EDUCATION is going down the pan, jobs, freeports and new investment are going south, there's an SNP-Green fatwa on oil and gas, the care and health services are in desperate need of reform, young families can't find or afford housing, we are about to have a perverse Gender Act levered into our society – and the Labour Party is arguing the toss about devo max and fielding independence-supporting candidates ("Sarwar opposes local coalitions as Labour to play devolution card", The Herald, January 11).

Two million people voted No in 2014. No more than 1.4m have voted for a pro-UK party in the last six elections. How many of those missing 600k voters do Anas Sarwar and Sir Keir Starmer think are excited by this?

Instead of trying to woo back the people who know that if you want independence you vote SNP not Labour, how about coming up with policies to properly fix our declining, joyless, divided country?

This mess started with devolution and Labour, it should be its mission to clear it up.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

* IN announcing that there will be no pro-independence candidates standing for Labour at future elections, Anas Sarwar has demonstrated that he is content for "Scottish" Labour to remain a branch office of London Labour. Apparently, no lessons have been learned by branch manager Mr Sarwar as he contemplates his one MP in Scotland and his depleted troops at Holyrood; indeed, "Scottish" Labour suffered its worst-ever defeat at last May's Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Sarwar may have turned his back on Yes-supporting candidates, but he has proved himself to be nothing more than a yes man to his boss at Westminster.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


LIKE Neil Mackay (" Scottish Labour can change the game on independence", The Herald, January 11), I am not a member of the SNP. I was a Labour man, attracted by the egalitarian/home rule credentials expounded by people like Keir Hardie. It is ironic that Hardie would no longer be acceptable to stand as a Labour candidate.

The SNP, in spite of an almost total unionist media, repeatedly wins elections by a landslide; Labour Wales is conducting a multi-party, multi-option Constitutional Commission to examine the future for Wales (including independence); Northern Ireland may soon have a First Minister who favours a united Ireland (which Labour has promised not to oppose). Labour has a relationship with “nationalist” parties in Wales and Ireland.

In light of these events should there not be an all-party constitutional convention to examine options for the future of the UK? A Westminster government (of either party) lacking elected representation from all four jurisdictions cannot expect to maintain hegemony over the rest of us, by repeated use of a veto.

However, I do not expect such a convention to take place given the “Ostrich Tendency” prevalent among Unionists.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


WILLIAM Loneskie (Letters, January 11) asks where Scotland would be without Covid funding from London.

The answer is better off. An independent Scotland could not only have supported the economy and funded the health service but also closed our border to prevent the virus from taking hold, saving thousands of lives.

A sovereign Scotland would not have left the world’s largest free trade bloc, devastating its export economy, ending free movement, increasing prices and leading to widespread shortages.

A sovereign Scottish Parliament would not be subject to a foreign parliament systematically removing its powers.

A sovereign Scotland would not hand over its revenues to another government and then be expected to be grateful for getting back less than half of its own money.

A sovereign Scotland would not tolerate nuclear weapons on its soil nor allow the selling off of its national assets. It would have invested its oil revenues to generate wealth for all and to fund a green revolution to ensure the nation’s prosperity.

A sovereign Scotland would not be enduring a minority Westminster regime it hasn’t voted for since 1955.

Better together is Bitter Together. We’ve had enough of a Union that has ignored and systematically fleeced us.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.


ONE wonders what Maggie Chetty (Letters, January 10) thinks will happen if her proposed national convention of elected representatives ever took place. In particular, what would happen if a proposal for Ian Smith-like UDI were to carry? There would certainly be a substantial number who vote to keep the current devolved settlement: would they be condemned as "Free Staters"? Or demonised as Menshaviks and UK (that is, foreign) agents? To be serious, the precedents are not exactly propitious, are they?

A far better solution to the current impasse would be for the SNP and their fellow travellers like Ms Chetty to take the recent advice of Iain Macwhirter and to step back before their next attempt at independence. My own optimistic outlook for the New Year is that we can have answers to the legitimate questions that independence poses about the economy, currency, public expenditure, the costs of EU membership and a hard border for goods and people. And then only if these questions are answered to the satisfaction of a large majority of Scottish voters (I suggest 66 per cent) should independence be considered.

Moreover. if Ms Chetty and other optimistic nationalists were really confident of their case, they would agree with me rather than seeking a political device to enforce the will of the minority on the majority who wish to stay part of the UK.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


ANDREW Dunlop, in his article concerning the work of the Scottish Policy Foundation, which was founded to encourage the development of new political ideas ("We need ideas – not more navel-gazing over the constitution", The Herald, January 11) observes: "Scottish ideas during the 18th and 19th centuries exerted an influence disproportionate to the nation’s size." That remark reminded me of the comment made by Winston Churchill – "of all the small nations of this Earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind". There are many who believe that Scotland was given a head start in the world by its advocacy of education. In Scotland a high value was placed on the benefits accruing from education and was early in commencing to make it compulsory.

Lord Dunlop goes on to say that he finds it hard to imagine that those heady days will ever return. Certainly, so far as schooling is concerned, Scotland is clearly far short of leading the world in modern times.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


IT must have been a vestige of my strict Brethern upbringing from the distant past but suddenly a cameo from the Bible in the book of Daniel sprang to mind regarding the PM's self-immolation ("PM refuses to deny he attended No 10 lockdown party after leaked email invitation", The Herald, January 11). During Belshazzar's great feast and drinks party, a hand appears before the terrified onlookers and writes on the wall "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

David J O'Hara, Glasgow.

* WE all know the one-liner from Jaws: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”. I think Boris Johnson is going to need a bigger fridge. Regardless, though, we also all know what happened to the boat.

Patrice Fabien, Glasgow.


HAS Nicola Sturgeon no shame? During First Minister's Questions a few months ago, in response to a question from Labour leader Anas Sarwar asking what plans she had going forward for how we could live with Covid, she avoided answering in typical fashion by taking him to task for his insensitivity in talking about "living with Covid" when so many had died of the disease. Even at that time the phrase was widely used, not least by her own Health Secretary, in recognition that Covid would be with us well into the future. Now Ms Sturgeon has belatedly announced that a new strategy for "learning to live with Covid" is on its way; so, presumably the answer to Mr Sarwar's question should have been that she had not even thought about it.

Chris Smith, Inverness.

Read more: Where would Scotland be without all the Covid funding from London?