RUTH Marr (Letters, January 26) attempts to respond to my conclusion (Letters, January 25) that there is no evidence-led case for independence by making some assertions with no evidential basis and/or no logical weight. The Act of Union is of questionable legality because there were riots in Edinburgh in 1707? An independent Scotland would be welcome in the EU because some officials and supposed opinion polls say so? Really? Methinks Ms Marr makes my case for me.

But she also misses my other point: Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of a referendum on independence and why it is a distraction from the upcoming local elections ("Sturgeon will decide Indyref timetable in ‘coming weeks’", The Herald, January 24). The people of Scotland don't want or need another referendum. They need their council well funded, not starved of the funding needed to deliver vital services. My own council is around £120 million down in the last 10 years with more to come in 2022/23. Most of these cuts come from the SNP at Holyrood.

We don't need a referendum. We need the cuts to be reversed so we can serve our people in the manner they deserve. The people of Glasgow, which has had cuts of around £500m, don't need another referendum. They need their bins emptied on a regular basis and their streets cleared of rats – and that's the minimum. If Ms Marr were to ask the residents of Stirling whether they were to choose between another referendum or more social workers and an end to bed-blocking, what response would she expect? Choose any community in any part of Scotland and the result would be the same. We don't want or need referendums. We do want improved funding to maintain and improve our local services.

The council elections need to be about local issues and local funding, not about irrelevant and divisive questions on the constitution; questions that have been asked and answered on numerous occasions and which do nothing to address the real problems that councils face in delivering vital services to our deserving communities.

Alex Gallagher, Labour councillor, Largs.


I AGREE with much of what Neil Mackay says where he worries that the left won’t support the SNP ("How can the left support the SNP Thatcher-lite indy vision?", The Herald, January 25). However, independence is so much bigger than the SNP, or any party.

Independence is a normal thing, and Scotland would survive and prosper without a shadow of a doubt, whoever was in power at Holyrood.

Post-independence all of us can vote in whichever party we decide. Different parties would make different decisions about the governance of Scotland and there would indeed be differences in the outcomes, but make no mistake, we would be very much better off than we are under a Westminster government, no matter which party was in power at Holyrood.

It’s also very likely that post-independence the Government would be a coalition of some colour and would take Scotland to new and unprecedented levels of prosperity in the years to come. Our aspiration should be to emulate Denmark, for example, rather than a UK where the current corrupt system will prevail for decades to come.

George Archibald, West Linton.


WALTER Paul (Letters, January 27) reminds Ruth Marr (Letters, January 26) "gently" that Scotland did not vote strongly in 2016 to remain in the EU as "it was a national referendum". I would remind him, not gently, but firmly, that Ms Marr's assertion is absolutely accurate as the EU vote was a UK referendum and the UK, unlike Scotland, is not a nation but a union of political jurisdictions comprising three nations and part of a fourth.

In the spirit of gentle reminders I would also point out that although "once in a generation" may have been uttered by certain SNP politicians in 2014, including Alex Salmond, whose reference to "the current political generation" is widely misquoted, there was no mention of a time limit on the ballot paper and the democratic choices of the entire Scottish nation cannot be denied on the strength of remarks made by a couple of individuals among a nation of six millions. Neither will the many young Scots who were too young to vote in 2014 be content to accept Mr Paul's view that his generation had settled the independence question for the foreseeable future. I am astounded to learn, in the week when we remember Robert Burns, that Mr Paul was unaware that the Union of 1707 was consented to by the "Parcel of Rogues in a nation" rather than by the people of Scotland.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


WALTER Paul is correct when he says democracy is about debate and ideas, but he trots out the old unionist trope that the Scottish referendum was a "once in a lifetime event". The problem with this idea is that although the referendum result in 2014 was 45 per cent for independence and 55% to remain under Westminster rule, the demand for Scottish independence has not gone away and the democratic call for a second referendum has been answered in the democratic way, in the 2019 Westminster General Election, where 48 SNP MPs were elected and at the Holyrood elections in 2021, where a majority of MSPs in favour of Scottish independence were elected.

Therefore, I put the question to Mr Paul and those who believe in democracy and rule from Westminster: just what are you so afraid of from a second Scottish referendum?

Alec Oattes, Ayr.

* THERE is absolutely no point in Walter Paul telling us, however gently, that Scotland did not vote strongly to remain in the EU, when the plain fact is that Scotland did. Mr Paul may believe that (in quotes which he will recognise) “black is white when looked at from the proper point of view” and that “Yes is but another and a neater form of no”; but, even though the present political scene may suggest otherwise, we are not living in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

I recall from many years ago a regular letter-writer who conscientiously and invariably referred to “the Scottish part of our country” and “the English part of our country”. Even people with that mindset, of whom Mr Paul appears to be one, must however acknowledge that the wishes of “the Scottish part of our country” should carry some weight; and if they are treated as of no consequence by “the English part of our country”, then the two “parts” are unlikely to remain “parts” of the same unit for very long.

Derrick McClure, Aberdeen.


NICOLA Sturgeon wants to turn Scotland into her personal fiefdom. Not content that she rules over the family-controlled political party that is the SNP, she wants to make emergency powers raised during Covid permanent ("SNP accused of ‘power grab’ in attempt to make emergency laws permanent", The Herald, January 27). Rather than making life better for Scots, the SNP just keeps nibbling away at personal freedom in search of total control.

There has been the anti-family Named Person debacle, the hypothetical thought-led Offensive Behaviour at Football Act and the illogical, badly thought-out hate crime laws. This Government wants changes in law merely to virtue-signal or to cover up its inability to make life better for Scots.

Bill Adair, Renfrewshire.


MY wife was talking to a pal who grew up in Ayr, as I did. And like me returned to Ayr possibly more by accident than design. She told my wife she did not like living in Ayr. I do like living in Ayr, albeit mismanaged as it is by a succession of poor parish pump politicians, but I just don’t like living in Scotland. Figure that.

I simply cannot thole what my country has become; divided, hateful, shabby, increasingly dependent on a public sector that we cannot afford, and subservient to a class of overpaid, unqualified people who dare to presume they have the insight, talent or hinterland to lead.

John Dunlop, Ayr.


DAVID Clark (Letters, January 27) responds to Jane Lax's letter of January 26 by stating he finds her point of view "bizarre". Could it be that despite voting for Remain Ms Lax accepts and respects the democratic outcome of a referendum? There's something not so bizarre to consider.

Laurence Wade, Ayr.

* JANE Lax is quite right to point out that the media (in all its forms and forums) should not be able to influence the removal of a Prime Minister, but equally nor should a small number of MPs be empowered to have him removed. However, that is exactly what happened when Theresa May, the PM’s predecessor, was usurped.

Francis Deigman, Erskine.

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