PERHAPS those of us of a unionist persuasion are too negative about the result of another referendum on independence.

The much-vaunted SNP achieved 50 per cent of the Scottish vote in the General Election of 2015. Research on Google suggests that that was its zenith.

In 2014, more than 55 per cent voted for the Union; in 2016, 47% voted for separatist parties; in 2017 37% of Scots voted for the SNP, and in the 2019 General Election, 54% of Scottish votes were for Unionist parties.

Nicola Sturgeon has admitted that no up-to-date research has been carried out on the economic outcome of independence. Perhaps now is the time for Boris Johnson to give the SNP its wish, and thereafter let us get on with living our lives in a United Kingdom.

David Miller, Milngavie.


ONE thing we have learned in recent years with the Brexit process is that any kind of constitutional realignment requires very considerable project management talent (arguably lacking from both sides of the aforementioned negotiation). Successful delivery of major government infrastructure projects would, therefore, be a powerful example of skilled government that lends credibility to the theory that Scotland could prosper as an independent state under the governance of the SNP.

With this in mind, every Scottish voter should review some of the recent major infrastructure projects in Scotland, delivered by this SNP Government. It is not just depressing; it’s nothing short of frightening.

Between the Calmac ferries fiasco, the Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital and Aberdeen city by-pass alone, it has been responsible for more than £300 million of taxpayer-funded over-expenditure. These projects are some of many which have been delivered years late, run many millions over budget and been so poorly managed that it would be comical were the consequences not so grave.

It is tragic to see such a massive waste of taxpayers’ money – especially considering that it could have been used to help turn the tide on some of the worst statistics in Europe for life expectancy, drug deaths, homelessness and the decline of our education system.

Even were independence to have economic benefits to the average Scot – which it clearly does not – should we entrust this to a Government with a track record of such incompetence?

Timothy Flett, Perth.


THE shortcomings of the SNP Government are many and varied, but the most serious and far-reaching is the failure to provide a high standard of education to Scotland’s young people. These pupils are the citizens of the future, those who will be taking their place in business, industry, academia, healthcare and many other sectors in the not-too-distant future.

“Judge me by education” was the cry. Well, the judgment time is now, and the verdict is guilty.

The failure to grow the economy, the failure to keep control of crime, the failure to improve health outcomes. These are all grave missteps, but the failure in education is unforgivable. Young people only have one chance in life, and the policies of this Government have grievously let them down.

Anyone who loves Scotland and its people should think long and hard as to how they use their votes on May 6.

John Steven, Newton Mearns.


WITH all the hype of another election around the corner and the SNP baying for indyref2, has anyone stopped to consider the enormous danger that an independent Scotland would create?

Scotland has more than 6,000 miles of mainland coastline, much of which is remote and uninhabited and difficult to defend. In addition, it is home to the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent. Like it or not, this guarantees our safety as a nation.

The UK has one of the most formidable defence policies in the world. A modern, well-equipped and professional defence force, an awesome cyber defence capability and arguably, the best intelligence agencies in the world, feared by adversaries, respected by friends. In an increasingly unstable and uncertain world, it would be an act of plain suicide to separate Scotland. For Scotland, but also, for the whole of the UK.

Ian Paynter, East Kilbride.


JAMES Martin (Letters, April 27) is swift to defend Boris Johnson against the latest allegations questioning an integrity that was poleaxed long ago. He cites "media hypocrisy" and "unsubstantiated claims" but I suspect Mr Martin would have been wiser to await the evidence that will be presented by Dominic Cummings to the forthcoming Select Committee before rushing to judgement. Further bombs may be waiting to drop.

Stuart Chalmers, Jackton.


ANDREW Dunlop writes of the “Scottish people reclaiming the Scottish parliament for its original purpose” ("The Scottish Parliament was supposed to foster consensus not conflict", The Herald, April 27). It is worth remembering that the first recognised Scottish Parliament (or colloquium) sat in 1235 and within a century was representative of the Three Estates (“three communities of the realm). Holyrood lacks the sovereignty of the original and cannot show “original purpose” until we are again a self-governing country, as it is constituted as a subordinate body to the Parliament down south.

I agree with Lord Dunlop that we should choose wisely, and do so by rejecting rule by London-centric government, and rejoin the modern world. I just hope that Westminster exhibits more tolerance and respect to Scotland than was shown to Ireland a century ago.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


THE headline and leading article today ("Biggest parties’ manifestos ‘disconnected from reality’", The Herald, April 27) were devoted to the the latest report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Ever since the IFS was founded by an investment banker, a tax consultant and Conservative politician, a stockbroker and an investment trust manager, it has published a steady stream of reports of particular interest to organisations concerned about their tax liabilities but it should not be regarded as the ultimate authority on national economics or related constitutional matters, despite its pretensions.

It is worth noting that the IFS never seems to turn its attention to the vast sums of money lost to the national economy by the off-shore tax avoidance schemes, money laundering operations and parasitic gambling schemes managed from the City of London.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.


AFTER the Brexit referendum we ended up with a disunited kingdom and a Government totally indifferent to the concerns of the significant Remain minority. Do the SNP and Greens want a similarly divided and hence dysfunctional independent Scotland? To prevent that unthinkable outcome the independence-promoting parties ought to reflect on what the Report of the Independent Commission on Referendums of July 2018 has to say: “While it does not recommend the use of special thresholds, the Commission does acknowledge the case for ensuring that the result of a referendum, especially on a decision that would be difficult to reverse, reflects the settled will of a clear majority of voters. The Commission believes this will be best achieved by locating referendums firmly within broader processes of careful policy development and discussion.

“Thus, a referendum should always be seen as part of a wider process of decision-making rather than as a ‘quick fix’ solution.”

The Labour Party’s Constitutional Commission and the Liberal Democrats’ Constitutional Convention demonstrate that these parties understand the need for “broader processes of careful policy development and discussion”. Neither the nationalist campaign for independence nor the hardline unionist refusal to consider any need for significantly meaningful constitutional change admits the need for “a wider process of decision-making”.

Nationalists, whether waving Saltires or Union Flags, remain fixated on the old confrontational ways of doing politics manifested in the achievement of Brexit and the desire for independence. One of these outcomes has been, the other would be, divisive of relationships not only between but within nations.

John Milne, Uddingston.



I HAVE been delighted to receive over the past few weeks election leaflets direct from Anas Sarwar, Douglas Ross, and now "Willie Rennie's Liberal Democrats". In the great majority of instances there is little or no mention of who the local party candidates are. It makes me wonder if this election has become a presidential-style vote for First Minister rather than about electing a Scottish Parliament.

Professor KB Scott, Stirling.

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