GUY Stenhouse ("Words matter... the question should be: Do we separate or not?", The Herald, October 24) says that the wording of the question in a future independence referendum should be changed from that used in 2014, which was “Should Scotland be an Independent country”. Yes or No.

Perfectly clear and unambiguous and agreed by both sides. Everyone understood what they were voting for. The No side won and there were no complaints from the Yes side.

Now that the polls are showing independence supporters to be in a clear majority the only reason that Unionist camp want to change the question is to cause confusion.

What could be clearer than the original question?

James Duncan, Edinburgh EH10.

GUY Stenhouse spews nonsense. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings are not giving greater powers to Scotland but rather are using the Brexit disaster to ram through the Internal Market Bill that destroys devolution and returns all powers to a Westminster dominated by 533 English MPs.

The bill will negatively impact Scotland's food quality, environment, education standards, law, the NHS, and even our water. An unelected quango can over-rule the Scottish Parliament, force fracking and take Scotland to court to give foreign companies access to the NHS. London won’t replace the annual £2.1 billion Scotland receives from the EU structural fund with its paltry shared prosperity fund where the spending will be determined by Westminster with a Union flag slapped on for good measure. Condemnation of this shameless power grab has come from the NFU, TUC, STUC and the House of Lords.

Mr Stenhouse says Scotland is drawing on the financial strength of the UK during this pandemic when our dependency on Westminster precludes the Scottish Government from borrowing the money to, for example, extend the furlough scheme to save thousands of jobs, as other European countries are doing. Instead, we are reduced to begging Rishi Sunak to return some of the billions we send to London to stave off economic collapse. An independent Scotland’s central bank would keep its wealth, borrow the money to support its people through this crisis and invest in future growth areas like renewable energy.

He refers to "our significant budget deficit", when Scotland has to balance its budget and can’t overspend. The "deficit" is created by our London masters who burden us with multiple UK-wide costs we don’t control, including £4.5bn per annum to service a UK debt we didn’t create nor benefit from.

Words do matter. That’s why the only fair question is: “Should Scotland’s independence be restored?” Only by restoring Scottish independence can we make our own decisions and not be ruled by a distant government that holds us back and treats us with contempt.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh EH10.

GUY Stenhouse states correctly that the way a question is phrased can bias the result, which he summarises as "words matter’’.

Sadly, he is happy to use facts which are of dubious validity to back up his arguments. Let me take issue with some of them.

First, apart from right-wing apologists, most commentators think that the UK Internal Market Bill will diminish rather than increase devolved powers.

Secondly, he thinks that the UK is a strong player in international financial markets. Does this explain why the pound would buy $2 10 years ago and will buy $1.30 today?

Thirdly, and most surprisingly, he quotes a recent poll that states that 10% more Scots favour remaining in the UK than leaving. I have looked for this poll and failed to find it.

Facts matter too, Mr Stenhouse.

Sam Craig, Glasgow G11.

ALEX Salmond’s lawyer has called on the Scottish Government to publish the legal advice that it received ("Salmond: Government must publish legal advice about review", The Herald October 24) because there is a clear public interest in reading and understanding why it spent large sums of taxpayers’ money in defending his court action before conceding defeat.

Those who understand the court process know that legal costs increase dramatically in the lead-up to a full hearing.

The Government had the benefit of advice from external lawyers, including a prominent senior counsel. Clearly it was told at some point that its position was untenable and required to be conceded. That concession took place only on January 8, 2020, one week before the full hearing date and months after the action had been raised..

If the Government delayed in accepting the legal advice which it had been given (possibly in the hope that Mr Salmond would be formally charged, as he was a few weeks later), that delay cost the taxpayer a great deal of money, not only in respect of Mr Salmond’s legal costs but the bill the Government incurred to its own lawyers.

The Scottish taxpayers, as the ones who footed the bill for all of this, are surely entitled to know.

George Moore, Glasgow G46.

Read more:Guy Stenhouse: Words matter and the independence question should be a different one