WHAT has become clear to me over the past few years when watching and reading the views of the SNP and their supporters is they do not understand how unionists view independence. Right now, gaining independence looks to many people like taking control away from one incompetent government, repeatedly accused of cronyism and corruption, and handing it to a government just as incompetent with its own allegations of corruption and cronyism. What nationalists need to understand is, to people like me, the road to independence is a series of tests that need to be passed.

The Scottish Government is the practical exam, demonstrating competence in running a country with a limited selection of powers to prove that Scotland can indeed work as an independent country. While I understand some problems are going to crop up, a party that thinks it can rule better than the Conservatives in Westminster should not be presiding over several different crises in devolved areas like health, education and the ongoing ferry debacle. Especially if any of those crises are not replicated down south.

By this logic the practicalities of what an independent Scotland will look like is the theory test. Talking about all the countries that have made independence a success and replicating that shows a goal. It is not a roadmap on how to get that goal. Talk about resources is the beginning of this roadmap but further details are needed.

As someone in his twenties, common wisdom tends to dictate I should be an independence supporter. However, I need evidence before I make that leap and my view is not unusual among people my age. It is a bad state of affairs – and the height of irony – when all the people who know how to get independence are unionists.

John Shanks, Glasgow.


EVERY day your letters pages carry nationalist letters girning about how bad the UK is.

Is there nothing good that nationalists can say about Scotland belonging to the world's fifth-largest economy? How about the Astra Zeneca vaccine developed in Oxford and rolled out across Scotland? Eight billion pounds last year to fight Covid. Balancing Scotlands's huge budget deficit by the sum of £36 billion. Paying £2,000 per man woman and child extra public spending every year for every Scot. Ambulances being driven by men of the British Army. Spreading the subsidy of Scotland's wind farms over a population of 68 million, not 5 million.

Perhaps nationalists should ask themselves: if Britain is so bad why are so many people from all over the world desperate to live here with more than 17,000 having crossed the Channel illegally in small boats this year alone? And if the EU is so welcoming why wouldn't they stay there?

William Loneskie, Lauder.

* I NOTE the intense anger at the SNP from two correspondents today (September 30), Richard Allison and Dr Gerald Edwards (again).

It used to irritate me that these writers could put their views in such succinctly few words (as this old surveyor has to write and rewrite to get any sense) but I have come to realise that there will always be serious detractors to independence, particularly as SNP supporters, like myself, do not seek perfection and see many issues that require more work. It is good to read and accept, in some measure, their views.

Perhaps, however, they might, for a change, lend their eloquence to the failures of the Conservative Government: the petrol crisis; hard Brexit; poor relations with neighbours; poor defence policy; winter fuel poverty. I'll stop there but you can catch my drift.

Ken Mackay, Glasgow.


“BROWN-HOG day”, it’s been called; the promotion of Gordon Brown as a bulwark against Scottish self-government, often by the same commentators and politicians who traduced him when he was PM ("Starmer vows Scotland unity as key speech faces heckles", The Herald, September 30).

Forget his waffling assertions in 2014, and ask what he wants us to believe now. In 2017 he was calling for “sweeping new powers” for Holyrood after Brexit, as the UK became a “federal” country. Never happened because no one agreed with him, including in his own party. What do Anas Sarwar, Ian Murray or Sir Keir Starmer believe in? If Labour has no Scottish policy seven years after the referendum, how will a Commission help? Will it report in time for Indyref2 in two or three years – or is it just a “kick the can down the road” thing?

How is it possible for Labour to even get elected? How would it get a major constitutional bill through both Houses of Parliament? Would a Labour government give this any priority? Will Scotland get a vote on it? If we do, will there be other options?

More questions (many more) than answers, and it seems more like deflection than serious proposals.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I'VE never commented on political issues before, but Peter A Russell's letter (September 29) defies belief. I had to laugh when I saw his reference to "Project Fear" and "Project Fact" being replaced by his own "Project Fiddlesticks". A blind man running for his life could see that the UK leaving the EU was the donning of a millstone around the neck, while Scotland's departure from the UK is the shedding of the same millstone.

George F Campbell, Glasgow.


PETER Dryburgh’s comment that the UK would effectively cease to exist if Scotland were independent (Letters, September 30) is, in my view, inaccurate. The kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were effectively united in March 1603 when James VI became James I of England and Ireland. The parliaments were only united in 1801. If Scotland becomes an independent country in terms similar to those set out prior to the independence referendum in 2014 then the two kingdoms and what remains of the third will still be united under the reigning monarch at the time.

Mr Dryburgh suggests that Wales and Northern Ireland are in a union with the UK, rather than with England. In the case of Wales there is no reference to that country in the Acts of Union. Wales is therefore part of the Kingdom of England. Northern Ireland (as remaining part of the Kingdom of Ireland) has been in a union with the Kingdom of Great Britain since 1801.

Should Scotland gain independence then the UK will cease to exist as a political entity and as sovereign state. It is open to debate as to whether or not England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be treated as the successor state to what was the UK, or whether the two new states will both be treated as successor states, with assets, liabilities, agreements and other commitments shared equitably between the two sovereign states.

As Mr Dryburgh has suggested, leaving (or breaking up) the United Kingdom will be a more complex task than leaving the European Union.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


WE seem to have become a nation of whiners and spoilt children. The furlough scheme certainly was of huge benefit to many but a side-effect is that it has shielded many from facing up to the truth.

The virus has changed many facets of daily living:

* If we are serious about climate change, we will be flying less, hence a change in the job market in that industry.

* I suspect car buying has changed for ever with the ability to "buy and try" from one's home, with a decreased need for car showrooms.

* If working from home becomes an increasing phenomenon this has implications for our public transport system with fewer buses and trains; fewer cafes, restaurants and small shops in city centres with a lower footfall; and a change in household costs with increased house insurance if working from home but reduced travel costs; an increased demand and need for good quality, reasonably costed internet connection.

Just as the mobile has led to a decrease in landline usage, cameras and more, so we are entering a new age with new demands and new opportunities like an increased need for HGV drivers. If we are to move on and take advantage of the changes then we will have to adapt in many ways – some difficult and not of our first choice.

The world of today is vastly different from that of my childhood, but my generation adapted. The world of our grandchildren, I suggest will also be very different in travel, clothing, work and leisure. The time to adapt and change is now, instead of saying one thing on social media and sticking our head in the sand as to the practical implications for our lives now.

The furlough scheme provided a great, if expensive, cushion. Let's grab the future positively with both hands.

James Watson, Dunbar.

Read more: Could the SNP Government possibly be any more inept?