I FIND that the layout of the QWERTY keyboard makes it an easy mistake to type the letters SNO when I intend to type SNP. Which is ironic at this time, since the latest “relaunch” of the SNP's independence project seems to increasingly resemble the orchestra on the Titanic, playing to keep spirits up as the ship goes down. As the Good Ship Nationalism floats aimlessly, holed below the waterline with its steering gear useless, bandleader Nicola Sturgeon waves her arms, desperately signalling the musicians to play a jaunty tune. She thinks she's conducting Ta-ra-ra-boom-dee-ay, but all that most Scots can hear is the Last Post.

As the vessel sinks it takes with it a heavy cargo of failed policies and unkept promises. Down goes Scottish education to its worst depth ever. The Scottish health service, not waving but drowning. Aluminium smelters and turbine manufacturers, paid for but nowhere to be seen. And of course Clyde and Hebrides ferry services already sunk in a maelstrom of painted windows and cardboard funnels. All around the sea is dotted with the flotsam of lost potential: student loans not abolished, council tax not abolished, class sizes of 18 not delivered, a local income tax buried in shame and secrecy, a debased civic Scotland and of course, independence referendums, endlessly promised but never delivered. The history of the Steam Ship Nationalism is a litany of destinations abandoned and harbours never reached.

Despite this latest attempt at resuscitation, it is unlikely that any referendum will take place next year. There is no new economic case, no cultural case, no legal basis and, whatever rhetorical tricks the First Minister employs to fill in the gaps, there is no new fresh argument to be made for breaking up the UK. Certainly not one based on the competence of the current regime. Not only has that ship sailed, it has comprehensively sunk with all hands.

Alex Gallagher, Largs.


NICOLA Sturgeon, flanked by her stooge Patrick Harvie, has the temerity to launch an independence work of fiction under the heading Wealthier, Happier, Fairer. She and her acolytes purposefully ignore the advice from Professor John Kay, an esteemed economist and former adviser to the First Minister, that Scotland would likely begin independence in debt to the tune of £180 billion with a requirement to borrow around £20bn per annum. So will we be “happier and fairer” with a continued widening of the attainment gap, a lower life expectancy, longer NHS waiting lists and an economic ideology mired in the past?

However the real question must be as to why, after 15 years of SNP Government, we as a nation are not already “wealthier, happier and fairer” with tax-raising powers and control over education and the NHS? I forget: that is all Westminster’s fault.

I look forward to her answering the real questions around currency, tax, our borders, Nato and EU membership, nuclear weapons and the role of the Bank of England in an independent Scotland. Until she can answer these questions with facts and authority, independence is a fantasy that will continue to divide our nation and waste our money.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


DOMESTIC crises, apparently without number, are continually ignored and instead the First Minister is announcing her latest plans on the road towards the goal of breaking up the UK. This is a continuing assurance for her zealots that one issue only gets attention until presumably even her hardcore support realise it simply ain’t going to happen. Not another item of policy or direction gets any real focus or care. Fasten seat belts for more division, more rancour, more grievance, more systemic incompetence, more grandstanding, more pretend embassies, more foul-ups, ad infinitum.

When future historians write of this period in Scottish history, devolution – which allows this mockery of governance – will surely go down as the worst decision that was ever made in the long history of this country.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


NICOLA Sturgeon is bringing out her case for independence in instalments. Why can’t we be given the full picture now? The answer to that is glaringly obvious, she needs more empty fag packets to write her plans on the back of.

The SNP has had eight years to convince Scotland that it has a currency plan, a fix the deficit plan, a plan to avoid a hard border with England, a plan to continue pension payments and more. The fact is that the general plan has never changed: “Don’t ask silly questions, just vote for us and everything will be okay.”

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.

* SO Nicola Sturgeon says it is time to talk about independence again. Can she clarify when she hasn't been talking about it, as I must have missed that 10 minutes since 2014?

Elizabeth Hands, Armadale.


“THERE will be no border down the Irish Sea – over my dead body," said Boris Johnson, August 2020 in Belfast, yet no one would dispute such a border exists. “There will be no second EU referendum," said Theresa May in July 2016 and October 2016 – yet three years later, in 2019 she was, yes, proposing a second EU referendum. So the stuff about a “once in a generation Scottish referendum” should be consigned to the same rubbish bin as these other quotes (and there are plenty more).

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I HAVE had a wonderful thought. My waiting list time for a knee replacement is now a year ahead. but just perhaps the Scottish Government will pay for private care because this is so outside the three months' waiting time previously promised. This idea is cheering but probably not feasible with costs of limousines, overseas flights and now the money preparing for a referendum.

I look around and see people in more pain and more disabled than I am. Should we all be reassured that preparations for independence take priority over the health and wellbeing of our population?

Irene McMichael, Auldgirth, Dumfriesshire.


ALISON Rowat’s consideration of a rapprochement of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon ("Prime Minister off the ropes and looking for next fight", The Herald June 13), concludes: “Even by the law of “stranger things happen” that has governed much of politics lately, that will strike most as far-fetched.” Many, including myself, might have done the same.

Mr Salmond’s trial for sexual misconduct, at which he was found not guilty on 13 counts and not proven on the other one, followed by setting up Alba with Mr Salmond as leader, seems likely to create enough animus to go a very long way, and to make Ms Rowat’s conclusion unassailable.

However, by coincidence, Arturus F Jones on Twitter ventured the view on Sunday evening that “If Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness could openly cooperate for the sake of a big cause like power sharing and the Northern Ireland peace process, I don’t see any good reason why Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond cannot do so for the sake of Scottish independence.”

And why not? After all, any quarrel between Mr Salmond and his former protégé is of much more recent origin than the disputes that scarred Northern Ireland for centuries. Paisley and McGuinness came from each side of a dispute that has political roots that go to its very origins. It would, I think, not be going too far to suggest that prior to joining each other in government as First Minister and Deputy First Minister in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive that both were not so much political opponents as political enemies.

Yet as McGuinness wrote in a tribute after Paisley’s death, they forged a relationship which “confounded many. Of course, our political differences continued; his allegiance was to Britain and mine to Ireland. But we were able to work effectively together in the interests of all our people.”

Given the significance of Scottish independence to both is it too much to expect Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon to put whatever differences they have had behind them, and to work together for independence, a cause that means so much to members of their parties, to a significant part of Scottish society and indeed, I thought, to them?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: How to stop indy in its tracks