MARK Smith's article ("Scottish independence has a Glasgow problem", The Herald, July 11) misses out the most important fact about the city: its boundaries. For example, on its status as a Yes city, if Glasgow had the same sort of boundaries as Edinburgh, which include contiguous suburbs and some fringe rural areas, the 2014 result would have been a No vote here as well.

The fact is that Glasgow did not grow and prosper as a city of Scotland, but as a city of the Empire. And just as Edinburgh relates to Scotland in the same way that Munich relates to Bavaria as an integrated capital, Glasgow relates to the rest of the country in the same way that the Hanseatic port of Hamburg relates to Lower Saxony. Glasgow is an anomaly with both good and bad legacies of Empire. (This might be best summed up by the number of buildings of historic and architectural importance that the city possesses – in number far beyond what is commercially useful today, and both a glory in their beauty and a burden in the cost of the upkeep.)

Indeed, it is not only Scottish nationalism that has a Glasgow problem, it is Scotland that has a Glasgow problem. It is one that Scotland has tried to solve by shrinking Glasgow's population and by artificially restricting its borders. A much better way all round would be to follow the example of Germany and create a Clydeside self-governing city-state. United with its suburbs and their resources as a Greater Glasgow Hansestadt, it could have a fully devolved city government as powerful as Holyrood and be able to raise its own taxation. In addition, its unique position would deserve dedicated funding from both the Scottish Government and the UK government.

The Scottish nationalist solution for Glasgow is to squeeze it into the one-size-fits-all independence box. The experience of Hamburg and Germany suggests that it would be much better to set Glasgow free.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


STEWART Falconer (Letters, July 11) insists that “the First Minister has led the country impeccably” and that “sleaze and corruption are in short supply in Scotland". Mr Falconer is entitled to his opinion but he forgets the biggest lie, corruption if you like, that the SNP leadership propounds: that Scots would be better off if we broke up the country, an assertion for which there is no credible evidence.

There is no economic case for Scottish independence. Every effort to produce one runs into the sands of hard facts and evidence, which show clearly that Scotland benefits from pooling and sharing within the UK to the tune of around £15 billion annually and would be so much poorer after separation. And the EU will not ride to the rescue of a country with such a large deficit, without its own currency, no central bank and few foreign reserves.

There is no historical case. Scotland is not a colony and is not suppressed in any way as part of the UK. Scots and Scotland have benefited greatly, and continue to do so, from being part of team GB.

There is no cultural case. The lives and attitudes of city dwellers in Aberdeen or Glasgow are little different from the same sample in Birmingham, Bristol or Cardiff. Rural life in England is much the same as rural life Scotland or Wales.

There is no legal case. The UK is a unitary state formed by the willing agreement of all parties in the Act of Union and its legal status has never been challenged.

There is no geographical case. We are 65 million people crammed on to a small island. The very idea of splitting it up into different countries in a world where size and influence matters could serve as the very definition of foolishness.

And importantly, there is no democratic case. We had our referendum. The outcome was decisive and should put the question to bed for at least a generation.

Mr Falconer might believe that the country is being governed impeccably and that there is no corruption to consider, but the lie that underpins the very existence of the SNP as a party and a government is itself a huge corruption that continues to affect the conduct of Scottish politics. Only when we rid ourselves of this calumny will Scots be able to address the real problems that beset or communities and families.

Alex Gallagher, Largs.


MICHAEL Sheridan (Letters, July 11) seems to have missed the 2019 election where Boris Johnson campaigned on a single issue to “get Brexit done”, winning his “massive mandate” on 43.5 per cent of the vote. Has he also missed that the Scottish Tories (and latterly Scottish Labour) have fought (and lost) every election, since 2016, on a single constitutional issue?

It’s fair to highlight what Dr John Reid, as Secretary of State for Scotland, announced immediately after devolution was established: “If you understand the constitution, you would know that the way to achieve independence is to put it in your Westminster manifesto and achieve a majority in Scotland at a Westminster General Election.” Nothing constitutionally remarkable there, as both Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major have made very similar assertions. That these comments were made when no one ever expected a majority of pro-independence MPs being elected in Scotland, does not diminish their relevance.

I am also certain that Ruth Davidson and Alister Jack have both affirmed in the past that if the SNP won majority support in parliament, a second independence referendum should be authorised. As they both appear to have reneged on that acknowledgement, is it not time for some honesty and consistency from the Unionist camp?

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


RUSSIAN gas is vital to the German economy, which is currently operating on reduced supplies of about 40 per cent. It is hoped to increase the stock level in their storage facilities to almost full capacity by winter. Last Friday Germany passed emergency legislation to reopen its coal power plants despite the potential damage to Earth’s atmosphere.

Mark Openshaw (Letters, July 11) advises Norway has approved an increase in natural gas production quoting the Petroleum and Energy Minister that it is needed to aid Europe

Mr Openshaw opines: “Somehow I don't think this sort of sensible realpolitik fits with the track record of the SNP/Greens and their virtue-signalling supporters.”

Really? In the absence of positive arguments for the Union it would appear its support is becoming ever more desperate.

You have headlined his letter “Still want to copy Norway?” If only we had.

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.


THE present Tory leadership contest with several ethnic minority candidates competing to be our next Prime Minister stands as a refutation of myths which poison our politics.

The first myth is that the English are racist in contrast to Scots. A second is that the most racist of all are English Tory politicians.

To refute these poisonous lies all that is necessary is to name some of the leading Tories who are contenders to be our next PM: Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, Nadhim Zahawi, Kimi Badenoch and Suella Braverman. Between them they have Indian, Pakistani, Arab and Nigerian ancestry.

Another myth peddled by progressives and especially by Scottish nationalists is that Britain is some how racist and intolerant in contrast to Europe. This is, of course, close to an inversion of the truth. In some Western European countries, France perhaps or the Netherlands, there might be one ethnic minority contender for a top job. In none would there be such a wealth of ethnic minority talent competing.

It is time that nationalists and others on the left accept that Britain is the least racist country in Europe, and, further more, that when it comes to giving women and ethnic minorities real opportunities the Tories are way ahead of virtue-signalling progressives.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.


THERE must surely be a flaw in the UK system of democracy when, with potentially up to two and a half years until a General Election, the new Prime Minister will be appointed to lead the country until then by fewer than 200,000 Tory party members. Even their choice will be limited to two chosen by a few hundred Tory MPs. With around 67 million UK residents, this does not feel much like democracy in action, especially when the choices come from the same pool of talentless politicians responsible for getting the UK into the biggest mess in my not-inconsiderable lifetime.

Would it be cynical to think that the new PM will be appointed on the usual criteria – ie, his or her perceived chance of winning an election with virtually no reference to ability to lead the country?

Nobody should get get to call the shots for the UK without an electoral mandate.

Nick Robinson, Wemyss Bay.

Read more: It is absurd to suggest Sturgeon compares in any way to Johnson