AS ever, Nicola Sturgeon and her followers are cock-a-hoop with her perceived success on Thursday ("Tories are overtaken by Labour in Scotland", The Herald, May 7). The facts are: not including Independent councillors elected, pro-independence councillors elected (SNP plus Greens): 488; pro-Union councillors elected (Con, Lab, LibDem): 583.

I believe there should be a referendum as soon as possible because there is no majority for separation and we can end this constitutional quagmire once and for all. Following seven abysmal, costly years, Nicola Sturgeon has consistently failed to offer any economic/financial/defence plans for a successful independent Scotland. Her supporters are stuck in an emotional independence, xenophobic bog.

Pro-Union votes cast v pro-separation votes in the election again show that in any referendum Ms Sturgeon will lose. She knows that, hence her procrastination.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.

* DURING the council election campaign Nicola Sturgeon urged voters to "send Boris a message” and opinion polls forecast an “astonishing” 44 per cent vote share.

In fact the SNP got a share 34% of the vote. Only 641,000 – one in seven – of Scotland's 4.3m voters voted SNP.

Scotland's "message to Boris" is independence has been eclipsed by Covid, economic crisis and war, and dogged by SNP incompetence, scandals and cover-ups. It is running out of steam and into the buffers of voter anger and apathy.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


I WAS interested in Brian Taylor’s local election analysis ("Labour up, Tories down but Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP remains firmly in first place", The Herald, May 7) and the reference to Claverhouse’s comments. Running up to the 1715 rising there was a character, the Earl of Mar, who was nicknamed Bobbin John. The reason was that he had a propensity to change his mind, politically, and was sacked by the King for his pains. He was named in the folk song Cam Ye Ower Frae France”.

It would appear that he has been reincarnated in the person of Douglas Ross, but whether he will enjoy the notoriety of a folk song remains to be seen.

Ronald H Oliver, Elie.


THE longest-running national newspaper in the world, The Herald, will no doubt like others be filled for a few days with comment and analysis following the local government elections. With the system producing so many undecided results and some independents holding a balance of power, you wish to may reflect how such democratic indecision happens.

Multi-member wards are partly to blame. Some will say that was intended when proportional representation was introduced post-devolution. To what extent party politics disrupts good local governance must be considered. How often do communities suffer due to partisan wars polarising decisions and affording a clear run by the bureaucracy?

Alistair Campbell, Howwood.


MICHAEL Settle ("Get set for fireworks as courtroom battle looms over Indyref2", The Herald, May 6) points out that the Ministerial Code does allow legal advice to be published “in exceptional circumstances”, just as Theresa May had to do when a vote of MPs in the House of Commons decided Brexit was exceptional. However, the pressure on the First Minister comes from the Information Commissioner, exercising his Freedom of Information powers. Contrasting this with Mrs May’s difficulties is inappropriate. She was obliged by a political process in the House of Commons, and while I am sure Labour and Conservative MSPs would happily seek to win a vote obliging Nicola Sturgeon to act similarly, it is equally clear that they would lose.

While it can be argued that the “break-up of Britain” is exceptional, the precedent is that “exceptional circumstances” is a political judgment, not an administrative one, and thus Mr Settle’s comparison, as it stands, just doesn’t work.

The Supreme Court, Mr Settle feels, would very likely order against an IndyRef 2 Bill. I suspect he is right and in doing so they would cite House of Commons sovereignty. They usually do. However, Mr Settle goes on to suggest that knowing this “in her heart of hearts” the First Minister would be using the process as “political theatre”. “Surely, the FM wouldn’t be so cynical as to do that, would she?”, he writes. Perhaps “cynical” is not the most appropriate word, for if it walks and talks like a politician it probably is a politician. For instance, I think we do know that pretty much no matter what Boris Johnson will not agree under any circumstances to another independence referendum, no matter what level of support it might be shown there is for it. Cynical? Him?

In his conclusion Mr Settle concludes that if the Supreme Court determined an Indyref2 Bill was unlawful “it would tell Scotland the Union was a 'prison based on legal coercion…which no democratic key can unlock'. That’s the constraining limit of devolution.” He is right, but then what? Do the Scottish people just accept their imprisonment, or look for a different route out? Perhaps it is that debate for which there is a need to fasten safety belts and watch out for ceilings?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


STEWART Falconer (Letters, May 6), states that the majority of Scots "have a reputation for being innovative, intelligent and enterprising" and have "the ability to spot a chancer from a mile away". This with reference to the UK Prime Minister.

In my humble opinion, intelligent Scots need only look as far as Holyrood to spot chancers.

Brian Bell, Kinross.


I READ in disbelief the article from Stuart Mackintosh on his seemingly brilliant plan for getting rid of our UK currency ("The smart way to a new Scots currency after independence", The Herald, May 5).

He outlines all the disastrous outcomes of ditching the pound: inflation, money leaving the country and more. All accurate so far. He then says that delaying this date would be a magical solution and stop unionist fearmongering. It's not us fearmongering, Mr Mackintosh sets out the madness all by himself. All polls show Scots want to keep the pound. A bit of respect for fellow Scots' financial sensibilities would not go amiss.

David Watson, Edinburgh.


I NOTE your article on green hydrogen ("£30m hydrogen network project aims to replace natural gas", The Herald, May 5) .

The production of green hydrogen, that is hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water using renewable energy such as electricity from wind or solar power, has a positive future but it is not a golden "get out of jail" card. It is important that readers are equally aware of the negatives and regard with a large dose of cynicism the hype associated with the term "the Hydrogen Economy".

Hydrogen would normally be burnt in air and a proportion of the oxygen atoms combine with nitrogen in the air to form NOx (highly toxic oxides of nitrogen). Unlike methane, there are no carbon atoms for the oxygen atoms to combine with, so a higher proportion combines with nitrogen to form NOx. For this reason burning hydrogen in air produces up to six times as much NOx emission as burning methane in air. There is therefore a seriously increased health risk of burning hydrogen for heating as compared to burning fossil gas. High NOx levels in our atmosphere are already a serious health issue. Burning hydrogen for industrial purposes will require very significant challenges to remove NOx emissions from the exhaust. Just as challenging as for CO2.

Using hydrogen in fuel cells eliminates the pollution problems but hydrogen has a low energy density and is very light weight and readily escapes into the upper atmosphere. For this reason it is not found naturally in high concentration on Planet Earth. It has to be produced, highly compressed and stored at extremely low temperatures so that it can be transported to where it is needed. All the required technology is available to do this but, and it is a big but, it comes at huge capital and operating cost to provide the necessary infrastructure. The so called "Hydrogen Economy" is never going to deliver cheap energy and we all need to get used to it.

Politicians need to spend more time telling the electorate the truth and determining how to protect businesses, the population and, crucially, the poor from the ever increasing energy costs of the essential carbon-free future.

Norman McNab, Killearn.