KEVIN McKenna ("It's possible to hate the SNP and back independence", The Herald, May 9) is spot on. But he delivers a stinging blow to the would-be pretenders to the throne that the nationalists have held for 15 years. Labour has to find a leader in Scotland "who can make a mature contribution to the constitutional debate".

I do like the energy and hope Anas Sarwar has brought us, but the simple fact is many Labour supporters moved to the SNP because they want self-determination for our country. It seems Mr Sarwar doesn't recognise that, and is happy to go along with the "stick with the Union" policy of Labour HQ in England. This at a time when Wales is also considering a split from Westminster and when there's been a seismic shift in Northern Ireland politics with the success of Sinn Fein, which may, some way down the track, lead to a united Ireland.

Where does that leave Scotland? Stuck with England, but still not fully in control of its own affairs?

We have different values and priorities. Our reaction to immigration, refugees and asylum seekers, for instance, is poles apart.

I know Conservatives in Scotland will probably never alter their stance, but their numbers north of the Border are low; LibDems have an independent spirit in many respects (think the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland 30 years ago) so there's hope there. Labour? When it dominated Scotland for decades it seemed the policies were to win the best for the country. Margaret Thatcher destroyed a lot of that in the 1980s and the effects lasted a long time. Since then, the Labour fight with Westminster has slowly disappeared.

And the party in Scotland still doesn't understand what it has to do – campaign for Scottish independence, even if it means a split with English colleagues. The suggestion has been seen as a joke, because of the SNP. How times have changed.

The message to Scots of all political persuasions is simple. Independence doesn't necessarily mean an SNP government. Any party in Scotland, except perhaps the Tories, could win what would be a fascinating election. And we as voters would have a bigger say in making a better Scotland.

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.


IT is sad to read letters using the results of local elections as some sort of warped support for the continuation of the Union (Letters, May 9).

A growing number of Scots including myself are unhappy about how the UK is run. The fact that Westminster is belatedly promising “levelling up” confirms that even they appreciate that the levels of inequality inherent in UK society are a threat to the social order and class system they have promoted and protected for centuries. It doesn’t take a PhD in history to be aware that UK society has been London-centric for centuries and it is obvious to anyone that the problems that Scotland has endured for decades are mirrored in other parts of the UK such as Northern England and Wales.

Simple mathematics dictates that Scotland will never get the government it wants at Westminster. After the SNP being in power at Holyrood for 15 years and despite a mainstream media that is almost universally critical and unsupportive of it, the fact that in the local elections the SNP increased the number of its councillors would in any other country be considered remarkable and given the respect it deserves.

I vote SNP not because I agree with all of the legislation it introduces but simply because it is the only party to offer the chance of an independent Scotland. The voting pattern last week demonstrates clearly that many others are beginning to see the light. Let's fix Scotland – but we can't do it while England won't let us.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


WE’VE had a run of upheaval and we aren’t through. Brexit, Covid, Ukraine. What’s next? Who knows? But one thing is clear: in the past two years, the world has changed dramatically.

Security is a basic human need. Sometimes, we have no control over events that bring insecurity and danger but sometimes we gamble our security for strong-minded whims, and we have to bear the responsibility. Scottish independence is one such whim. If we pursue this headstrong course, we risk massive insecurity financially and even physically. In a dangerous world where we can’t take freedom, security or prosperity for granted, it would be madness to bluff ourselves that an independent Scotland could be better off.

Consider the Covid crisis: independent rules in Scotland didn’t help as we are clearly seeing right now, but despite much criticism, Westminster got the big thing right and secured vaccine stocks well ahead of the rest of Europe and we benefited from this along with the rest of the UK. Consider the current crisis in Ukraine. Who would have believed this could happen in the 21st century? But unity is strength. An independent Scotland at a time of such insecurity would weaken Nato and we would do well to admit it poses a greater risk for Scotland than any other country.

Why not focus our energies on the core common goals of security, care of the people and prosperity? The alternative is insecurity at every level.

Ian Paynter, Glasgow.


ALLAN Sutherland (Letters, May 9) tells us that “only one in seven of Scotland’s 4.3 million voters” supported the SNP. That is a mistake. Voters are people who vote: people who do not vote although they are on the electoral roll do not enter into any equation at all. If they did not support the SNP, no more did they support the Tories, Labour, the LibDems or the Monster Raving Loony Party; and their actual thoughts on the various parties, if they have any, cannot be taken into account since they have not expressed them.

Since one of last year’s major publishing events was the appearance of Alastair Gray’s new translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, I am moved to recall that Dante’s first encounter in his journey through the afterlife is with a howling mob of lost souls doomed to spend eternity racing frantically round the outskirts of Hell, goaded on by stinging wasps and hornets, in pursuit of a banner bearing no device. These are people who in life were apathetic, refusing to exert themselves for any cause whether worthy or unworthy, and hence are now rejected by both God and Satan. Non-voters, take note.

Derrick McClure, Aberdeen.

* THE STV-PR elections have delivered what the voters wanted.

Contrary to Alistair Campbell's statement (Letters, May 9), there were no "undecided" results. Perhaps Mr Campbell regrets that only in one city is there single-party majority control. But the voters got what they voted for.

If the voters had wanted single-party majority control in their local council, they could have voted for that. But, with one

exception, they didn't. The people have spoken and STV-PR has reflected their wishes fairly in local representation.

James Gilmour, Edinburgh.


WHILE I would like to think that I have never had too many illusions concerning the capacity of politicians to be economical with the truth and for deceit, the current Westminster Government plumbs new depths. The latest expression of its mendacity concerns the Northern Ireland Protocol and its belief that it should be renegotiated or set aside. This after election campaigns and rhetoric about "getting Brexit done" and "oven-ready Brexit deals".

The pros and cons of EU membership have been exhaustively debated over many years. It might not be fanciful to say that other momentous debates in British political history, such as abolition of the Corn Laws in the 19th century, free trade at the turn of the 20th century and appeasement in the 1930s, did not receive as thorough an airing. The consequences of withdrawing must have been clear to all, especially its proponents. This is even more the case with the advocates of the hard, inflexible withdrawal which eventually occurred. This of course includes the DUP.

The Tories will seek to justify their approach as standing up to unreasonable foreigners, defence of the Good Friday Agreement and the integrity of the United Kingdom and maximising the benefits of Brexit. They will in other words seek to misrepresent the real issues at stake and divert responsibility for their disastrous policy onto others.

If the Johnson Government lives up to its bluster and arbitrarily ditches an openly negotiated agreement it will be the latest example of its contempt for law, institutions and democratic processes. For Scots it will raise once again, and in a sharp way, the question of whether they are content to be associated with a state and government of this nature.

Brian Harvey, Hamilton.

* HOW much do the five Northern Ireland pro-UK parties really believe in unionism when they cannot even unite among themselves and thereby hand the baton to Sinn Fein? A house divided cannot stand – have they not read Mark 3:25? They deserve whatever befalls them from now on.

John Birkett, St Andrews.

Read more: Council results show Yes will lose, so let's have indyref now