WE have just been condescended to with the latest gracious set of permissions to lead parts of our lives by the First Minster (for which we should of course all be humbly grateful). It includes many generous liberties granted by Nicola Sturgeon, but one in particular is conspicuous by its absence: although travel across mainland Scotland will be allowed from April 26, no such permission has been given to travel to other parts of the United Kingdom.

Ms Sturgeon has never lived or worked outside of Scotland, which may account for the narrow and pinched perspectives of her politics. She has made it plain that she regards the people of England as so different from those of Scotland that we need a border between us, and indeed it has been her life’s ambition to see such a border. The pandemic has given her a chance to cut us off from our families and friends, and now she wants to hold on to the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK for as long as possible. 

The cynicism of her indifference to those of us with families south of the Border is utterly revolting. Let us hope that she pays dearly for her Anglophobia in May.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


ABOVE all else the Scottish electorate needs to consider from which sources the Exchequer of an independent Scottish Government would get its finances.

Scotland simply cannot enter the enigma of self-rule without some sort of assurance on the strength of the Scottish economy. The North Sea oil industry has been in decline for some considerable period. So which part of the Scottish industrial section would help to shore up Scotland's economy?

The Naval Dockyard at Rosyth, and the nuclear submarine base on Loch Long, are UK-inspired and financed. There will be no job security, or job creation, in either of these locations should Scotland ever declare itself independent from the UK. Indeed an independent Scotland would struggle to maintain an effectual defence force, or remain part of Nato.

So have any of the mainly-uninspiring figures within the SNP movement really given any real thoughts to just how miniscule the economy of Holyrood would be with two and a half million taxpayers? From such meagre resources of both income and corporation tax, just where would an independent Scotland find the funding for a sound economy, defence, health, UN membership, a banking system and currency and more?

Already Scotland has over-stretched its resources in the NHS and in the Police Service, as merely two examples. Its performance in ferry-building and airport ownership could be said to be a joke if it had not cost taxpayers so much.

Whichever way Nicola Sturgeon continues to attempt to define herself, and her political party, she is certainly not a realist when it comes down to Scotland's economic strengths. Without the enormous backing from the UK Exchequer, and the worldwide influence exerted by the Foreign Office on behalf of the whole of the UK, an independent Scotland would become a second-class state. Scottish nationalism has no place in today's modern world; it is an anachronism.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.


IN his letter (March 13) regarding another referendum on independence, David Bone refers to the "biggest economic expansion in human history". I have so far only been able to go back 25 years, but one of the country’s leading experts on economics has indicated that in those 25 years Scotland’s economy has under-performed the UK by a significant margin.

This is perhaps because investment in large infrastructure projects in Scotland ended with Margaret Thatcher’s proposal for a motorway between Scotland and England, a project that benefited England’s economy more than it did Scotland’s.

Large projects like the Channel Tunnel, Crossrail and HS2 suck vast amounts of money from the Treasury, while being of benefit to a limited area, leaving less to be invested elsewhere in the UK. Our country will never be better off under a Westminster-led government, no matter which party is in office.

A final point re Mr Bone’s letter: if anyone needs to get back "to doing the job he was voted to do", it is The Prime Minister.

Frances Deigman, Erskine.


I WAS reminded how often the abrasive Margaret Thatcher admitted she depended on Willie Whitelaw to smooth things over when I saw John Swinney thrown under yet another bus by Nicola Sturgeon to save her own skin.

If every Prime Minister “needs a Willie” then every First Minister “needs a John”, an affable incompetent who takes the blows and reminds everyone that replacing the Great Leader with any of her ministers is unthinkable.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


YOU carry a picture of someone saying “Our Time is Now!” apparently advocating indyref2 ("SNP applies to have ‘Indyref2’ put on ballot paper in May’s election", The Herald, March 16). Even if there was a case for this economic suicide note with the SNP leadership mired in scandal and the country crippled by massive debt caused by a pandemic, now is most certainly not the time.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


CAN we please stop demonising men? Yes, sexism needs to be addressed. Yes, women should not feel afraid in the streets. However surely we need to focus on preventing such attacks in the first place and more effective treatment of the men who have committed offences such as these?

Did Jack The Ripper, Bible John and Peter Sutcliffe offend because they lived in a patriarchy or because of their individual pathology? Would they have been prevented or stopped by there being more visible street policing or being subjected to an all-male curfew?

Cathy Baird, Dunipace.


I NOTE the letter from Neil Stewart (March 16), where he states that the vigil in London was not a legal gathering. It was not legal to kill Sarah Everard. What must women do to let the authorities know that we are not prepared to put up with the present levels of violence against us?

I don't agree with calls for Cressida Dick to resign. However, I am firmly of the opinion that Priti Patel should be sacked. She is using the excuse of Covid to force through extreme legislation to remove our human rights in every area.

This extreme right-wing Government in Westminster poses a real threat to democracy.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


ONE man’s revolutionary is another man’s traitor depending where he stands. Nobody would argue that after 10 years of strife the country of Syria is on its knees, but I am not alone in questioning the contention that its troubles stem from an “uprising” as your unattributed article asserts today ("Syrians struggle in dire poverty 10 years after start of uprising", The Herald, March 16).

US General Wesley Clark was adamant back in 2001 that Syria was one of several on a list of Middle East countries that the US intended to destabilise to install a more compliant regime. The fact that the US, UK, Israel and Turkey are currently or have in the past been involved in military actions on Syrian territory and that there are several different foreign insurgent groups, some allegedly funded and armed by the CIA, all fighting against legitimate Syrian forces doesn’t sound like a popular uprising to me. One may have thought that an unpopular regime would have been ousted by now if the majority of the population was against it. David Crawford, Glasgow.


I NOTE that the EU is to launch legal action against the UK for planning to extend the interim Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland. I fear that this is going to be the standard reaction by the EU to any issue however minor that arises in the future.

Litigation should be the last port of call, not the first and automatic response by any sensible organisation. It is clear that Brussels' top priority is to cause the UK as much aggravated hindrance as possible, regardless of the financial, political or economic cost to the EU. As Somerset Maugham once said, “it is not sufficient to succeed, one’s (former) best friend must fail too”.

Ian Forbes, Glasgow.

* IT looks again that the Scottish fishing industry has been abandoned and left adrift by both UK and Scottish governments.

Huge financial pressures are being faced by our coastal communities dependent upon the industry. To sacrifice vital fishing grounds in support of offshore wind developments does not seem logical given that the industry (offshore and onshore) brings more than £800 million to the Scottish economy.

Much of this is Brexit-related but hopefully common sense will prevail.

DG McIntyre, Edinburgh.

Read more: Scotland needs to remember that it has been duped by false Westminster promises before