DESPITE there being almost nowhere to safely visit these days, a soon-to-expire passport is less than ideal, what with Brexit looming and Covid-19 surging, so, time to, as the Boy Scouts motto says, "Be Prepared".

But, applying online for a new 10-year passport, there’s an immediate and, for me, insurmountable problem; under "Nationality" there’s only one option, not "Scottish" but "British".

This immediately caused me to call an abrupt halt to the UK Government’s application, because, frankly, I’m simply far too ashamed to describe myself as "British".

I am "Scottish", born and raised, more importantly, Scottish by nature, outward looking, not an insular, introverted "Little Brit", altruistic, welcoming to and open-minded about the vast majority of fellow human beings, excluding those convicted of the most serious offences.

But I am utterly ashamed at the current Conservative Government’s willingness and intention to break international law in order to cover up its incompetence in signing a legally-binding international treaty with the EU less than a year ago.

Ashamed by a Westminster regime that treats desperate, often terrified people, many of them women and children fleeing worse than I could ever imagine as criminals to be detained and deported rather than refugees in need of rescue.

Ashamed by Brexit and all that says culturally about and will inflict upon the UK come 2021 and beyond, even more ashamed at the utter arrogance of the "we can have our cake and eat it" attitude of a British government negotiating throughout in bad faith.

Ashamed also that, according to Global Financial Integrity, the UK tops the global league table as the epicentre of illegal money laundering, much of it Russian, some of it finding its way into Conservative Party coffers.

Further ashamed too on learning that the UK’s high street banks – themselves no paragons of virtue – are apparently reluctant to administer the Chancellor’s latest Covid business loan scheme out of concern the Government will renege on its underwriting commitment.

And, it goes without saying, I am super-ashamed that one man and one Government I and my native Scotland would never vote into power is able – and more than willing – to deny me and my fellow Scots the right to self-determination.

What to do? Other than vote for change in December 2024, I’ll check out genealogy websites to ascertain if my distant Irish ancestry might permit me to apply to Dublin for non-UK travel documents.

Mike Wilson, Longniddry.

JOHN Dunlop (Letters, September 28) foresees a UK in chaos, ruled by martial law from Westminster. We already have a situation where the UK Parliament is now routinely bypassed by the Johnson Government (who was trying to illegally prorogue it only a year ago): Scotland ignored and traduced; perpetual revolution in the Tory ranks; friends of Boris Johnson “gifted” top jobs; London awash with dodgy money; Brexit; law breaking. Far from a Johnson “oligarchy” threatening the existence of Scotland’s parliamentary democracy, it’s time for Scotland to become a normal self-governing country, and leave all this chaos behind us.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

FOR more than three centuries Scotland has been an integral part of the UK. As a part of this most successful of unions, it may possibly at times not have been politically in agreement with UK policies; but from an economic point of view Scotland most certainly cannot currently afford to be separated from it.

And furthermore, is it the case that any of our array of SNP politicians could be really naïve enough to believe that the EU would simply welcome Scotland into the fold – any more than it would Catalonia?

The SNP quest for an independent Scotland is simply a pipedream. Currently, for example, it involves features such as signposts with Gaelic inscriptions on major roads crossing what was the ancient "historical" border with England; also on public signage including, for instance, police vehicles. Gaelic is understood by only about one per cent of Scotland's present population, and by none of its potential visitors.

Also the SNP has done absolutely nothing to discourage the massed rallies of kilted, woad-painted, flag-bearing supporters who periodically invade city centres and parks. Historically such gatherings are supposed to represent the Scotland at the time of of the clans, or perhaps that of William Wallace as depicted in the film Braveheart. More accurately they probably typify the Caledonii tribes who challenged the invading Roman armies. The whole SNP approach to political debate is illusory; indeed could more often be described as being almost theatrical – if the possible outcomes were not so likely to be damaging to Scotland's future.

Indeed it may well be that any forecast now of an economically viable Scotland has been conjured up by some SNP supernatural contact with help from a visionary: Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer, comes to mind. His prophecies eventually seemed to materialise – but usually in a very indirect, mysterious way.

We non-believers in Scottish nationalism, can only await the unchallenged prophecies, or next pronouncements of Nicola Sturgeon, with bated breath.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.

THE Scottish Government has two defining features: secrecy and incompetence. There is a link – objective evidence of secrecy is linked to subjective awareness of incompetence.

I yearn for independence, that is independence from the SNP; likewise my friends in Orkney and Shetland.

William Durward, Bearsden.

Read more: Letters: The cost of remaining part of an ‘anarchic, maverick, unpredictable’ United Kingdom