MY goodness, what an apocalypse awaits an independent Scotland, at least according to Struan Stevenson ("The breakup of the UK will damage Scotland, Britain and the special relationship", The Herald, April 15). Post-pandemic economic meltdown, geopolitical catastrophe, devastated savings, public sector cut to the bone, eye-watering levels of taxation, soaring mortgages, plummeting pensions, sea of debt, bankruptcy, Joe Biden pacing the Oval Office in alarm… Well, there’s much to alarm President Biden, but I don’t think the prospect of Scottish independence will be top of his list.

I invite Mr Stevenson to put his crystal ball to one side and take part in a thought experiment. Imagine that England held a referendum resulting in English independence. That is not at all fanciful, considering Scotland’s reputation as an economic basket case. Why would she not dump this millstone round her neck? Now I invite Mr Stevenson to become Scotland’s First Minister. I can’t second-guess what his policies would be, but I imagine he might say, as I would say, that Scotland is a country abundant in natural resources, chief among them the ability, ingenuity, wit, and resilience of the populace. An independent Scotland can prosper. Everybody knows this.

Yet I do agree with one of Mr Stevenson’s assertions. He says that the removal of Trident to an English port “would require enormous political will to overcome inevitable strong local opposition”. Funny, that.

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.

* STRUAN Stevenson writes of “governments which … flounder around in a hotbed of incompetence, sleaze and scandal”. Only one winner of this prize, and it isn’t Scotland.

Scotland’s economy is to face “meltdown” he asserts, yet we are also told (in a KPMG report) that Scotland will grow faster than the UK. Eight thousand jobs will go at Faslane, but most of these “jobs” are service personnel, and that’s the thing – if the Tories had not removed refitting the submarines at Rosyth (off to Plymouth, for electoral reasons), Scotland might have something to lose from Trident moving from Scotland. The Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United Sates stated fairly recently that they preferred the UK to lose its WMDs and concentrate on conventional armed forces.

Mr Stevenson also asserts we spend £15 billion more than we raise in taxes, but unless the Treasury opens the books we don’t know that at all. Like his chums at Westminster, Mr Stevenson seems to have difficulty understanding Scotland and our place in the scheme of things, but recent articles published by the London School of Economics (Dr Geoffrey Chapman/Dr Richard Scott); Cambridge University Bennet Institute for Public Policy (Philip Rycroft/Prof Michael Kenny/Jack Sheldon) and Prof Ciaran Martin of Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government could help with his comprehension.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I AM routinely amused, but mostly irritated, by reading descriptions of SNP supporters such as myself in your Letters Pages. I am neither fanatical nor blinkered about the SNP's governance of our country and am certainly not afraid to challenge when necessary. I do not rant on social media or engage in anti-social behaviour. I am a retired academic, busy grandmother and wholly peaceful in pursuing my political beliefs.

Like many thousands, I joined the SNP after the referendum in 2014, sickened by the contempt of the fake united opposition's "pledge" to Scots which disintegrated within 24 hours of the No result.

My support for the SNP is maintained by the many improvements to Scottish life achieved by the Scottish Government but also by the howling injustices of Brexit and by being governed by a Westminster highly-privileged elite for which my country didn't vote, and whose policies are so far removed from any reflection of my own values and beliefs as to be almost alien. The UK Conservative Government has repeatedly shown itself to be mired in distasteful hypocrisy, displays a brutal and continuing disdain for the least advantaged and has positioned itself above meaningful scrutiny and accountability. Any support for it must surely require abandoning any belief in decency. Scotland does not deserve to be tarnished by this shamefulness under global scrutiny. In Scotland we at least know how to hold our leaders to account.

So, a request to detractors. Please do not assume you know or understand, or can easily typify my support for the SNP. We are a very broad movement with at least one common belief, that an independent Scotland has the knowledge, skills, resources and passion to look after our affairs and to flourish in, and make a significant contribution to, a fairer world.

Dr Brenda Gillies, Newport on Tay.


THE most striking thing of all about the present Scottish election campaign is that the party which has ruled the roost for 14 years, with the swathe of powers it has, acts as if it has been in opposition all that time. It is very disconcerting, this "elect us and we will straighten it all out’’ line it uses. Where have its leaders been and what have they been doing for 14 years?

The most glaring example of this is in the education of our children, where in surely the most cynical of all their moves, a long-awaited and long-delayed report on how the youngsters of this country are being educated is once more shelved and hidden from us until after the election. In the meantime a handful of goodies is dished out willy-nilly. Cynicism in Scotland is now at a new, to-date-unplumbed, level. Meanwhile, our councils remain starved of funds and we retain the highest drugs deaths in Europe title.

It is so disturbing and so obvious it is hard to see how any caring and concerned parent, in fact how anyone, could be taken in by such tactics.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


PATRICK Harvie, co-leader of the wholly-owned SNP subsidiary, the Scottish Greens, announces a “millionaires tax” in his election manifesto ("Taxing the super-rich and tidal power plans in Green manifesto", The Herald, April 15). He states this is “not a tax on aspiring to have wealth, it is a tax on having wealth”. It is all too frequent that we hear politicians with no economic background espousing their economic illiteracy, but his statement really tops the pile.

In essence he is saying go ahead and dream of creating wealth not just for yourself but also others and of course pay tax on the way to creating that wealth. However be warned: when you have created that wealth, paid tax during the creation of that wealth and indeed perhaps created employment and opportunities for others, we are coming after you for more money.

I look forward to Mr Harvie and his colleagues endeavouring to explain where they fit in “aspiration" in wealth creation when it is simply to be taxed out of existence when that aspiration and success have been achieved. It is the economics of the playground and should he ever get his hands on the till it would spell economic catastrophe for Scotland.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.

* THE poorer might be better off under the devolved taxation system in Scotland ("Scots tax mired in red tape and needs radical overhaul", The Herald, April 15) but the figures are illuminating. The SNP headline boast about most people paying less tax is nominally true but the figures show the real picture. Any Scot on £50,000 is £1,500 worse off yet the maximum benefit for lower-paid workers is a mere £21 tax reduction. A more stark example of SNP spin is hard to find.

The net result of the Scottish taxation system is that lower-paid workers are being short-changed and higher-paid workers will see the opportunities down south as even more attractive. Where is Scotland going to get all the highly trained people for industry, education and health that we so desperately need?

The other sting in the tail is that the more high-paid workers Scotland loses, the more taxation will need to be raised from those who are left. It is not rocket science yet the SNP seems incapable of seeing these obvious facts. If we ever throw independence into this mix the results would be even worse. Short-term SNP spin does not solve long-term Scottish problems.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


NOTING the Scottish Greens' vision ("Greens set out strategy for investment to create 100,00 sustainable jobs, The Herald, April 14), will the further education sector be capable of providing the required training provision for 75,000 people to gain employment as builders, roofer, plumbers, engineers, joiners, window fitters, insulation specialists, plasterers, electricians, painters and decorators? Once trained, will there be sufficient employers with vacancies and work to usefully absorb such a large number of people?

Visions are always wonderful prior to elections. The reality is what will actually be feasible once votes have been cast.

R Mcmurtrie, Currie.

Read more: Why is it only the Tories who are holding the SNP to account?