IAIN Macwhirter (“Tories turn to tax and spend, SNP to cuts. Confused? You will be…”, June 5) invites us to juxtapose Tory Government “tax and spend” policy and SNP “austerity”: what he omits from his article is that Rishi Sunak’s £15 billion giveaway was comprised of £5 billion extra tax on Scotland’s oil and gas assets, and the rest from quantitative easing – the UK Government borrowing from its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Bank of England, or by selling government bonds. Kate Forbes cannot do either.

Yes, Scotland is short of people and manufacturing, but this is due to a century of low economic growth and outward migration long before the SNP came to power. This does not excuse the concentration on socially “popular” spending, and not driving economic growth. It used to be an accepted truism that because of low population density and geographic size, Scotland required 16 per cent more funds to be level with the UK mean. Perhaps that has changed, but it is London which receives the biggest UK per capita spend, not Scotland, and that seems OK with Mr Macwhirter. The Treasury would need to open its books over a period of decades to get a proper measure of the economic reality of the UK and its component parts.

But it really is time the SNP articulated the case for independence; its aim should be to replicate the success of the many small continental countries in Europe – Scotland has all the requirements for modern prosperity. Land, water, excellent food and drink exports, energy in abundance (oil, gas, electricity which our large neighbour benefits from) and one of Europe’s best-educated populations (though you would never guess, given the endless gaslighting Scotland receives).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I READ the excellent article by Iain Macwhirter with great interest.

The way I read it, the article suggested that it was about the current Government in Holyrood and the economy. The message I got was that with things the way they are at present, independence would result in a "failed state" economically and that economic salvation would only be available if we remained part of the UK. Well that is a point of view, and I respect his point of view, and if he really believes that then he must vote against independence.

I have a slightly different view, and I worry that Mr Macwhirter (and lots of others) know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

If he doesn’t have faith in the people of Scotland to survive and prosper, with the right people in government etc in the future and so would fail, then vote No. No worries.

I do however have faith in the people of Scotland (wherever they are from) to succeed, and in due course to be much better off than at present.

Independence, and running your own affairs, is absolutely normal and would apply to any country on Earth. I fail to grasp quite why Scotland should be any different? We should be aspiring to be like Denmark or New Zealand or … take your pick, rather than put up with what we have as part of the UK. Ambition anyone?

George Archibald, West Linton.


WHY are you trying to turn The Herald on Sunday into Scotland's version of the Daily Mail? Last week's edition, where Iain Macwhirter wrote a column that was all but festooned in the Union Flag as he went on about how the terrible SNP Government led by the incompetent Nicola Sturgeon is destroying us all, that we should follow the London Tories in fiscal responsibility, was blatant unionist propaganda.

That and the impression Scotland was awash with jubilee street parties as you pictured a dozen people around a table in Edinburgh ("Flag day for capital families", June 5), and where some academic proclaimed in his mighty chin-scratched opinion that a mass exodus of Scots could emigrate to England because of Ms Sturgeon's high-tax policies (“Can science predict Scottish independence? Demography offers fascinating input on country’s future”, June 5) and the general flavour of SNP incompetence is the last straw for this long-time reader who looks to papers like yours for professional neutral journalism.

Gavin Ferguson, Coatbridge.


IN order to win a referendum SNP MP Alyn Smyth MP says the SNP may have to ditch its anti-nuclear stance to join Nato and Sir John Curtice has advised that keeping the Queen would help. They also want to keep the pound, they don't want a border with the UK, they want to be our "best friends" and they want the UK to continue paying Scotland's £8 billion pensions post-independence (they can't and they won't).

Surely the easy way to achieve all that would be to stay part of the UK?

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


ANGUS Robertson and Kate Forbes are insisting that Indyref2 will take place in 2023 – or are they? Couched in the usual SNP language of "spin" there is just enough room to wriggle out of this commitment if required.

This is exactly the problem. There is no absolute legal guarantee that this will take place yet the instant damage of such statements to Scotland's economy and the future credibility of its government will be long lasting.

Can the SNP /Green alliance please let fed-up Scots who don't want this know exactly what the consequences for the Scottish Government will be if this does not go ahead? Just walking away from this contrived situation "scot free" cannot be an option.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


THE original deadline for completing the Scottish census was May 1, but due to a poor response this was extended to May 31, then to today, June 12. This delay will cost taxpayers an extra £10 million.

It seems that wasting taxpayers' money is an SNP trait. As at May 31, 326,368 households had not completed the census and if there are similar numbers after today then there are fines of £1,000 for failing to fill in the survey. Can we therefore expect fines to be levied on at least 100,000 people, which would raise £100 million, or will the SNP Scottish Government find an excuse to fudge its responsibilities?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

* THE uncoupling of Scotland from the UK census has proved to be a costly exercise for the Scottish Government both in terms of the information being gathered and the additional costs involved. While some experts view the Scottish census as unlikely to provide a sufficiently useful level of information, it seems that the Government and its advisers are trying to put a brave face on it by saying that it will offer a "sound foundation", whatever that may mean.

With the Scottish census deadline having been extended twice to allow more people to submit returns, it remains to be seen what the extra millions of pounds spent will achieve. Useful information to allow the country to plan ahead or a white elephant?

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


THERE is one chance of negotiated peace in Ukraine, and if either side declines it then war must continue.

All the disputed regions of Ukrainian territory must decide their future by plebiscite under international scrutiny.

Four prior conditions are of absolute necessity.

All Ukrainian territory must first return to Ukrainian jurisdiction; Russian naval forces must not molest or blockade any shipping in the Black Sea and adjoining seas; Russian forces must leave Ukrainian soil; deported Ukrainians must be allowed to return and Ukrainian refugees in the West must have absent votes.

It is not lawful to hold plebiscites in unlawful conditions of invasion, atrocity, and deportation. The results would be like Russian election results and Russian presidential announcements: lies.

That is a reason to dismiss the existence of any republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Those are the conceits of gangsters. Their leaders need to take warning that the nostalgic reintroduction of judicial executions would disbar any new state from the United Nations Council of Europe. Any judicial murder of Ukrainian soldiers who fought to defend their country will result in lifelong prison without parole for these "presidents“ and any "judges“ involved.

There is no reason scrutinised and fair plebiscites should not result in new nation states or some territorial transfers from Ukraine to another jurisdiction.

Finally, undertakings from Putin and his sidekicks should not be believed. A man who cannot open his mouth without lying is not likely to keep any promises. To believe him is like believing Hitler. Ukraine must maintain a large, expensive and heavily-equipped military force for the future. Ukraine is capable of that.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.


DIABETES is a hidden condition, but the people living with diabetes should never be put to the back of the queue because of that. One in 14 of us live with diabetes and even more care for a loved one who does.

That’s why, this Diabetes Week (June13-19), we’re calling on decision makers across the UK to do more to support people living with and affected by diabetes. Let’s stand together and tell them to listen. In Scotland we welcome government funding for diabetes tech, and we’re asking that health boards roll this out as quickly as possible.

Visit diabetes.org.uk to sign up to receive the latest updates from our campaign, Diabetes Is Serious, and find out more ways you can get involved.

Angela Mitchell, director, Diabetes Scotland, Glasgow.