IT has been clear for some time that a political impasse has been reached on the question of a second independence referendum. It is also clear that this is not particularly healthy for our politics. Whether one is a supporter of independence, a supporter of the Union or undecided on Scotland's constitutional future, I think most people want to find a way forward.

The First Minister has put forward her proposals to break the impasse by holding a lawful referendum or, if this blocked, by the SNP campaigning on the single issue of whether Scotland should be an independent country at the next General Election. Other independence-supporting parties may choose to do likewise if a referendum is blocked.

There has been criticism of this position and, of course, people are perfectly entitled to criticise it. But what of the position of the UK Government and allies in the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats? In my view their position is quite simple: they believe that if they continue to say No to an independence referendum, support for independence will melt away. This has plainly not happened and there is no evidence that it will happen. Continuing with this strategy would be wishful thinking.

So, the UK Government and its allies also need to consider how to break the impasse. They must be prepared to engage in discussions and to acknowledge that the Scottish Government has a mandate to hold a second referendum. If they believe that now is not the time for a referendum, they should set out a timescale which would be more acceptable to them. This could then become the subject of a grown-up negotiation.

It is not reasonable or sustainable for them to go on refusing to engage simply because they do not want a second referendum to happen. They, as much as the Scottish Government, have a responsibility to break the political deadlock and should be challenged more often than they are on their refusal to act.

Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow.

• MARK Openshaw (Letters, July 1) suggests that there should be no independence referendum until there is a clear majority, he suggests 60%, in favour of one. He doesn’t however say how that clear majority might be established.

How about a referendum asking the public if they want a referendum?

David Clark, Tarbolton.

• DAVID J Crawford (Letters, June 30) writes: "In a democracy the common man should make the decision, end of story." The common people did make a decision in 2014 – end of story. Respect it.

Richard Gordon, Falkirk.


THE First Minister's embarrassing and angry performance in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Thursday ("FM accused of putting Indyref2 ahead of cancer treatment times", The Herald, July 1), while she tried – unsuccessfully – to answer the many questions asked of her (apart, of course, from the planted ones from her own party and the Greens), showed again that she really should resign from the Scottish Parliament immediately, and travel down south to take over from Ian Blackford, as she seems to have never-ending knowledge of all things done in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – which she uses to try to answer all questions concerning her and her party's failings over the past few years in Scotland.

She reminds me of the Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Now, we all know that Nero actually played a lyre (I am actually referring to an instrument here and not a description of anyone), and that the phrase is generally regarded as meaning that he "took little to no productive action during any crisis" – so it's spot on for this comparison to be used to describe our First Minister.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.


MANY correspondents keep warning of the dire economic consequences of Brexit to justify a new independence referendum. But just as experts rebutted premature comparisons of Scotland’s Covid “performance” versus England’s, it is surely too early to assume that Brexit’s effects will inevitably be negative.

Initial Brexit teething troubles were unsurprising, but the whole period has been dominated by Covid’s disruption, and is now exacerbated by the Putin/Patriarch rape. Even had neither occurred surely at least four years’ actual data would be needed to give any valid pre-and-post Brexit comparison. Forecasts and estimates by various experts on many topics often prove inaccurate. Nor are economics the only rationale for Brexiters any more than for SNP enthusiasts.

Both SNP and UK supporters, rather than always selecting their favourite betes-noires for condemnation, should accept that both governments often spend vast taxpayers’ sums unwisely. The SNP praises Ireland’s comparative wealth, but ignores reports that the UK helped bail out Ireland’s banks a decade ago, while its tax-haven status (criticised by the EU) distorts valid comparisons and it has long benefited from the UK’s defence umbrella, spending peanuts on its own defence (0.2% of GDP) and proclaiming its “neutrality”.

Anent Scotland’s democratic right to choose its own future, SNP supporters should acknowledge that, while the UK remains a single nation-state, it too has that right – as it exercised by voting for Brexit, albeit narrowly but including more than one million Scottish votes, due to the EU’s “thin gruel” offerings to David Cameron and Angela Merkel’s unilateral invitation into the EU to more than a million refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

John Birkett, St Andrews.


IT is perplexing that many sympathetic to the steadfast determination of the people of Ukraine, in having left a union with a domineering partner and wishing to independently govern themselves, seemingly struggle to relate to essentially the same ambition for the people of Scotland. Perhaps my Polish origins help me to recognise the inherent suppression of cultural history, economic performance and societal aspirations, when in a union primarily serving the interests of an imperious "partner" with a much larger population?

The peoples of Poland and Ukraine, along with a number of other determined countries, politically fought successfully to break free from the United Socialist Soviet Republic. The British Empire is already a distant memory for many and any thoughts around dependence on a dominant partner in a one-sided union will quickly dissipate for the people of Scotland as it did for those peoples living in countries previously governed by the United Kingdom and those living in the former USSR who did not wish to have their lives controlled by Russia.

Self-determination is also the best way forward for Scotland and the sooner most people living here come to this realisation the earlier we can build a country reflecting the shared ambitions of the vast majority. Future generations will not thank us for any further delay – now definitely is the time.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


G SWEENEY (Letters, July 1) thinks President Zelenskyy would vote No, and President Putin Yes in Indyref2. But actually, we just don’t know. I imagine Mr Zelenskyy would diplomatically say that it was not for him to interfere with UK domestic issues. And I seem to recall that, prior to the 2014 referendum, David Cameron managed to extract from Mr Putin a veiled endorsement for “better together”. Perhaps Mr Putin considered that, far from ensuring the destruction of the United Kingdom, a politically independent Scotland within the Union of the Crowns would make it very unlikely that the rest of the UK would subsequently wish to leave the European Union. As it is, we’re out, and we now have an insoluble problem across the Irish Sea.

So my guess is Mr Putin would vote No. If something’s broke, why fix it?

Dr Hamish Maclaren, Stirling.

• G SWEENEY (Letters, July 1) asserts that “Soviet Russia, and its heirs, have long sought the destruction of the United Kingdom, and thereby the fatal weakening of the western alliance and Nato. KGB officer Putin was trained to recognise the utility of the foreign 'useful idiot' – often a myopic populist or ideologue – who in sublime self-interest or ignorance cause for them the damage that bombs and tanks cannot.”

I would suggest he considers then, who are the main beneficiaries of Russian largesse?

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.


TEN days or so ago I had a consultation with my GP. He arranged for an ultrasound scan, a chest x-ray and blood samples to be taken. Around 7:15 this evening the phone went and my heart skipped a beat when the caller identified himself as my doctor. I instantly assumed, with a call at that time, something causing concerned must have been found.

"Every thing is good, nothing abnormal, apart from some fat around your liver, watch your diet."

I thanked him but asked why he had taken the time to phone me out of hours, well out of hours. "Pressure of work, has to be done," was his reply, and some people have the audacity to complain about our NHS; I give up.

George Smith, Clydebank.

GPs are working hard to provide a good service despite being grossly overstretched

GPs are working hard to provide a good service despite being grossly overstretched


GLASGOW Life is quoted as saying that it is difficult to fill the position of swimming instructor ("Services at ‘crisis point’", The Herald, June 29) but without saying why.

I can teach someone to swim in about two minutes, though certainly not in a four-feet deep "leisure pool", and would object to spending an immoderate amount of time trying to teach someone obliged to adopt a horizontal position right from the start – which is analogous to learn to ride a bicycle using "outriggers".

Those who got rid of traditional swimming pools know as much about the matter as the "educationists" who now preside over schooling know about education, but unfortunately in this way as in so many fields, copiously-remunerated armchair experts have largely replaced those who knew what they were doing.

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


THE limited edition bottle of whisky presented to the Queen (“From referendum to royalty”, The Herald, June 30, and Letters, July 1) is said to have cost £150. As the Queen's favourite tipple, Dark Lochnagar, from the eponymous brewery in Crathie, is on sale online for £36.96, the princely, or should that be queenly, sum of £113.04 might have been saved to the taxpayer, had the advisers of Queen Nicola, who forewent the traditional curtsy, done their homework.

David Miller, Milngavie.

Read more: Guess which way Zelenskyy would vote in Indyref2?