SIR John Major is trying to take the Scottish people for fools ("Major proposes giving Scotland two separate independence referendum votes", The Herald, November 10).

First of all, any decision to be taken should be by the Scottish electorate, no one else. As is widely accepted, indeed as even a Tory MP in Westminster stated, no country can be stopped from removing itself from a treaty which no longer serves its purpose. Of course, it could be argued, this treaty never ever benefited Scotland.

His idea of two referenda is based on one purpose only. They know fine well they will lose the next referendum. What they will then do is what you can currently see them doing with Brexit. Simply, they negotiate in bad faith. They always have, always will. They tried to do so after the Smith Commission by trying to withhold £7 billion from the Scottish budget. Had it not been for an alert SNP they would have succeeded.

They would delay talks, and try to frighten the population in any way they can. They would make ludicrous demands – for example, continue to pay "our" share of HS2, the new London sewerage scheme, Crossrail, Trident, to name only a few, as well as dragging their heels over Trident removal.

They would hope to sicken our people, hoping we get fed up and be willing to go back to the welcoming bosom of Westminster. They will put the BBC and the mainstream Media into overdrive, with the aid of MI5, dark money, and more.

This idea should be totally rejected. It is his version of a Trojan horse.

Mick McCready, Milngavie.

IAIN Macwhirter maintains that the SNP should welcome and follow the advice of Sir John Major with regard to future referenda on Scottish independence ("A double-headed referendum? The SNP ought to be all for it", The Herald, November 11). Let us consider some of Sir John's earlier career. He, as Prime Minister, observed that membership of the European Exchange Rate system showed serious intent about being "at the heart of Europe". Remember how well that went on Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992) with Britain, having put interest rates up to 15 per cent, leaving the mechanism. This was a serious humiliation for Sir John, his Government, and Britain.

This was the man who came up with a call for a return to the morality of the old school –"Back to Basics". Remember how well that went. Under his prime ministership, British Rail was dismantled and privatised. Remember how well that has gone.

With that background, the SNP, and everyone else for that matter, should approach advice from that source with considerable hesitation and circumspection.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

REGARDING P Davidson's letter (November 11) and a possible second chance on going on a "once in a 25-year generation" cruise due to a lottery win: Scotland doesn't do the lottery. Instead, it relies on its fast-decreasing oil revenues, minimal decommissioning platform contracts, ditto on renewables manufacturing, much-reduced shipbuilding infrastructure and its track record on bailing out struggling businesses. Prestwick Airport, BiFab, Fergusons and CS Wind UK immediately spring to mind in that respect.

Perhaps the SNP should stick to the 25-year lifetime period, and do the lottery, to get Scotland on a firm financial footing before striking out on the independence trail again.

George Dale, Beith.

DOUGLAS Cowe (Letters, November 11) claims that emotion is fine for a child or teenagers but not for Mark Smith ("The emotional reason I am ready to accept independence", The Herald, November 9), who “has not matured sufficiently to confirm that to achieve independence based on emotion will be utter folly”. In this way he treats emotion as something that disappears with youth. Last weekend saw Remembrance Sunday. Does Mr Cowe seriously want us to believe that, particularly for those who lived through wars, remembrance invokes no feelings of emotion, and that those involved are none the worse for that?

Whenever Nicola Sturgeon joined the SNP, it is surely going much too far to claim she did so in order to destroy the United Kingdom. Personally, I didn’t join the SNP as a teenager. In fact, I have never been a member of any political party. There was no single event in my embracing independence, rather it progressed from a commitment to federalism in my teens, and an increasing awareness as a student of political economy at Glasgow University in the early 1970s that the Scottish and UK economies required, in my view, different economic policies. Indeed, some three or four years before me, the late George Younger suggested the same thing in a Westminster debate. Eventually my commitment to federalism perished on two rocks. The first was the structural difficulty of one party to the putative federation being 85 per cent of the whole. The other was an increasing awareness that Westminster just wasn’t interested in modernising its polity, and certainly not in federalism.

Thus for some at least – and the polls suggest an increasing some – there are “economic and financial” justifications for independence, and I find deeply offensive Mr Cowe’s scarcely concealed implication that those who believe in independence have the emotional maturity of teenagers (which is actually a deeply unpleasant characterisation of our young people) and hold to an impossible dream without reasons we consider good.

Most worrying, though, is his lack of historical awareness and even irony. He mentions homelessness, indebtedness and drug abuse, as though those would be the consequence of independence, when the reality is not only do they scar Scotland now, but their origins lie in the history of the Union he is trying to defend.

In conclusion, a question for Mr Cowe. Who said: “Supporters of independence will always be able to cite examples of small, independent and thriving economies … such as Finland, Switzerland and Norway. It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country.” I will give you a hint. He was Prime Minister in 2014.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

DOUGLAS Cowe bemoans the "emotional" acceptance of independence by columnist Mark Smith. It appears Mr Cowe has become emotionally charged himself and this has affected his faculties of logical analysis when considering the constitutional question.

His letter tabulates a long list of socio-economic issues which he believes illustrate the ruinous condition of Scotland’s economy. He makes no attempt to explain why we are unable to address pockets of chronic poverty or what makes our country unique among small northern European nations that it cannot self sustain successfully as an independent state and must remain as an obligate parasite of London’s largesse.

However, Mr Cowe has a solution to his perception of Scotland’s economic ills. He believes we should have more of the 313-year Union which has apparently reduced the country to a state of penury. Even better, we should augment this with Brexit against Scotland’s democratically expressed wishes and continue to delegate strategic decisions on the economy to a Government we did not elect.

Yes, there will be much emotion when second independence referendum is held. There will also be considered debate on currency, borders and the wider economy. Mr Cowe will have an opportunity to articulate his economic case for persisting with the Union and leaving the EU, however, he will have to do better than advocating more of the same.

Iain Gunn, Elgin.

ACCORDING to Douglas Cowe support for the SNP is rising because of Nicola Sturgeon's "daily grandstanding".

On the contrary, support for independence is rising because we are under the control of a dictator who prorogues Parliament, and treats Scots as naughty children whom he sends to the naughty step. His Brexit deal involves breaking international law, ignoring the Good Friday Agreement, thereby destroying trust in British policy, and more importantly, endangering peace in Ireland. The new US President does not trust Boris Johnson. Neither does any other head of state. The foregoing are just some of the reasons that support for independence is on the up.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

A YEAR ago, Alister Jack stated that an electoral majority would give a mandate for Indyref2. Two months later he said the opposite. Less than a week ago he asserted that Scots, uniquely on these islands, would not be allowed a say on their constitutional futures for 40 years. Yesterday he claimed this would be 25 years; 40 years being a “jocular” aside ("Backtrack for Jack on Indyref2 timetable", The Herald, November 11). I have no idea if Mr Jack’s much-diminished post carries a job description, but he appears to have few credentials for the task, and has done little to justify his public salary.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

IT is truly appalling seeing a politician trying to deny the will of the people.

How can Alister Jack – who clearly was NOT joking – possibly justify saying that the people of Scotland have no right to decide their own future for 25 or even 40 years?

C Donaldson, Moffat.

THE bedroom tax applies in Scotland, but the Scottish Government has allowed for an extension of discretionary housing payments (DHPs) to cover tenants who would otherwise lose out.

So how can it be blamed for the lowering of life expectancy in Scotland “Austerity cuts led to ‘shameful’ fall in life expectancy for Scots”, The Herald, November 10)?

William Douglas, Balfron.

I WROTE to the Director-General of the BBC raising concerns about the main news of the BBC at 6pm and 10pm being both London and England-centric. I received a generic reply from BBC Audience Services stating: “We believe we are delivering comprehensive and accurate coverage of the impact of the virus for our audiences across the United Kingdom’.

I rest my case.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.

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