IN an otherwise excellent article that goes a long way to rehabilitate rational economic discourse around the borrowing powers of sovereign central banks, Iain Macwhirter ("GERS figures should be renamed TWITS: too wee to stupid”", August 30) lobs into the mix that Scotland could do a Guantanamo on the Clyde and rent Faslane to HM Navy for twenty years.

We in SNP CND believe, as the independence election of 2021 approaches, that it is indeed time to talk about the actual time scales for Trident removal. That is why in early July we launched our latest discussion paper, Nuclear Guantanamo on the Clyde? The plans to keep Trident on the Clyde in an Independent Scotland.

Such was the interest in the paper that we had to run our oversubscribed online discussion meeting twice. Moreover, at the time of writing at least six SNP branches are going to discuss the draft motion we have included in the paper. The baseline timescale that SNP CND suggest is three years, though what timescale any motion any SNP branches come up with will be, quite rightly, up to them. Assuming a motion on the theme gets through SNP standing orders (given its proven popularity it would become an issue if it did not) then the party as a whole would be in a position to consider the matter, whenever in the challenging Covid context a fully inclusive democratic SNP conference can take place.

What we in SNP CND are clear about is that there is a real danger that rental of Faslane over a medium to long-term basis would be rental over the lifetime not only of the current fleet of Trident-carrying Vanguard Class subs but their replacement, the Dreadnought class, the first of which is being built as we speak. The first of the Dreadnought class is due to come into service in the not-too-distant future with the whole Dreadnought fleet introduced piecemeal as they are built, with the current Vanguards decommissioned in piecemeal fashion too.

If the first significant intervention of a newly sovereign Scottish state were to give succour to the planet-threatening hubris of a declining medium power it would be beyond shameful and turn Scotland into an international laughing stock. Doubly so indeed because, as Mr Macwhirter explains in his article, an independent Scotland is not “too poor” after all, institutional prostitution in areas of security is not necessary.

Technological innovation has and increasingly does shred the carefully choreographed diplomatic dance of the multilateralist. We have to get rid of these bombs or they, in the dawning age of AI, will get rid of us. Scotland is not too wee, neither is it too poor as Mr Macwhirter explains. The “too stupid test” will be passed or failed on how a sovereign Scotland handles Trident.

Bill Ramsay, Convener SNP CND, Glasgow.

IAIN Macwhirter has thrown caution to the winds. He is not only dismissive of the relevance of the GERS figures but claims they have no bearing on Scotland's ability to be independent. Really?

Independence means a Scottish central bank and a Scottish currency. Independence means Scotland will not get loans at rock-bottom interest rates. Our productivity is still not great and our social security bill is not only immense, it will be far worse if all the nationalist promises are met.

Oil was the central economic plank in 2014. Where is it today?

The problem about independence is exactly the problem Mr Macwhirter ignores and that is the real costs which are always conveniently minimised. Who is actually going to lend us all this money? Debts have to be serviced. The bills will get much bigger.

There are more than five million people in Scotland. There is a pressing need to be careful about their future. Just the mere thought about where Scotland's finances would be today if Yes had won in 2014 (and it is going to be a magnitude harder now) proves the point. Old-fashioned economics is not dead yet.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


YOUR correspondent DD Moran listed criteria which were said to be diagnostic of the critics of Jeane Freeman ("What sort of society are we breeding here – foul-mouthed, illiterate, idle, bigots and racists? We should not tolerate it", Letters, August 30). Given that I have defended our Health Secretary on multiple occasions within the press, and do not consider myself a "cretin", I suggest the litany cited does not apply to me. Nor does the charge that I "contribute nothing to our society".

When Unison rep for NHS staff in Edinburgh, Tam Waterson, said of Ms Freeman that "She is the worst Cabinet Secretary I have ever experienced ... she is cold and has no empathy ... it was one of the First Minister's biggest mistakes appointing her ... she's not a people person" (£150m down the drain?, The Herald on Sunday, August 4, 2019), the final sentence of my response, published the following week, read: "Ms Freeman must have the patience of a saint."

Misogyny is indeed rife throughout Scotland, and Jeane Freeman has been made to endure more than her fair share of it. That said, there is a crashing irony in both the content and tone of the contribution of DD Moran.

Sick talk about a "toxic" culture – specifically, calling people "cretins", and suggesting they "contribute nothing to our society" – is self-defeating.

Meeting one set of prejudices with another set of prejudices never solved anything.

Archie Beaton, Inverness.


NOT long ago, Nicola Sturgeon was telling us she was en route to eliminating the virus, not hesitating to imply a contrast with England. Her close adviser, Dr Devi Sridhar, who seemingly routinely uses the coronavirus to play them and us with England, insisted local lockdowns as they have down south weren't the way to go for Scotland.

Sadly they have been proved wrong. Swathes of Scotland have been subjected to lockdowns of varying severity – both rural areas and large cities, with 800,000 people now affected in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

Ms Sturgeon, despite her rhetoric that she's above constitutional games, consistently uses the pandemic to, if not overtly claim but definitely suggest Scotland is somehow better, more worthy than England, that Scots are more rule-abiding than the English (let's gloss over the uncomfortable truth about Aberdeen bar crawlers) – that Scots are healthier than the English.

The truth is the virus doesn't recognise the jurisdictional border about which Ms Sturgeon obsesses. Large parts of England have infection rates as low as parts of Scotland. Conversely towns and cities in both countries have a worryingly high number of cases.

In excess of 4,000 people have died in Scotland from Covid – one of the worst death rate per million in the world. Ms Sturgeonmay be beating her indyref2 drum even louder just now, but she should not use this deadly disease to try to create division and build enmity.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

THERE are far too many sites from the Scottish Government giving out coronavirus advice. Today I have done various searches with similar criteria and opened up publications with dates from early July through to August and all state that you can click on an update link to bring the site up to date. The early pages I brought up did not take me to up to date/current advice pages despite clicking the update link. There should be internet search access to only one advice/start page, which would then pass you through to the sub-pages you require, from within that site itself, to avoid confusion.

The 48 hour results service is a joke, as no account can have been taken for perfectly understandable behaviour from over-zealous parents, applying for tests for the returning school pupils with possibly only flu-type symptoms.

George Dale, Beith.


ON very little evidence Clark Cross (Letters, September 30) chooses to label me a Europhile and I will concede that from the tone of his letters I am probably more so than he. But that has little to do with the refugee crisis. In his support for an embargo on trade with France Mr Cross places great faith in the French Yellow Vests. The ordinary French citizen shows as much Anglophile as he is Europhile; that English is an international language is one possible reason for refugees to wish to seek safety in an area where the language one they are familiar with. But that aside the refugee problem and of greedy human traffickers is an international one and needs international action which can only be achieved by discussion and preferably based on humane considerations.

Douglas Robison, Polmont.


I WAS so moved by the article about the organisation set up by the family of murdered woman, Moira Jones ("'Moira – so good, so loved, so loving, lying there cold alone in a mortuary", August 30). Moira's mother, Beatrice, said she had lost faith. May the following prayer bring her comfort, I came across it 27 years ago: "May the love of your angel sweetly enfold you, gently uplift you, comfort and hold you".

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


REGARDING Susan Swarbrick's article about board games ("The joy (and tears) of board games", August 30), every school teaching modern history should give over one day's tuition instead to their students playing Professor Allan Calharmer's board game Diplomacy (about early 20th century power politics in Europe), and David Watts's Railway Rivals about 19th century "railway mania".

Both were developed as teaching aids, and whilst very simple to learn and play, the strategies in both teach a lot about how our relationships with each other can result in poor or even self-destructive choices; but equally how cooperation and trust results in the maximum advancement for the many.

As Ms Swarbrick would have it, both tell you a lot about other people's inner natures – and other people a lot about your own you may not care to face.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.