ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, July 12) calls for a Scottish inquiry into the response to the pandemic, but it is much more appropriate for any Covid inquiry to take part at a UK level, because the main Covid response in terms of funding support, vaccines and testing capacity backing has come from that level, and our lockdown response was decided at that level too with Scottish Government support.

But there is another reason as well. Different people saying different things at different times has undoubtedly led to a confusion in messaging and therefore a breakdown in community understanding and support, and the result of this has almost certainly been more illness and more death. The devolved nature of the present UK may well have worked against us in this pandemic, and made the outcomes worse. Any inquiry must therefore be done at the higher level so that devolved administrations are properly scrutinised, and Nicola Sturgeon in particular does not have the opportunity and time to mix her own whitewash and have it properly applied. This also applies to Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, all of whom have been happy to try to make political capital at the expense of coherent messaging that the public could more easily understand.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.


ALTHOUGH Lesley Riddoch makes a spirited attempt at bandwagoning the recent English football Euro campaign with Scottish nationalism I feel it is a false conflation (“Southgate’s ‘New England’ strengthens the cause of Scottish independence”, The Herald, July 12). Football is always about the final score. However, I am more convinced than ever that SNP supporters who openly promote Scottish independence, subconsciously don’t really want the win as much as they say. I expect they secretly adore detached power without the responsibility which comes with managing independent statehood.

I suggest that what separatist supporters actually relish is the journey; the feeling that they are crusaders in pursuit of a cause of fighting supposed oppression; an identity as searchers against persecution rather than the actual realisation of Scottish independence. I am Scottish and I am happy to let the UK look after things like defence, foreign aid and policy and international relations and trade. Holyrood has had enough responsibility put on its shoulders to demonstrate a clumsy ineptitude. No more devolution please.

In recent times, Judge Frances Eccles, in an employment tribunal, adjudged the concept of Scottish independence to be similar to a religious belief. I do not expect that many church-going Christians truthfully believe that some day they will physically stand before the face of God. I suggest that it is the faith, the hope and the journey that represents their belief. I consider that it is very much like this with those SNP evangelists who say they wish to break up the UK , apparently for our own good. I consider that if they had independence they would have nothing left to do but watch Scotland crumble into savage internecine squabbling.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.


AT the same time as the SNP is clearly failing Scottish schoolchildren with sinking academic standards, it is perhaps appropriate that Lesley Riddoch should demonstrate her own complete failure at basic maths.

She ludicrously states that only three of England's team would remain in the UK under Priti Patel's stance against illegal immigration (not economic migrants or legal immigrants, a fact which Ms Riddoch ignores).

Can Ms Riddoch enlighten us as to who those lucky three players are, and confirm the specific family background of illegal immigration that would exclude the remaining 13 of those 16 who played in Sunday's Euro 2020 final? Or, as with all separatists' divisive griping, is she making up her own unfounded "facts" as under the current SNP dictatorial administration no-one is allowed to challenge any nationalist broadcasts?

Steph Johnson, Glasgow.


GUY Stenhouse (“SNP ‘kick them in the shins’ approach to UK is hindrance”, The Herald, July 12) claims being part of the UK benefits Scotland, citing pensions, sterling, health care, vaccines and defence.

Most Scots would prefer the UK step aside on pensions. The UK state pension, 29 per cent of average income, is the lowest in the developed world. The EU average is 70.5%, so UK pensioners receive more than two times less than EU pensioners. Furthermore, the lifetime value of a state pension in Scotland is £10k lower than in England because Scots don’t live as long.

Sterling is a depreciating currency post-Brexit. We are seeing price increases, food shortages and plummeting exports. We’ve lost access to the world’s largest free trading zone and to more than £2 billion in EU funding to improve infrastructure, support agriculture and reduce poverty, none of which will be replaced by Westminster.

Scotland spends more per capita on health care than England and because our public health boards are intact, our test and protect system actually works, unlike the £37 billion English fiasco farmed out to private company Serco. Scotland is ahead of England on both vaccine rollouts. Over the pandemic, Scotland has had 141.9 deaths per 100k compared to 200.5 in England. Had we the power to control our borders like Norway our death rate would be far lower.

The UK charges Scotland £3.4 billion each year for defence, 4.4% of total public expenditure. Most is not spent in Scotland and includes the cost of nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers and overseas military bases, none of which Scotland needs or wants. For comparison, Sweden spends 1.1% of its GDP on defence, Finland 1.5%, and Switzerland 0.7%.

There is no case for the Union, the reason Scots voted decisively for pro-independence parties in May. Now the SNP must get on with the job of restoring our independence.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


WITH lockdown soon to end, albeit precariously, it's time for the SNP to name a date for Indyref2. Nicola Sturgeon has focused long and hard on Covid to almost the exclusion of all else. Although she will continue working to contain Covid, there is now no reason why this clear manifesto pledge should not be fulfilled. After all, the raison d'etre of the SNP is independence.

As this unprincipled Tory Government stumbles from one crisis to another, its mercurial PM will most likely call an early General Election in 2023, therefore Indyref2 must be in the spring of 2022. Unionists will continue spreading division and uncertainty as the case for independence grows stronger.

It is vital that all Yes groups and SNP branches come together to pressure the SNP leadership at this autumn's conference to name the date for Indyref2.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.


IN response to my neighbour in Ayr John Dunlop, who complains of "Long Sturgeon" (Letters, July 12), may I suggest that when he gets a chance he votes for independence? The SNP is a means to an end, the sooner we become an independent country the sooner we can get rid of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


READERS will be justifiably annoyed at the amount of Scottish licence payers’ money that was spent on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s wall to wall coverage of the English football team over the last four weeks. However, we can console ourselves with the fact that the BBC’s policy will surely mean that the Scottish Government will be able to save a significant amount of taxpayers’ money. as the corporation has done more work to further the cause of independence than PR companies costing many thousands of pounds could ever do.

Alan McGibbon, Paisley.

* IT is a bit rich we Scots complaining about the way the England football supporters and media have gone over the top about England reaching the final of the Euros. Can you imagine what it would be like if Scotland had reached the final?

We Scots are still ranting on about Bannockburn 800 years later.

James Rait, Kilconquhar, Fife.


I AM at a loss to understand the reaction from some quarters to the perfectly legitimate request for those casting a vote in our system of democracy to be asked for proof of identity. That Labour sees fit to adopt this common sense proposal as a call to arms of some kind is perhaps indicative of why the party is becoming more and more irrelevant.

We are asked for identity if we pick up a parcel at a post office or if we are lucky enough to be buying alcohol and appear youthful; there are many, many instances of daily life where proof of identity is required. Why not voting? Arguably those taking part are performing a very serious civic duty and their decisions could affect the lives of all of us.

The furore from some quarters actually raises suspicions of what are they trying to hide?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

Read more: Pity the young who must live without proper public support