RUNNING a country should be like running a business in the sense that you need a strong balance sheet, positive cash flow and a good credit rating – especially if you hit unprecedented times and require eye-watering amounts of borrowing during a pandemic. Fortunately we have the Bank of England which has an excellent track record over the past 300 years and is backed by a £2 trillion economy. The extension of the furlough scene until next March to protect millions of private sector jobs throughout the UK is a prime example.

The idea that you could establish an independent Scotland in the foreseeable future (after the economic effects of the pandemic) without a currency, with massive debt and large fiscal deficit successfully is not just a silly pipe dream, it would be the height of folly with a flight of capital (like Quebec) and people south and elsewhere.

The SNP needs more than people who paint their faces, wave flags and hurl abuse at people who may have a different view about independence. Just look at how wrong the polls were in the US due to the importance voters placed on the economy and not the “noise” which was generated by self-seeking politicians. Come another referendum not only would it be fought on different terms to the last one, people (including the financial institutions) would want to be convinced that the SNP has a viable economic plan supported by the business sector and not just by a number of inexperienced career politicians with their heads in the sand.

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen AB13.

DOUGLAS Cowe (Letters, November 5) criticises Nicola Sturgeon and Kate Forbes for asking for clarity from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak regarding financial support for Scotland, but it is not only the First Minister and Finance Secretary who have been in need of clarity. Crucially, Scotland's employers and employees also needed clarity from the Westminster Government, and when Mr Cowe claims that the Scottish Government "has to depend on the financial strength of the United Kingdom to see it through", he omits to say that is because the UK Government has refused to grant financial borrowing powers to the Scottish Government and the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Cowe contends that Ms Sturgeon should "work constructively with Westminster for the good of all", but the reality is that Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly made clear her preference for a four-nation approach during this pandemic crisis if possible, and she has given credit where it is due to the UK Government, as for example when it first introduced the furlough scheme last spring.

Perhaps what Mr Cowe really wants is for Scotland's First Minister to be a 21st century Toom Tabard, and meekly take her orders from the Government in London that Scotland didn't elect; but this First Minister and her Government were elected to work in the best interests of Scotland, and going by all the opinion polls, Scotland's voters have confidence in them to do just that.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

IN her daily press conference on Wednesday, commenting on the US presidential election, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Every vote counts and the result must be respected.” Simultaneously Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, asserted on social media: “It's called democracy, and it's not over until the last vote has been counted.”

Is it possible that Ms Sturgeon and Mr Blackford have both had an irony bypass? The SNP's campaign for a second referendum is entirely contingent on the the total rejection of voters' wishes and on the dogmatic belief that “it's not over, even when the last vote has been counted”. Where's the respect or democracy in that?

Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, North Ayrshire Council, Largs.

WHEN I hear in future the phrase "the settled will of the Scottish people", I shall hear Donald Trump's voice, which has uttered some nonsense today (November 4). "Settled will" implies permanent and irrevocable decision; there is no such entity.

Opinion pollsters seem to have made a hash of predicting the outcome of the US presidential election; but, as I prepare this letter, the final outcome is awaited. Those who desire Scottish independence, and who brag about the results of small opinion polls, would do well to contemplate how unreliable is this process. Science requires measurement which is accurate, reliable/repeatable and capable of independent confirmation. Opinion polls cannot meet basic scientific standards. Opinion polls are akin to tipping racehorses.

William Durward, Bearsden.

AT the time of the 2014 independence vote Scotland was warned by the UK Government and the Unionists that for at least 10 years Scotland would face economic austerity, financial insecurity, economic decline, and would be thrown out of the EU if it voted Yes to independence.

Here we are more than six years later, about to depart the EU, having suffered six more years of austerity, and facing goodness knows how many more years of economic decline and insecurity, due to Brexit.

Can we turn the clock back please?

John Jamieson, Ayr.