SO the constitutional debate has restarted ("Independence ‘would make English trade challenging’", The Herald, June 15). Independence is the “wrong priority” say the Tories, as their priority is not dealing with the cost of living, inflation or the energy crisis, but to break international law and edge toward a trade war with the EU. The Labour Party is in the process of enlarging the membership of the Welsh Senate and holding a multi-party Constitutional Commission examining the future of Wales (including independence) – “politics of the past”, Mr Sarwar?

Iain Macwhirter ("Plan that ignores the B-word is surely doomed to failure", The Herald June 15) is correct; independence will lead to a border at Carlisle, with similar impositions on trade as exists between the EU and UK at present. However, that boundary is effectively an open border, as Jacob Rees-Mogg admits adopting post-Brexit checks would be an “act of self-harm”.

England has a large trade surplus with Scotland, though its imports from us are of high value to its internal economy. Would England be willing to damage that trade? Impose tariffs on oil, gas, electricity and food and drink (all of which would readily find new markets in these uncomfortable times)? I hope the independence debate we have is both honest, wide-ranging, and looks at both sides of each issue.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


FROM Nicola Sturgeon's announcement we can see that there would inevitably be a hard border between England and Scotland, with passport controls and customs posts. The border has at least 20 crossing points for road traffic – will checks only be implemented on the major roads, or on all of them?

Presumably we can expect long queues of lorries and cars on all the major crossing points? Perhaps the problem will not be as serious as that experienced at cross-Channel ports, but it will still add stress unnecessarily to journeys for all road users, especially road haulage and other commercial vehicles.

On the plus side such a change will, of course, create job opportunities for more Customs and Excise officers and passport controllers.

But on a more serious note it should be remembered that the UK has been a successful political union for more than 300 years – therefore why should we have to tolerate the eccentricities of this SNP minority administration?

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.


WHENEVER the suggestion of Scotland regaining its independence is discussed, several lopsided arguments against it are raised and Guy Stenhouse ("Let’s have fantasy not fibs over independence push", The Herald, June 15) repeats some of them.

He mentions the "absurdly biased question" of the referendum and then proposed an even more biased question referring to "leaving the United Kingdom".

Like many other critics, he seems to believe that, because successive UK governments have operated National Insurance as a Ponzi scheme rather investing the tax and ring-fencing it, there would be no obligation to honour commitments to contributors.

He goes on to state that Scotland would have to shoulder a share of the national debt but omits to say that it would also be entitled to a share of the national assets.

Until there has been an unbiased analysis of UK assets and liabilities, free from the prejudices of pseudo-independent think tanks, statements about an independent Scotland's viability will remain mere speculation.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.

* IN his usual fashion Guy Stenhouse dismisses the economics of independence as SNP fantasy. He highlights two issues as examples: 1, continuity of pension payments and 2, the UK's outstanding debt.

In the first case he states that no pension payments will be made to Scottish citizens by the current UK Government post-independence as, contrary to public belief, "NI contributions are not put away in a piggy bank for when we grow old".

In the second case he states that, while the UK has previously accepted that it is solely responsible for the national debt, Scotland will be "embarrassed" into accepting its share.

So, post-independence, the UK Government will renege on the continuing payment of existing, and new, pensions, contributions for which will have been made for years by many. He claims this despite the fact that the current UK Government website headed "National Insurance" states "National Insurance contributions count towards the basic state pension, additional state pension and new state pension". At the same time he claims that Scotland will be expected to honour the proportion of outstanding debt which the Bank of England calculates as due.

And he has the nerve to state that "Kate Forbes seems clueless on economics".

Stewart Keir, Torphins.


I NOTE on your Letters Pages today (June 15) the usual linking of the competence or otherwise of the SNP Government with the questions of could and should Scotland be independent. Even the answers to those could be different.

Why is this assumed to be so? Is there not enough talent to run Scotland as an independent country?

Here are my answers, which are just as valid as anything Nicola Sturgeon could say – she may not be elected.

We will have a currency. We will have a tax and spend regime. We will have a borders policy. We will have our own central bank. Very few, if any, countries have failed to solve these problems on independence. Is there something uniquely bad about Scotland?

As to Nato, EU membership and nuclear weapons, that will be up to the Scottish people to decide upon independence. We won't at least have these decisions made for us by someone else.

Iain Cope, Glasgow.


SEEMINGLY desperate to fend off criticism from dyed-in-the-wool separatists for her failure to deliver Indyref2, let alone independence, Nicola Sturgeon plans to kick off her new campaign by producing a few papers – the first being along the lines of "there are some fab wee countries out there and if only Scotland maybe became a bit like one of them one day, that would be lovely".

Ms Sturgeon has more or less made clear she won't cling on to power beyond this parliamentary term, so how can she make it seem her political career hasn't ended in failure by not separating Scotland from the rest of the UK? Boris Johnson has confirmed there will be no Section 30 order permitting another referendum and Ms Sturgeon won't risk a Catalan-style vote, unrecognised by the UK, the UN and EU. So why doesn't she cut to the chase now and force the matter to be determined in the UK Supreme Court – ultimately the only process likely to end the debate over whether the SNP administration can stage a legal referendum? Or has she already been advised she would probably lose in court? Is she willing to go down this cul de sac so she won't lose face and can say "I failed but I tried?"

By supposedly building her case now, she presumably wants to appear to put her back into an independence crusade – yet the reality is the opposite. Churning out documents with finger-in-the-air guesstimates about the shape of a hypothetically-independent country is easy – the SNP was great at this in 2014 and that got it nowhere. Achieving the ability to hold a referendum next year with a result the UK and thus the rest of the world recognise is significantly harder.

I suspect Scottish separatists have many years to wait for Indyref2 – and, despite the usual SNP spin, I more than suspect a certain occupant of Bute House knows it full well too.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

* IT is not even necessary to open the SNP’s updated prospectus for independence. The cover graphics says it all. It is full of wind.

Norman McNab, Killearn.


ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, June 15) bemoans devolution as the worst decision in Scottish history. Here are a few contenders: Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Boris Johnson, the plunder of Scottish oil, the Falklands War, the Iraq War, the poll tax, Trident, austerity, ill-treatment of refugees.

That's only recent history. All of these decisions were made for us by Westminster governments that we in Scotland didn't elect.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs

Read more: This ship has sailed. There is no new case for independence