I’M sure delegates at the Tory conference will have been suitably electrified by the Prime Minister’s promises of wonderful times ahead for the UK ("Johnson ‘is in a parallel universe’ backlash after gag-strewn speech", The Herald, October 8). How long will they be able to delude themselves, I ask myself? Under Tory rule the UK has reached a breathtaking peak of ideological self-delusion. The stupidity of Brexit is denied at every turn as the country struggles to find enough people to keep basic services going.

On a more personal level, I've just heard from a friend in Germany that he received a book I sent him. We’ve been exchanging the occasional gift for more than 40 years now. Not only did the book take twice as long to reach him as it did before Brexit, but he had to collect it from the sorting office and pay €14 customs charges. The value of the item on the customs declaration form was £40. If this is how Brexit can affect a private individual, what is it like for those who are trying to export to EU countries?

All this could have been avoided by the UK leaving the EU but remaining in the single market and customs union. It has now become equally obvious that lack of freedom of movement of people has landed the UK with its huge labour shortage. Expect more special work visas to be issued as the truth begins to bite in many sectors of the economy.

It’s the denials which I find bizarre. Anyone with half a brain can see that Brexit has been bad news for the UK. We’ve treated our European allies like dirt, created major difficulties for UK export businesses, damaged the lives of UK citizens settled in EU countries (and the opposite), got into yet another mess with Northern Ireland, and shown Britain to be untrustworthy when it comes to signed agreements.

I’m still waiting for some honest reservations to be uttered by those who voted Leave, even if pride prevents them from offering the actual apology that we Remainers deserve.

Dave Stewart, Glasgow.


ROBERT IG Scott (Letters, October 6) asks “what benefits would Scotland derive from the SNP’s dream of independence?”. It is a simple question requiring a voluminous answer and to simplify the answer, I say look at similar-sized countries of Europe and elsewhere. Naturally SNP supporters wish to see Scotland become independent, but there are many voters from other parties who also support independence and will vote accordingly when the time comes.

The Little Englander view of the UK is somewhat inward-looking as it is not only the UK which is multi-cultural but the wider world. Look beyond UK borders and blue passports and have faith in your fellow Scots to make a go of things.

Independence would change everything and give the people some hope from the real mess created under successive Westminster governments over a long period of time. More of the same is our future right now and how much better to “take back control” and run ourselves with a government chosen from parties standing only in Scotland; whether that be SNP, Conservative, Labour or from other newly-formed parties. In Scotland’s past history lies our future.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


ROBERT IG Scott would like the Scotland/England border to be consigned to the history books with the UK retained in its present form for ever more. He fails to share his attitude to Brexit through which the voters south of that border in his beloved UK have imposed a border at the English Channel and another across the island of Ireland, casting us adrift from our fellow Europeans and endangering both the hard-won peace settlement in Ireland and the fellowship among the major European nations which the EU had brought about.

The EU was as precious to me and millions of others as the UK is to Mr Scott.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


ROBERT IG Scott asks what benefits Scotland would derive from restoring its independence. Let’s start with the most obvious. It would give us a government that is directly accountable to the people of Scotland, meaning we would no longer suffer rule by a government we didn’t vote for, and haven’t, since 1955.

Second, it would give us control over our economy. We would be able to set our own interest rates and make tax, spending and investment decisions for the benefit of Scotland, not England. We could keep our money and not have to send half to Westminster. We could eliminate poverty, raise the miserly state pension, invest in health, education, social care and a greener economy, creating millions of good well-paid jobs.

Third, it would give us control over our considerable natural resources – oil, renewables, forestry, fishing, and land. Had we managed our oil ourselves, we could have created a sovereign wealth fund, as Norway did, to secure the future of generations of Scots. We can’t allow Westminster to steal our renewables and water as climate change accelerates.

Fourth, independence means we could make our own foreign policy, and not be ripped from the world’s largest free trading bloc against our will. We could manage our defence at a much lower cost and remove weapons of mass destruction from our soil. We could sign international agreements like the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child without being slapped down for exceeding our authority.

The benefits of reclaiming our sovereignty are overwhelming. Let's get on with it.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


FRASER Grant (Letters, October 8) refers to the May Scottish Parliament election results and how the fact that the SNP won 62 seats as against only 11 by the other parties and says that provides a clear mandate for Indyref2.

While these statistics are accurate, further examination shows that the 62 seats were won with 47.7 per cent of the total votes cast in the constituency vote. The SNP won 40.34% of the total votes cast in the regional vote and of the combined votes cast in both elements of the election the SNP won 44.02% of the total. While this shows strong support for the SNP it clearly does not demonstrate a clear mandate for Indyref2.

Simply repeating the claim "we have a clear cast-iron mandate for Indyref2" does not make it become true.

James Hamilton, Glasgow.


WHILE I sympathise with Jill Stephenson's frustration with the distortion caused by leading referendum questions (Letters, October 6) I fear that her well-meaning intention to rebalance a second referendum question for it to say "‘Should Scotland remain in the UK? Yes or No" would have unforeseen repercussions.

Indyref2 is often spoken about as a simple repeat of Indyref1 and most ordinary people who don't follow the exact minutiae of politics would assume the same and look at it in the context of their last vote on the same subject. For No to become Yes and Yes to become No would only confuse people. I can well imagine tens of thousands of people thinking that they were reaffirming support for the same thing as they did last time – or registering that they've changed their mind from last time – only to realise afterwards that they were actually voting for the exact opposite of what they wanted.

I agree with Ms Stephenson that the pro-nationalist phrasing of the 2014 vote was unfair, but we have to play the hand we've been dealt – to change could actually skew results even further. If there is to be a second referendum, and if it is to have a "Yes/No" question, it will have to be the same one as last time.

Ideally though the least ambiguous answers should be statements of what would actually happen. Accepting that "Remain/Leave" has been contaminated by the Brexit debate and cannot be used, "Union/Separation" (not "independence", as like "Yes" it prejudices a misleading positive bias from other contexts, such as your kids moving out) would be more direct and less judgemental than "Yes/No".

Robert Frazer, Dundee.

* FOLLOWING on from the contribution from Peter A Russell (Letters, October 7) I propose the referendum ballot paper should consist of two boxes: one marked “Independence” and the other marked “Dependence”.

The latter seems to be a good description of the state most supporters of the status quo consider Scotland to be in.

This should overcome the “Yes bias” issue to everyone’s satisfaction.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.


I ALWAYS enjoy the political ding-dong on your Letters Pages: the Tories criticising everything about Scotland, loathing the SNP, and now those dreadful Greens too, and the independence supporters hitting back with their forceful responses.

The saddest letters are from Labour supporters. Normally older and male, these contributors seem to live in the past and can't accept that Labour are now irrelevant to younger Scots. As for the LibDems, who?

Keep up the good work.

Douglas Morrison, Drymen.