HAS democracy in Scotland been hijacked”? Theresa May offered to rerun the EU referendum only three years after the first one, and the present leader of Labour also wanted a second EU plebiscite. Ireland/Northern Ireland has it written into the UK constitution that it can have a “Irish unity” referendum every seven years, if demand is there. But Alister Jack asserts that an England-majority Westminster will veto a direct choice by Scots on our constitution position for decades, even though a substantial majority of Scots want this settled.

Thank goodness we have the remedy recommended by Margaret Thatcher, who stated that “if Scots want independence, all they have to do is elect a majority of pro-independence Scottish MPs to Westminster”. I’m certain even Mr Jack would agree that a direct manifesto commitment to this outcome would, in the circumstances advanced by him, give Scots a right to negotiate our road to independence. This is the 21st century, and Scotland is not a colony to be dictated to.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

IT is as well that Robert the Bruce, in 1314, didn't use the same throwaway phrase that Alex Salmond reportedly used, in 2014, about a "once in a generation opportunity" when describing the significance of the independence referendum. Otherwise, had the Battle of Bannockburn been lost, the Scots might have been forbidden from further efforts on behalf of their freedom for at least 25 years.

This seems to be the narrative in Scottish Secretary Alister Jack's history book, when he tells us Scots we won't be allowed a second independence referendum next year. The same history book seems to be telling him too that his job is directly descended from the overlordship of Scotland as claimed by Edward I, King of England. This kind of confusion appears typical of all associated with the Government of Boris Johnson, to the extent that there is an impression emerging from Westminster that a number of its ministers have maps of the world on their ministerial office walls that show half the countries of the world coloured red as in the time of the British Empire.

If this is what private education does it should be no surprise it is somehow called "public" education instead, and just further proof of the confusion that apparently prevails in such places.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.

ALISTER Jack's statement that indyref2 will not be allowed for at least 25 years has set off the usual nationalist howls of protest. It is a "rage against democracy" claims Nicola Sturgeon, but she is only too well aware that she cannot deliver a workable independence and has the unenviable task of letting her side down gently.

Economics were the key in 2014 and are even more critical now. The nationalists have no coherent argument that can promise the utopian welfare state it envisages.

What is obvious is that the problems raised over a border with England, the Euro and the terms of any EU membership are going to prove too difficult to solve. Using sterling is not a sensible option as it comes with too many disadvantages. It is easy to dismiss these facts when ticking boxes for a poll; impossible to ignore if it came to a ballot. Ms Sturgeon knows this and the battle within the SNP and the wider nationalist movement over these issues will have to come to a very similar conclusion. Now is not the time.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

IAN Lakin (Letters, November 6) says running a country should be like running a business. A company’s mission is to turn a profit and a government’s mission is to provide for all citizens through the "common good" – things like schools, roads, police, health, the environment. If a government is profiting, then it is hoarding tax money for no good reason. A business can close a failing line of business or choose to streamline its products for just one sector. Governments don’t have this option. All citizens need a good education, access to health care and decent housing.

Governments can do something else businesses can’t – they can create money when needed, as the Bank of England has shown. There is absolutely no reason why Scotland couldn’t do the same as an independent country with its own central bank and currency. Just look at our Nordic neighbours, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, who have all successfully supported their economies and citizens during the pandemic and will continue to do so.

Finally, Mr Lakin repeats the myth of a Scottish deficit. Scotland does not have a deficit since by law we must balance our budget. Rather, we send £65.1 billion to London and get back just £49bn. Then we are "charged" £2bn in UK service costs, £3bn for defence, £4.5bn in UK debt servicing. All of these "costs" would vanish upon independence and Scotland would retain its own revenue and be free to develop in the way best suited to its people.

The case for restoring Scottish independence is only growing stronger, and the unionists are powerless to stop it.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh EH10.

TOM Gordon (“Salmond fear that sleaze probe could stop a political comeback", The Herald, November 4), reminds us that Alex Salmond had the Scottish Government’s probe into his behaviour set aside in a judicial review which concluded that the probe was “tainted by apparent bias" and thus unfair.

I believe that same judicial reasoning should be applied to the question to be asked in any second independence referendum. It is the opinion of the Electoral Commission that a question calling for a Yes or No answer is inherently biased in favour of the positivity of Yes against the negativity of No, which is why it recommended the Remain/ Leave question for the EU referendum. It is no answer to say any possibility of bias should be ignored in any Indyref2 in favour of simply repeating the Yes/No question used in 2014 because of its familiarity. Do those advocating its use believe the electorate would not understand a Remain/Leave question despite its familiarity from the EU referendum, or that the Electoral Commission is talking rubbish, or are they motivated by wanting to hold onto the unfair advantage of the bias a repeated Yes/No question would give them?

Should the Yes/No question be proposed formally for use in any Indyref2, whether or not it should be set aside as “tainted with apparent bias" must be tested by judicial review.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

WHILE the Scottish media was (understandably) focused on the US election and the furlough scheme, the Westminster Parliament was quietly shutting the door on child refugees. Lord Dubs’ amendment to the latest Brexit Bill, which would have continued the right of child refugees to rejoin family members already in the UK, was defeated by 333 votes to 264.

Four Tory MPs showed they had a conscience but five Scottish Tories dutifully backed the inhumane Brexit-obsessed, fortress-England line of their party.

It seems Scottish Tories are as keen on compassion as Donald Trump is on climate change.

Scotland has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees. My father was one of a group of Kindertransport kids in Selkirk in the war years.

He’d be disgusted by the attitude of the Tories to the child refugees of today.

John Dennis, Dumfries.

Read more: Indyref2: Nicola Sturgeon & Ian Blackford hit back