ALLAN Thompson (Letters, May 10) has made very selective observations of the independence movement and its supporters.

"Few people dare to the Union Flag" while an All Under One Banner march is taking place, he opines. He has clearly never been on an independence march. Almost every one of these events, all of them family-friendly and joyous, is met by a crowd of Union Flag-waving thugs, shouting sectarian, racist and misogynistic abuse at the marching demonstrators.

The "divisive, embittered referendum" he refers to was precisely that. As a perfect example, most of us will remember a peaceful demonstration by independence supporters in George Square, Glasgow, at the climax of the referendum in 2014. This perfectly peaceful gathering was broken up by far-right, Union Flag-waving louts, who looked like the stragglers from an Orange Walk, and physically and verbally abused everyone in sight.

So the "law-abiding Scots" he refers to are anything but, certainly in the case of a considerable number of those I have encountered.

A huge dose of hypocrisy from a unionist, who is blind to the divisiveness of his fellow-independence bashers.

Kevin Orr, Bishopbriggs.

• ALLAN Thompson pours scorn on Kevin McKenna's reflections (“Campaigners for Yes movement have their own kind of majesty”, The Herald, May 8) on the All Under One Banner march from Kelvingrove to Glasgow Green last Saturday.

I was one of the "fickle, shallow-minded" thousands who took part in the peaceful, good-natured march which attracted a great deal of support and encouragement from passers-by and vehicle drivers; the total absence of antagonistic reaction from the roadside was notable.

Mr Thompson should note that the nearest the march got to Springburn or Maryhill was Woodlands Road in the Woodside district and that the event, scheduled long before the Coronation date was set, was all about Scottish independence and that many of the marchers, myself included, would not have chosen to dignify the farcical ceremonies in London that day by marching in protest against them.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

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Salmond was in the right

ALLAN Thompson lives up to his own proposition that “ignorance is bliss” in his condemnation of two examples of egregious behaviour by the independence movement.

He complains of Ian Blackford’s reaction to being asked an “innocuous question” about the SNP’s new Westminster leader not being informed “of events”.

Mr Thompson’s memory must be shorter than my own, as I recall Denis Healey as Shadow Chancellor walking out on Anne Diamond, and Defence Secretary John Knott doing the same to Robin Day. Generally I find politicians don’t like questions they would rather not answer. It’s not a reaction exclusive to any one political party.

However, much more serious is his mythical description of when Alex Salmond was asked “awkward questions by Nick Robinson”. Right down to the description of the demonstrators who protested at Robinson’s misleading report as “a pitchfork mob”, the unionist mythology of these events is all there.

In fact, if Mr Thompson could examine the actual events, he would find Mr Robinson’s question concerned the warnings being copiously handed out by our captains of industry not to vote Yes, and why the Scottish electorate should believe him (Mr Salmond) rather than them. Mr Salmond, in reply (oh yes he did), pointed out most of the warnings were six months old, and in that time support for Yes had increased.

For good measure he also schooled Mr Robinson on the reality of corporation tax, that it’s based on economic activity rather than profit.

This may not have been the answer Mr Robinson was hoping for, but it certainly didn’t warrant hiss comment on that evening’s news that Mr Salmond “didn’t answer”. Even Mr Robinson has since admitted “the phrasing of that report wasn’t clever”.

There can be no doubt that there must be a debate about independence, but not one driven by the kinds of myths and legends that Mr Thompson misdirects us to.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Letters: March all you want, we will never forgive the hatred of 2014

SNP refuses to listen

A DEFINING feature of this Scottish Government is the way it manages to undermine its own laudable ambitions by refusing to properly engage with the legitimate concerns of others. So while it is a good thing to seek to help a disadvantaged minority like the trans community, or to seek to clean up our seas and our streets, or to address Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol, proposals to change laws need to consider the potential for unintended consequences. Ignoring in these examples the rights of women, of fishing communities, and the viability of the drinks industry, has clearly led to deeply flawed proposed legislation which has in various ways not passed the sense test once exposed to wider scrutiny beyond the confines of Holyrood.

Claims by Justice Secretary Angela Constance that she wants to work in partnership with the legal profession on juryless trials (“Warning over rape trials with no jury”, The Herald, May 10), sound empty in the light of her Government’s reputation for believing it always knows best. With a near-unanimous boycott of the pilot scheme by Scottish lawyers, Ms Constance appears to be just the latest Scottish minister to have developed a serious hearing problem.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

When numbers really matter

GRANT Frazer (Letters, May 10) should be more concerned about an English-based accountancy firm signing off the SNP audit on time, rather than the membership numbers of opposing parties. Transparency regarding this matter was a complete non-issue to nationalists until Peter Murrell got caught telling Murray Foote a bare-faced lie.

Laurence Wade, Ayr.

Ageing working Royals will have a hard time keeping show on the road

Who could be proud of Empire?

YOUR “On this day” column (The Herald, May 10) reminds us that it was on May 10, 1857 that sepoys in Meerut, north of Delhi, rebelled against their officers, leading to the horrors of the Indian Mutiny. That event is more commonly referred to in India as the First War of Independence, for good reason.

Incredible as it seems now, India in 1857 was ruled not by the British Government, but by the East India Company, a private enterprise established in London in 1600 that was granted a royal charter giving it a monopoly on trade to India and the East. By a mix of cunning, bribery, boldness and violence, the Company rose to be the biggest corporation in the world.

Even more extraordinary is the fact that the Company had a vast army, much bigger than the British Army, and it used it to wage war against all and sundry. At the core of the company’s mission was the pursuit of profit: once it controlled India, it could drive local industries out of business and create a market for goods from the UK, such as cloth from Paisley. Think a cross between the Wagner Group and Goldman Sachs: the Company was a monstrous vampire squid that sucked wealth from wherever it could find it and returned that wealth to London.

After the Mutiny was suppressed, the British Government took control of India, but little changed: Indian wealth was still siphoned off to the UK and, despite giving a commitment to independence, the UK did little to prepare India for that big step. Finally, in 1947, the British fled India after scribbling a line on a map to delineate the border with Pakistan. The upshot of that panicked decision, made by Mountbatten, was the biggest population movement in history, with 10 million refugees crossing the new border and as many as a million killed.

Given this history, are we really supposed to be proud of the British Empire? Proud of our monarch’s role as head of that Empire and beneficiary of so much wealth stolen from it? Proud to still honour prominent citizens as Dames/Officers/Members of the British Empire? Sorry, I’m not.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

The trouble with presidents

DECLAN Blench (Letters, May 9) recommends that we follow the system operating in Italy, Germany or Austria for adopting a head of state.

I am unacquainted with the other two, but in the case of Germany, the current president is Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who in the course of a 30-year career in the Social Democratic Party has twice been Foreign Minister, as well as Vice-Chancellor. Described by the German Council for Foreign Relations as someone who is "morally malleable", he has attracted much criticism for his ties to Russia, including for his support for the controversial Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, to the point where the Ukrainians initially refused permission for him to visit the country following Putin's invasion.

Is this something we would want for our country? Were we to follow this precedent of having a former Foreign Minister as our head of state, how about President Johnson or Truss?

Robert Murray, Glasgow.