SIR Keir Starmer has put his cards on the table ("Sarwar: Devolution wounded by cross-border game of blame", The Herald, July 5). He has stated that UK Labour would not attempt to undo the madness of Brexit.

He has chosen to cosy up to the lost Labour voters in the Red Wall territories south of the Border, showing utter contempt for the 62 per cent of Scots who voted to remain in the EU, including many former Labour voters who have defected to the SNP. In doing so, he has effectively written a suicide note on behalf of Anas Sarwar and his Scottish Labour Party.

Surely the time has come for Scottish Labour to abandon its head-in-the-sand stubborn support for the Union and adopt and display a willingness to campaign for the votes of the people of an independent Scotland.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

• WE learn from Anas Sarwar of his vision that the House of Lords should be abolished. This plan to get rid of the undemocratic and unelected House of Lords is the most positive call I have heard from Scottish Labour for some time. But perhaps we should remind ourselves that Labour currently has 168 members sitting in the House of Lords, five of whom were only appointed as recently as December 2020 by the current leader of the UK Labour Party.

The question is: is this a mere sound bite from the Scottish Labour leader or should he be phoning his friend?

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


IT is encouraging to see how desperate the British military-industrial complex is becoming at the prospect of an independent Scotland daring to challenge the UK's substitute for an empire, Trident ("Ditching Trident could scupper Sturgeon's plans to rejoin the EU", The Herald, July 5 and Letters, July 5). The irony is that this is a US-owned and controlled system for which the Americans kindly allow the British taxpayer to pay.

This started in 1958 when Harold Macmillan went to the US to plead with them to supply a nuclear delivery system since the British ones had failed. They agreed on condition that the UK gave them the Holy Loch. Macmillan did try very hard to persuade them to go north instead – he was worried about bolshie Glaswegians – but the Americans insisted on the Holy Loch and got it.

The system on offer was cancelled and Macmillan had to go back and plead for a Polaris system. We than had to depend on them to get Trident and now we have to depend on them to get the new-generation Trident.

The new suggestion is that the EU will blackmail Scotland if it chooses to become a non-nuclear state. The great majority of EU members do not have nuclear weapons and Ireland and Austria have ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to which the SNP, Greens and Alba are also committed. The suggestion that EU members owe the UK a favour and will reject Scotland is a bit of wishful thinking from sections of the military establishment.

Of course there are big status and big money interests at stake and Scotland will be pressurised unless we are resolute. But the British state has shown an ability to come to terms with the independent choices of the many states it once controlled. It will come to terms with Scotland's legitimate choices.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.


NEIL Mackay in his role as marriage guidance counsellor ("Unionist anger and contempt will see this UK marriage fail", The Herald, July 5) really needs some counselling. He states: “one half of the couple – the one who wants to leave – has a whole load of ideas about what they want to do with their life. They've looked at the past and decided it's not worth saving; they've looked at the present and deemed it a mess; and they've thought about the future – they just don't want to spend the rest of their life in a relationship that's dead to them.”

I suggest it is the “one who wants to leave” who has well and truly killed the relationship. It has used every possible reason to criticise, blame, attack, condemn the other party in the relationship for every one of its own shortcomings and failures – and boy does it have shortcomings and failures.

In any marriage, each party has to work very hard to make a success of the relationship but we have ample evidence, despite being handed a tremendous start (devolution), that the SNP has totally squandered its chances to make this marriage work.

The people of Scotland need to be reminded time and time again that virtually every aspect of Scottish life has been trashed on the altar of independence and if the relationship is “dead”, it is clear to the majority who killed it.

Douglas Cowe, Newmachar.


ONE way or another, it looks as though we are heading for another independence referendum: more heated arguments within families and between friends.

The electorate deserves some simple, honest facts to help make this important decision.

Answers to the following would give us a good idea of what might lie ahead in an independent Scotland.

• What currency will be used?

• What border controls are planned?

• What additional public service resource will be required?

• What proportion of UK National Debt is owned by us and how/when will this be repaid?

• What are the proposed tax rates for the first five years of an independent Scotland (Income tax/inheritance tax/capital gains tax/ corporation tax/VAT)?

• What major new business has been brought into Scotland in the past five years a) directly from corporations and b) via the UK Government?

• What major investments are planned for the next five years?

• What is the financial business plan for the first five years of an independent Scotland and how does this compare with the past five years?

• What are the thoughts and plans on re-entering the EU?

• Who will we turn to in times of economic crisis?

These are basic questions which should not be difficult to answer.

Les Lawson, Ayr.


AT last week's First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon used statistics to "prove" all was well with Police Scotland. Figures now released show a 50 per cent fall in applications to join the police. There were 5,611 applications in 20-21 and this has fallen to 2,237 in 21-22. Where stand Ms Sturgeon's answers now?

This constant lack of information or selective use of facts is the hallmark of a Government that is being opaque rather than transparent. It is like the £2 billion-plus black hole in Scotland's finances this year and the utter lack of any detail in Ms Sturgeon's independence referendum bid.

Political pundits never predict the end of SNP rule in Scotland, but for how much longer can this be justified? Something has got to give.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


JILL Stephenson (Letters, July 5) makes a valid point about the list voting system. Without the list, there would be no D Ross in Holyrood. Just imagine if we had first past the post instead.

The unionist parties managed just 10 seats against the SNP’s 62 seats on the constituency vote. The Liberal Democrats held on to four, along with the Conservatives, and Labour held on to two. On the list, the SNP was penalised for its constituency success in order to achieve a parliament that left the adversarial braying to Westminster and practised consensus politics.

The parliaments of Norway, Sweden, Denmark are great examples of politicians working together for the good of their countries. Ireland successfully arranged a three-party coalition in 2020. What do these countries have in common? They are all on Nicola Sturgeon’s list of comparator countries. Scotland would join them if it were independent.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.


MICHAEL Sheridan (Letters, July 4) paints Scotland as a dark land of witch trials until the enlightenment of the 1707 Union came along. He omits to mention that Scotland had four universities to England's two until 1832. Also, after the Reformation in 1560 schools were set up in every parish to give Scotland the most literate population in Europe, long before the Treaty of Union of 1707. This fact is the real foundation of the Scottish Enlightenment.

Mr Sheridan further omits the fact that the 1707 Union he supports was built on the transatlantic slave trade.

Tom Johnston, Cumbernauld.

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