first. Does anyone really believe that would remain the case? All the indications are that the Scottish government would continue to borrow more to fund a persisting deficit.

An allocation of 10 per cent of the national debt would mean that none of the 11 EU countries of similar or smaller population size would have a debt-to-GDP ratio worse than Scotland’s, with the possible exception of Cyprus. Scotland would not be "too wee", but would be too wee to spend as we do now.

GR Weir (Letters, July 22) speculates that an independent Scotland might begin debt-free because the rUK will not divide its allegedly "vast" home and overseas assets. I doubt if UK Government overseas assets are that vast, and many valuable rUk "overseas" assets would be in Scotland anyway. Private UK overseas assets are indeed vast, but how could any government divide them in time of peace? Businesses move where they wish, as Scotland already knows to her cost.

If Scotland did not assume its share of the debt, there is an obvious way for rUK to make up the deficit, in the form of trade tariffs against Scotland. I know this argument is used against Brexiters too in relation to the UK and Europe, but one comes back to the fact that it’s easier for a very small country to suffer than a medium-sized one.

In the world of coronavirus-induced new debt all of the UK faces higher taxes, cuts in services and uncertain employment. We should stick together as we have in every crisis for the last 300 years.

John Burton, Thornhill.

ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, July 22) admits that the pandemic "is under some kind of control in Scotland" but it appears to stick in his craw to give any credit for that to the First Minister for her leadership during this health emergency. Given the often harrowing news Nicola Sturgeon has had to impart when giving her daily updates, Mr Mckay's comment that Ms Sturgeon has "grown to love the spotlight" and "will have to be dragged screaming and kicking from the podium and cameras" is, frankly, infantile nonsense. And to accuse her briefings as being "unchallenged in any meaningful way" is rather insulting to the many television and newspaper journalists who put their questions to her.

I have no doubt that Ms Sturgeon turns up day after day at the press briefings because, as First Minister, she considers it her responsibility to update the nation and answer questions from the media. I have friends and acquaintances who are not in any way SNP supporters, but who are gracious enough to admit that they have been impressed by Ms Sturgeon's careful approach and commitment to public health throughout this testing time; it is a shame that Mr McKay cannot put his prejudices aside, and join them.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Read more: Letters: PM must be made aware of how we feel