DOUGLAS Ross wishes to demolish the “yellow wall”, though by what means isn’t explained ("Sturgeon accused as Tory leader in threat to target ‘Yellow Wall’", The Herald, October 4). Mark Smith ("Can the Tories’ working-class attack on the SNP really work?", The Herald, October 4) comments on this, and it is worth expanding on his thoughts.

Mr Smith references “Thatcher” as the big Scottish Tory problem, but the Thatcher-era Secretary of State for Scotland was George Younger. Younger fought to keep steel making in Scotland. He fought to make Prestwick the main cargo hub in the UK, an eminently sensible idea. That he lost to vested southern interests (Heathrow) isn’t the issue.

Contrast him with the present and previous Secretaries of State, Alister Jack and David Mundell. Like Scottish Tory MPs in general, they simply do not fight on any issue for what used to be called the “Scottish Interest”. That is the problem for Mr Ross; not “class”.

Add to that the advancement of an oligarch like Malcolm Offord, a man who apparently believes in cutting state expenditure by one-third ("Ross claims donor’s ‘business experience’ prepares him for Government role", The Herald, October 4), and it seems the Scottish Tories are more in tune with the 1920s than the 2020s. I do not regard “nationalism” as a real issue in Scotland, but if it were, then Mr Ross should be aware that “Scottish nationalism” would always be preferred over “British nationalism”(which dare not speak its name).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


IT constantly amazes me – but why should it? – that politicians can twist the truth any which way they want. In the row over Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner’s comments regarding “Tory scum”, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives suggests at the Tory conference she was referring to the voters ("Sturgeon accused as Ross vows 'to stop nationalism for good", The Herald, October 4) and describes them as “normal Scots looking for a party that can stand up to the SNP. They are people like me, my family and my community.”

Douglas Ross says: “These voters aren’t as Angela Rayner would say ‘vile’. They aren’t ‘nasty'. They aren’t ‘scum’.

Ms Rayner was reported as saying: "We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute pile of banana republic, vile, nasty, Etonian, posh... piece of scum.” Some quote that! But the fact is she wasn’t talking about the voters, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his party.

So why is Mr Ross allowed to make false accusations and see them reported without any debate?

Is he simply following his leader and learning the best way forward is to continue to tell untruths because voters don’t know any better? And would he tell himself that’s what “normal Scots” would expect?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


ON one hand it is encouraging that Peter Russell’s proposal for a new Act of Union would include the right of one nation to "withdraw" unilaterally (Letters, October 4). It is though telling that the requirements he would impose for that nation to do so are not the traditional requirements of the UK polity. The tradition in the UK, which has been used in every election with the exception of the Scottish Assembly referendum in 1978, has been “one vote is enough”.

Philosophically I can understand Mr Russell’s point, but does he not recognise that if there is to be such a rupture in UK tradition that there is some onus on him to justify this? Political expedience wrapped up in philosophical principle is not a justification for abandoning tradition.

I would say Brexit was a major change, but had it come to it, one vote would have been enough. Brexit, as Mr Russell says, might have been a debacle, and like him I consider it a terrible act, but it is the tradition of how the UK does politics.

Perhaps mindful of this, the majority requirements he cites are from other than the UK: Switzerland and the United States. The former is particularly interesting, since what he means (but does not make clear) is that for a proposition to pass, there must be a national majority but also a majority of Cantons (double majority). Applied to the UK, Brexit would never have happened as two "cantons" – Scotland and Northern Ireland – voted Remain, so denying the double majority that would have been required, had this been the UK tradition. Politically that would have been most interesting in the UK but would be accepted in Switzerland as part of their political tradition.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


I WOULD like to thank Ruth Marr (Letters, October 4) for her response to my letter of October 1. However, in doing so I fear all she has done is confirm the two main problems the independence movement suffers from: preaching only to the choir and deflecting away from the failures of the SNP.

Ms Marr is absolutely right when she notes it is up to the unionists to make the case for the Union. What she and many of her fellow independence supporters fail to understand, and the point I was making, is that a similar burden rests on them to show why independence is better than the status quo. They failed to do this in 2014 and need to convince people like me who voted against independence that it is worth it.

I should point out that by Ms Marr’s own logic this should be simple. If it is better then it should be easy to list the places where Holyrood is better. Instead, the list of failings from both governments is staggering. While I am old enough to remember a time when the SNP was not in power at Holyrood, people currently reaching voting age are not. And they are much more likely to know who is in charge of what in Scotland and who to blame.

As for her reference to Brexit, it should be noted that while Scots may not like Brexit, that does not mean they want to vote for independence to escape it. Support for independence did not increase after the Brexit vote; it has not increased much in the years since. In fact, the only time support got above 50% for any length of time was when the SNP stopped talking about independence to deal with the pandemic. Food for thought there.

John Shanks, Glasgow.


RUTH Marr states the untruth which she frequently peddles, about "crucial decisions affecting Scotland which are made at Westminster by a government Scotland did not elect". As Ms Marr knows only too well, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has only one main government, democratically elected, and it is up to us to vote as we see fit when a General Election takes place; then she states that "we are currently suffering the consequences of being dragged out of the European Union by a Tory government". As Ms Marr knows, we were dragged out of Europe because the majority of our population voted to do just that – not just against a healthy "no" vote from Scotland, but also many other areas of the UK, including London and its surrounding areas. Lastly she states "independence is normal for almost every other country in the world". Scotland is a normal country, and part of the United Kingdom, and therefore independent.

I do not know if Ms Marr has read Ian R Hamilton's book, No Stone Unturned, retelling the theft of the Stone of Destiny, but that gentleman – a strong nationalist – makes a fascinating statement as part of his introduction to his book: "If we do not solve the problem of Scottish government, people less moderate than we are will sweep us aside and make of Scotland another Ireland. Our fight is not for separation, but for a better Union, and as such we conceive it to be the concern of every one in the United Kingdom, whether he be Welsh or Irish, Scottish or English."

Walter Paul, Glasgow.


BRIAN Taylor implies that anything north of Hadrian’s Wall is part of Scotland (“Why Scottish Labour needs Starmer to help it shed ‘branch office’ tag”, The Herald, October 2), and lots of other writers equate the Scottish/English border with Hadrian’s Wall. It would be a good idea if we made this a fact by annexing the north of Northumberland to Scotland. The countryside is beautiful, the towns lively, and the people are friendly. This would help to "level up" the size of Scotland compared to England, and probably reduce the demand for Scottish independence.

Helen Ross, Bridge of Allan.


I WELCOME Michael Sheridan’s response (Letters, October 4) to Neil Mackay’s call that we should “do better” in the constitutional debate.

Some of my best friends are adherents to the SNP cause. They are of course mistaken. But they’re still my best friends.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Read more: Keep tribalised blindness out of the Scottish independence debate