IT will surprise few that the SNP has, after months of pressure from supporters of independence, launched a Plan B in its quest to manage and keep control of how to effectively achieve independence. As pro-independence columnists have pointed out, the party’s track record in government is decidedly average, yet this is unlikely to affect the outcome of the elections in May (Kevin McKenna, "A Plan B for independence… so why has it taken six years?", The Herald, January 25). No, the real threat to the SNP in controlling the momentum of the independence debate comes from within the ranks of that movement, but outwith the party itself.

There are, after all, influential voices within the wider movement advocating civil disobedience, if necessary, to make Scotland ungovernable for the British state; and this only days after the scenes of widespread civil disobedience on Capitol Hill.

With friends such as these, the SNP does not need enemies. In the weeks and months ahead, keeping the outliers of the independence movement onside will likely prove a greater task for the SNP than retaining control of the parliament at Holyrood.

Stuart Brennan, Glasgow G44.


GORDON Brown has descended again like a messiah, just as he did in 2014, to save us from the purgatory of independence. Interviewed this morning (January 25) on BBC Radio 4, he explained to "the nation", in a kindly, patronising sermon, how the people of Scotland, while apparently expressing majority support for independence, don't really mean it; it's just their way of saying that the goods stacked on the shelves of the UK need to be rearranged.

He described himself as "a patriot", adding that "patriots love their country" while nationalists just want to quarrel with their neighbours. Just like the English nationalists who control the Tory Party, he cannot distinguish between nationalism and nationality.

He referred to "the regions and nations" of the UK, which suggests that he regards Scotlandshire as just another region and that his patriotic love is attached to Britain rather than to Scotland. His sentiments would not have been out of place in the Scotland I grew up in during the 1950s. Britain had just emerged from a war, the British Empire was still to the fore, and Scottish nationality was a cultural rather than a political expression.

Seventy years, on the situation is greatly changed and very few young people in Scotlandshire would express their nationality as British. Mr Brown's denial of reality is akin to Donald Trump's refusal to accept that he lost the recent election. He also appears to have been distracted in 2016 and missed the news that his beloved UK had taken us out of the European Union.

Mr Brown is sadly out of touch with Scottish opinion and would do well to heed the advice given by Labour leader Clement Attlee to Harold Laski many years ago when he suggested that "a period of silence" from the latter would be welcome.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


STRUAN Stevenson’s article ("Britain’s fishermen are stranded on the Brexit rocks – but whose fault is it?", The Herald, January 23) highlights well the dilemma faced by our fishing industry post-Brexit. The fishing industry was naive to expect preferential treatment in any Brexit deal, given the disproportionate leverage that the fishing gives to our negotiators.

It would be equally unrealistic to expect a significantly better deal should an independent Scotland accede to the EU.

Ian Martin, Milngavie.


I AM happy that Thelma Edwards (Letters, January 23) and Georgina Forsyth (“Mother hopes traumatic Netflix film will not put women off having a home birth”, The Herald, January 19) had such good experiences with home delivery. So did I. My first child was born in hospital and my husband and I, both doctors, decided we could do a better job ourselves, so the next three were born at home. When conditions are suitable, there is no better experience.

However, this is not the right thing for everyone. Unforeseen complications can arise, and people should be sure that they have sufficient backup in case of an emergency resulting in an avoidable tragedy.

Dorothy Dennis, Port Ellen, Islay.


RABBIE Burns would very likely have offered a comment or two to the upcoming COP 26 gathering.

He was disturbed by the impact of human beings on the planet. He was upset by the breaking of the natural order which he saw as a comprehensive and cooperative imperative involving all living and growing lifeforms. In his own words, on ruining the nest of a field mouse:

“I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion

Has broken Nature’s social union,

An’ justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle,

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An’ fellow mortal."

Happy birthday. Rabbie.

Your fear for the future was justified and lives with us.

Fraser Patrick, Dundee.


IN today's Remember when... feature ("Dining in style at the Copacabana, 1957", The Herald, January 25) the head chef at Guy's restaurant is quoted as saying diners were looking for new and exciting dishes. In the fifties my dad treated my mum and me every Saturday to lunch at Guy's; I always ordered the hors d'oeuvre. Among other delights it consisted of cold baked beans and tinned sardines, which I considered the height of sophistication.

Pat Sutherland, Glasgow G12.