THE revelations in Neil Mackay's interview with Ian Dommett, former director of Yes Scotland, are shocking, but not surprising ("Ex-Yes Scotland director: SNP trashed us and that's why we lost the 2014 referendum", May 14). But among all the blaming, shaming and back-biting, one thing stands out. Mr Dommett is quoted as saying that “much of the Yes campaign was naive” as “we were promoting something we hadn’t worked out”. Yes campaigners “couldn’t agree” what an “independent Scotland would look like as it was still to be created. That was the fundamental intellectual and political problem. We were selling a product we hadn’t defined”.

That there was no thought-through, cohesive case for independence is an observation that people like myself have made repeatedly at the time and since and we have been roundly abused for our opinion. To see a director of the campaign for independence state that the very people campaigning to achieve independence had no clear idea what they were campaigning for but still continued to campaign for it, is an astonishing admission to make. If Mr Dommett and his team couldn't agree what an independent Scotland would look like, and they were selling a product they didn't believe in, why on Earth was he selling it? And why on Earth did he thinks we would buy it?

The saddest and most pertinent thing for those who favour independence is that, if they were campaigning today in another referendum, they would still have no idea what independence would look like and they would still be trying to sell to us, their fellow Scots, a product they haven't defined and which has no content or intellectual heft. No wonder the independence movement is in such a mess if this is the standard of their offering: a non-existent pig in a constitutional poke.

Alex Gallagher, Largs.

Economy behind indy failure

I AM at a loss to understand why Ian Dommett thinks that his exposé of the relationship between Yes Scotland and the SNP is news. It was perfectly obvious to ordinary voters that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were front and centre of the secessionist campaign. Blair Jenkins was nominally the Yes campaign’s leader, and Denis Canavan was chair of its advisory board, but in public they had a very subordinate role.

The campaign was overwhelmingly funded by money the SNP had received from lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir. After the event, the SNP paid off the Yes campaign’s debts.

As for Mr Dommett’s claim that a "social campaign" would have been more effective than a "political campaign", what does he mean by a social campaign? The Yes cause failed because it could not persuade enough voters that it had a practical plan for finance and the economy. The fraught questions of the currency, the deficit and the putative relationship of a separate Scotland with the EU still remain.

The secessionist cause has failed to move forward in terms of a viable case for leaving the UK. Mr Dommett’s attempt to provide an alibi for this – by blaming the SNP for letting the Yes campaign down – is not convincing.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

Read more: Ex-Yes Scotland director: SNP trashed us - that's why we lost in 2014

Alba weakens indy drive

I NOTE your report on the Alba conference ("Alba call for ‘Scotland United’ at conference", May 14). Independence parties are by their nature ideologically very plural, indeed promiscuous, with some voices of tartan Tories all the way left to near-anarchists; but the key to victory is unity. For some time we had three independence parties – SNP, Greens and Scottish Socialists – but led by the SNP.

What is critical is the support for the lead party within the Westminster system: radical fringe groups won't cut it.

Looking at independence movements globally, division, splits and breakaways have historically seriously hindered the progress to sovereignty. Under British colonialism the imperial power went out of its way to create division, often buying or creating an alternative from the lead movement (see Ghandi v Nehru in India and Manley v Bustamante in Jamaica). Indeed imperialism often set up an opposition to the lead movement, the nearest to us is Ireland. Splits in the independence movement within Sinn Fein set back the liberation of Ireland to this day.

The formation of Alba plays directly into the greedy hands of British imperialism. It is a classic case. I would imagine that there has to be British agency somewhere as there were British agents within the IRA and Sinn Fein.

Drawing independence forces away from the lead movement by forming Alba is a gross fundamental error of political strategy.

Alba will only weaken the drive to independence.

Thom Cross, Carluke.

SNP is far from finished

AS you report, Professor Rob Johns, Professor of Politics at the University of Essex, "discussed the potential impact of the SNP's recent scandals on support for the Party and its Cause", and showed his audience a slide showing the big blue tent the police erected outside Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell's home in Glasgow ("Indy support ‘saving SNP from collapse’", May 14).

It can hardly be called an "SNP scandal" because the police decided to pitch that tent in Ms Sturgeon and Mr Murrell's front garden and surround the house with around 10 uniformed officers; hardly a good use of police resources, and many former or retired police officers have criticised these tactics, likening them to what could have been expected at a murder scene. At the time of writing, nobody has been charged with anything, the new auditors are in place, and the motor home which hit the headlines was kept in plain sight in Mr Murrell's mother's driveway; nobody is suggesting that 92-year-old Mrs Murrell used it to gallivant around Scotland.

Prof Johns reports that support for independence remains steady and that "some of the more recent polling is actually showing the SNP vote ticking up again"; the unionist media would have us believe that the SNP is finished and on the point of collapse, but something else that is ticking up again is the number of new members who have enthusiastically joined the party over recent weeks. Unionists should perhaps recall the old saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

Why we are better together

LIKE many who argue for Scottish independence, George Archibald (Letters, May 14) repeats the request that those who disagree with him set out the case for why Scotland should stay in the UK. He sounds exasperated that he has not heard a “cogent” case so far, implying it cannot be made.

The debate on this topic often focuses on economic issues such as public finances and the related sharing of resources across UK, or perhaps the fairness or otherwise of the approach to be taken in any future referendum. Yet as important as such matters are, many will see an essential human rationale in wanting Scotland to continue in the UK.

My reasons for wanting Scotland to remain in the UK are largely about people. Fellow citizens across the UK whom I feel at one with, culturally and socially, as well as economically. We have a shared history and have benefited from an interdependence based on generations of people being and working together in the closest of possible unions.

Those who want us to leave the UK seem more inclined to see differences between us, either real, exaggerated or imagined. Ironically, the legacy of more than a decade of intensive debate and campaigning on Scottish independence has failed to persuade Scotland to turn its back on the rest of the UK, but has instead deeply divided those of us who choose to live here in Scotland.

There are of course economic, social and security issues, as well as matters of international standing, that can be argued in various ways depending on your viewpoint on Scottish independence. Yet for me wanting Scotland to stay in the UK is primarily about remaining at one with family, friends, and fellow citizens, and not having a border separate us.

All of this is just my personal opinion of course, and I understand that a significant proportion of Scots take a different view. There are many things wrong with the current UK Government, and Brexit was not favoured by a clear majority here in Scotland, so there is material there for those who want make a case for separation. Personally however, years of the SNP’s stirring of grievance combined with its litany of failings in government, have left me more convinced than ever that we are indeed better keeping the UK together rather than breaking it apart.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

Read more: Why the assisted dying bill should be supported

We need referendum on assisted dying

AT the risk of repetition, I think that legally giving the right of terminally ill people to choose to end their lives early is an issue which can no longer be ignored in Scotland. Kenny Macintyre's account of the death of his terminally-ill father ("‘My father starved to death – he wished he had the choice’", May 14) made sobering reading and I can't begin to imagine his father's distress and Mr MacIntyre's feeling of utter hopelessness before his death. No person should be forced to go through that.

Liam McArthur's Private Member's Bill should be a starting point for the whole debate.

Many other countries now seem to be taking tentative steps towards providing some way out of these distressing situations where the terminally ill person has the mental capacity to make the choice. Two previous attempts in the Scottish Parliament have failed and I am concerned that on these occasions some MSPs abstained from voting. It's not an issue for abstention and I feel that they are abrogating their responsibilities in doing so.

The SNP government is desperate to have a referendum seeking the views of the electorate on Scotland's future. Would there be any benefit in having a nationwide referendum on introducing legislation to permit the assisted dying of terminally-ill patients in Scotland with stringent safeguards? Some people might not bother to vote but it would surely give a truer picture of public sentiment than a small group of people in the Scottish Parliament.

We know that death is inevitable but the manner in which we go is important. Dignity and compassion should be paramount.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.