I TIRE of the same old claptrap being trotted out about independence for Scotland. OK, if the unionists want us to stay part of the UK, what are they going to do about the myriad problems currently bighting the UK?

Let’s start with who governs the UK, because it sure isn’t Westminster. The Westminster pantomime may involve elected MPs but they are puppets controlled by two major parties who are in reality two sides of the same coin who are in turn, as Nadine Dorries so kindly confirmed us, controlled by sponsors via their donations. The Palace of Westminster isn’t controlled by the electorate but by the Establishment via the City of London, that small autonomous part of the UK that has its own rules, its own laws and police force and acts as a repository for the Establishment’s wealth that can be ferreted away legally in jurisdictions of secrecy in tax havens. This allows the rich legally to avoid being taxed on unearned income unlike your and my wages. The revolving door between Westminster, the civil service and the financial sector ensures that the rich win and the electorate lose as those who formulate the rules end up advising how to circumvent them. How can you possibly have an ex-banker multi-millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer who gets richer while his policies penalise the workers? What are they going to do about a system that allows a proven self-confessed liar who has been sacked at least twice for lying to remain as Prime Minister?

What are they going to do about the fact that the Westminster drones have decided that “levelling up" is required but still focus capital expenditure on the south-east of England? What are they going to do about Brexit when every economic indicator clearly demonstrates that it is destroying the UK economy? What are they going to do about our privatised energy suppliers who are gouging huge profits out of the UK? What are they going to do about the mess that successive UK administrations have made of North Sea oil that has seen colossal differences in how Norway and the UK have dealt with the multinationals, differences which sees every Norwegian citizen effectively a millionaire because of their Sovereign Wealth Fund while UK citizens collectively owe £2trillion? What do they propose to do about the creeping privatisation of the NHS which sees the deliberate reduction in the quality and availability of NHS treatment?

If unionists fix these and other gaping self-inflicted wounds in how the UK is run there wouldn’t be any need for self-determination for Scotland, but all we hear from them is how the SNP is making a mess of things while Westminster is literally destroying the UK.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


THE recent Scottish Government paper, Independence in the modern world… in its conclusions gives fair warning that Scotland "could not be transformed to match the success of the comparator countries overnight” and "independence by itself will not guarantee improved performance”.

This is eerily reminiscent of the promise given to the Scottish people in the 1690s when Scotland set out to establish overseas territories separately from and in potential competition with the rest of the then united kingdom of Scotland, England and Wales. That promise was noted in a popular song of the time, as follows:

Solomon sent afar for Gold

Let us do now as he did of old

Wait but three years, for a Hundred fold

Of Riches and all Pleasures

However these promised Riches and Pleasures turned out to be the virtual bankruptcy and the real extinction of the Scottish political state. It is not necessarily the case that the fate of the Darien Scheme would revisit an independent Scottish state in the 21st century as there are significant differences in the modern world. However, the similarities in the situation seem much greater and we must examine carefully the potential outcome as demonstrated by the best working model which we have available to study.

If the economic prospect is an important issue in our constitutional debate then we need to see detailed, objective and reliable studies as to what would be the likely state of Scotland in the short and medium and longer terms after separation from the UK and before the promised transformation and improved performance are likely to take place, be it “three years” or longer, and also if the improvement which is admittedly not guaranteed did not in fact take place at all. The Scottish Government’s independence papers will amount to very little if they do not address these issues.

Michael Sheridan, Glasgow.


JOHN Shanks (Letters, June 17) misunderstands my comments on “open” borders (Letters, June 16). I stated that there would be a border at Carlisle and that it would impose the same trade barrier as exists between the EU and UK at present. The example I gave was that of Jacob Rees-Mogg not enforcing post-Brexit checks on imports, right now, as it would save £1 billion a year and would be “an act of self-harm”. The point I was making was that trade flows both ways, and “acts of self-harm” would be avoidable if politicians acted in negotiations to enhance trade rather than impede it, and that England has a lot to lose as well as Scotland.

I am assuming Scotland would join the EU; my own minority preference is for Scotland to join the European Free Trade Association and trade though the European Economic Area, rendering concerns of an Anglo-Scottish border moot.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


I SEEM to remember that just over a year ago during the campaign for the Scottish Parliament elections, a commitment was made that, Covid permitting, an independence referendum would be held in the first half of the next parliamentary term; the party which made that promise was decisively returned to Holyrood to govern for a fourth consecutive term. Covid is still with us, but as most aspects of life have returned to near normality, now is the time for that referendum commitment to be honoured.

Predictably, over the past few days we've been subjected to a tsunami of bitterness and bile, a rehashed Project Fear and the relentless, depressing negativity from those who constantly talk Scotland down, and have no confidence in our nation's ability to govern itself as do most normal countries in Europe and around the world. Undoubtedly, the very same people who are expressing outrage because we are to have a referendum would be expressing outrage if we weren't, pointing fingers at the First Minister and her Government and accusing them of reneging on their promise.

However, years after we were told that Scotland could only stay in the EU if we voted No to independence, and after yet more years of suffering from a Westminster Government we never voted for and its disastrous Brexit, Scotland can now look forward to the opportunity to put Scotland's future into Scotland's hands as a forward-looking, modern, European nation. And this time Scotland, carpe diem.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


LONG ago, I wrote to a newspaper about nationality. I said it was a universal millstone overdue for the universal chuck. It actually got in.

My parents, one English and one Irish, seemed not to give a hoot about England and Ireland. My surname was Irish, and nags kept asking: "What do you see yourself as?"

I asked my parents about this and they said birthplace was a hapless fluke to be yourself in spite of; so my answer to the nags must be "unique".

Primary teachers, at least in the 1930s in Shawlands, Glasgow, said we must admire our birthplace, These teachers also gave geography lessons, often about nasty places. Would they seriously tell people born in the frozen tundra that it was terrific?

Now I am 93, and instead of letters, do the Herald crosswords, but here goes: I hope that one day, nationality will be seen for what it is, a tiresome millstone nobody needs.

In Scotland it is worse: the nationalist votes splits the opposition, and the Tories get in. Stop it.

Moyna Gardner, Glasgow.


IT’S easy to forget that our world is a dangerous place.The ongoing war in Ukraine is a reminder, but all the threats that previously existed are still very much live and dangerous, and our security forces work 24/7 to protect us from danger.

Our Government has also acted. It has banned terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas but it hasn’t dealt with the head of the Hydra, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC for short.

Iran uses this group to export terrorism all over the world. It has planned, supported and carried out attacks in Argentina, Bulgaria and the UAE and it was responsible for the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq.

What’s more, it funds and supplies arms to both Hezbollah and Hamas.

What was the point in banning those groups in the UK, if their backers in the IRGC are still allowed to operate, entirely legally, in our country?

Michael Watson, Glasgow.