IT was always macabre to read of Japanese soldiers still fighting a war decades after it was over: so how sad to read of Donald Cameron still fighting the Scottish election 90 days after the public gave his party a paltry 22%, and when before and after that election, his party has been actively recruiting personnel and campaigning in the media against Scottish secession ("Sturgeon accused of ‘plotting to divide people’ with new indy call", The Herald, August 3).

For his sake, I would remind him that the UK has always been facing an “economic crisis”. Stop-go policies post-war. Boom and bust economic bubbles. Three-day weeks. Endless strikes. Winter of discontent. It was only the exploitation of Scottish oil that has allowed the UK to pretend all was well for a few decades.

The UK underlying economy still performs poorly, with huge geographic discrepancies in health, wealth, education, life chances and infrastructure investment, which would cost trillions to alleviate (ask Germany) . It certainly won’t be solved by Boris Johnson's three-word sloganising, and vacuous promises of “levelling up”.

Andrew Dunlop, meanwhile ("SNP’S Europe problem will haunt Sturgeon", The Herald, August 3) really has to recognise that every country within the EU has vastly more “sovereignty” than Scotland has, or could have, within the UK. His assertion of Scottish “influence” also has the ring of empty bluster about it.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


YOU report Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron as saying the SNP is "working on breaking up the country". I wonder, what would he say about party colleagues at Westminster?

Putting it in stark terms, England chose to leave the EU and Conservative Party colleagues at Westminster chose a hard Brexit. The inevitable result is there has to be a trade border somewhere, as the resultant divisions in Northern Ireland amply illustrate. This forces Scotland to face a choice of "open" trade borders: either with the EU or with England – a new choice and one not resolved by the independence referendum of 2014.

Such an issue has, of course, many pros and cons, but does remain to be decided and needs to be decided before long. Westminster's choice of a hard Brexit forces this on Scotland.

The SNP is looking to enable the people of Scotland to express their view on such Westminster-inflicted divisions. Is it not a remarkable twist of logic to see this as the SNP "plotting to divide people"?

Bruce Crichton, Hamilton.

* ENGLAND is an economically powerful, successful nation making up 85 per cent of the UK population. The media and the politicians have for years subsumed English with British, careful to ensure that the population dominance of England does not overwhelm the identities of the smaller UK nations. However, this has come at some expense. Rarely, for instance, do you hear the BBC news make reference to English explorer, English scientist or English rock band. Instead the catch-all phrase British is employed.

An England free from the ties of the Union could celebrate its success as a nation without fear of alienating its smaller neighbours. There is no great desire to retain the Union among the population that make up the UK state. Indeed figures from a recent YouGov poll (September 2020) found that “less than half the English population want Scotland to remain part of the UK” yet the Westminster Government fails to recognise or indeed accept this, terrified of the impact on the status of the UK, if Scotland chose to leave.

MPs are elected to represent their constituents. Might I suggest English MPs look to their constituents and campaign for English independence? Let Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland stand on their own two feet.

Stuart Smith, Aberdeen.


ARCH-SNP critic Dr Gerald Edwards (Letters, August 3) rails against Nicola Sturgeon raising independence at the party conference. What, exactly, do you expect from a nationalist party?

There are many supporters of independence who look forward to advancing the cause at the same time as working on the other issues.

There is no denying the enormity of those "other issues" but it is clear, from my own standpoint, that a Westminster Government has no will, no experience and, frankly, no mandate to help the Scots deal with their cultural problems – good or bad.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.

* IAIN Gunn's letter (July 30) is headed "Rest assured Indyref2 is definitely on its way". Surely, considering Scottish political events of late, machinations and Machiavellian intrigue, it should have been headed "Indyref2" is definitely on its way out"?

Roger Eason, Newton Mearns.


GROSS inequality being for me a critical issue, I ask myself: which political philosophy is most likely capable of rising to the challenge of poverty? I believe that neither Johnsonian Anglo-British nor Scottish nationalism is capable of doing so. However having rejected, hopefully, both nationalisms, the electorate has still to choose between liberal/social democratic and neo-liberal unionism, the proper choice to me being obvious.

Both the Labour and Liberal Democratic party 2021 manifestos have at their core compassion and justice. Scottish Labour’s National Recovery Plan expresses an intention to make “every community in Scotland a place where people can safely grow up, settle and work, with access to public services and free from poverty and hunger”.

I agree with the suggestion from Scottish LibDem leadership candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton that the two parties form a "progressive alternative” to both a failing SNP and to a Conservative Party in thrall to a doctrine of (crony-based) privatisation ("LibDem leadership candidate opens door to Labour coalition", The Herald, July 29). This doctrine proved itself incapable of dealing effectively with Covid and will be even more tragically ineffective when coping with global warming and ecosystems loss.

In contrast to this self-serving Conservative dogma, 88 world leaders have now signed The Pledge for Nature (2020) which calls for the “transformation and reformation” of our economic and financial sectors in order to avoid “irreversible harm to our life support systems” and to avoid further growth in “poverty and inequalities as well as hunger and malnutrition”.

John Milne, Uddingston.


I AGREE with Jill Stephenson (Letters, August 3) when she says that Alex Salmond is not a threat to the British state.

If you look at what happened in the Scottish elections this year, 98 per cent of the voting electorate rejected his party, as did the vast majority of those who would like to see Scotland as an independent country.

If you look back further to 2017, Mr Salmond lost his seat at Westminster to the Conservatives. To be perfectly blunt about it, if you are a nationalist politician in Scotland and the Conservatives are more popular than you are, then it is time to call it a day. You are neither a threat nor an asset to anyone.

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.


THE shameful drugs death numbers were at least acknowledged by the First Minister, who described them as “indefensible” but regretfully her supporters immediately look for somebody or something else to blame, as admirably demonstrated by the letter from Mary Thomas (August 2). According to Ms Thomas all political parties are to blame; she claims that one can look back 40 years and blame Margaret Thatcher, adding that drugs policy is reserved to Westminster. She may well do to remember that Nicola Sturgeon was Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing from 2007–2014, and has been First Minister since 2014. It had nothing to do with Westminster when the Scottish Government cut, in real terms, alcohol and drugs spending by £47 million from 2014/15 to 2019/20.

The First Minster notes the 365 rehab beds in Scotland are mostly provided by charities and it was not Westminster that refused to back a call in January 2020 for £15 million to reinstate rehab beds. It was not Westminster that sacked her Public Health Minister in December 2020. Ms Thomas can give it her best shot to “spin” the blame onto others but no amount of “spin” will detract from this tragedy and the blame lies squarely with this inept Scottish Government.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.

* I WAS astounded at Alasdair Galloway (Letters, August 3) writing that “in 1992 there were 18 persons in Scotland known to be drug-dependent”. Please, stop with the nonsense. Actually, according to the National Records of Scotland, in 1992, there were 153 drug-related deaths – 18 of which were of known or suspected drug-dependent people.

For the period 2017-18 in Scotland an estimated 25,906 people were prescribed methadone and it wasn’t for rheumatism. Of course the methadone prescription figures have been going up since it was first introduced, but even in 1992, prescriptees were a lot more than 18.

Philip Adams, Crosslee.

Read more: Westminster is holding back our fight against drugs deaths