THIS week (July 27) the Scottish Government is publishing the latest of its sequence of papers on independence, this on the subject of citizenship, all delivered at considerable cost and diversion of resources. Some civil servants recognise the risks of being compromised by producing documents that, like the 2013 White Paper on independence, can appear in many respects to be like a political manifesto ("UK Government could impose ‘sanctions’ on Scots ministers", The Herald, July 26).

In the middle of a cost of living crisis, with public services under severe financial pressure, it is unforgivable for a government to knowingly waste public funds. Yet that is what the SNP has already chosen to do on a number of occasions. In a sequence of court cases from the Alex Salmond fiasco through to a number of recent cases testing powers in the courts, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been thrown away on issues where the Scottish Government has been told by its own advisers that its position is weak and likely to result in negative outcomes. Money was knowingly wasted purely for the purposes of political point-scoring.

The same can be said of these independence papers, in that significant sums are being expended with no practical benefit in the foreseeable future beyond perhaps trying to convince the SNP faithful that something is happening when in truth it is not.

The SNP leadership doubtless feels it important to prioritise the encouragement of its core base of supporters but as cost of living pressures mount the wider electorate will be unhappy that their taxes are being used for this. Equally, Scottish civil servants will once again wonder if they are effectively being politicised by the SNP that has a leadership prone to shifting the fault lines of correct behaviour to suit itself.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

Why Labour is a busted flush

LAST week, the Labour shadow cabinet met and discussed the two-child benefit cap and its attendant rape clause. Many shadow cabinet members, among them Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish secretary, were in favour of scrapping this obscenely dictatorial law. Instead, they toed Sir Keir’s party line: a two-child benefit cap, unless the third child is the result of rape, will stay in place if Labour wins power at the next General Election.

Sir Keir Starmer will no longer nationalise public services, including energy companies, and he will continue to outsource the NHS to private companies. While he used to believe in EU freedom of movement, he no longer does, ending the UK’s hopes of a better trade deal in a single market. Universal Credit will not be abolished, and Britain’s top earners will not be taxed because Labour is now the party of lower taxation.

Blaming Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone policy for gifting Uxbridge and Ruislip back to the Tories in the recent by-election, Sir Keir is hurriedly losing his green credentials as the voting public shed theirs, and as any profit in larger taxes imposed on digital services disappeared due to the lobbying of companies such as Amazon and Facebook. Under Sir Keir’s directive, standing side by side with unions on the picket lines is a sackable offence. Labour, the party of the unions, is a busted flush for Scotland.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.

Read more: Humza Yousaf says Unionists trying to 'shut down' independence debate

Big two offer only greed

SIR Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak each present "the audacity of no hope" as the way forward for the people of England, Wales and Scotland. Forget the globally inspiring words of Barack Obama and a more compassionate and more progressive society (except for disingenuous sound bites aimed at the blinded or gullible) and forget a wellbeing economy and genuine concern for our Earth’s deteriorating condition, because self-centred greed is what will determine the outcome of the next first-past-the-post UK General Election.

At this pivotal time in our history supporters of the principles underpinning progressive politics, proportional representation and the democratic right of the people of Scotland to determine the future of our country, many of whom have continued to vote for the Labour Party, will shortly have the opportunity to give their fellow citizens hope. Voting for a party truly committed to these principles, whether that be the SNP, the Green Party, or even the Alba Party, will not diminish, and will more likely enhance, the progressive voice at Westminster, and the stronger the voice centred on fundamental socialist principles the more likely it will prove to be the catalyst for also inspiring hope in England and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland.

Should the next General Election deliver an overall majority at Westminster for Sir Keir, or Mr Sunak, then the future (both in terms of personal wellbeing and financial security) for children across the UK, except temporarily the sons and daughters of privileged individuals, looks bleak.

Stan Grodysnki, Longniddry.

How UK does Scotland down

GUY Stenhouse ("The UK Government wants to do its best for Scotland. The SNP doesn't", The Herald, July 26) can’t be serious. The UK Government wants to do the best for Scotland?

Let’s look at the record, shall we? The UK has forced millions of Scots into emigration, the largest depopulation in western Europe. It has stolen our oil, gas and renewables, not for our benefit, but for the benefit of an ailing UK economy. It sold off our seaports, once owned by the burghs that made our communities prosperous, to private equity firms that have loaded them with debt to pay their shareholders. It destroyed our industries, ravaging our communities. It has dumped its nuclear weapons and toxic waste on to our land and into our seas, not daring to pollute precious England. It forced us out of the EU single market when every single Scottish region voted to remain. It has denigrated our languages and derided our culture.

The UK cavalierly replaced the written Scottish constitution that guaranteed the sovereignty of the Scottish people over any monarch or government with the unwritten English constitution that elevates the monarch and parliament over the people.

All of these transgressions are clear violations of an international treaty between two sovereign nations, a treaty Scotland was coerced into signing through economic blackmail (the 1705 Alien Act), threatened military invasion and bribery.

Scotland is a de facto colony within an entity that has the nerve to call itself “Great Britain.” Only the Scottish people can bring an end to this tragedy.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

• GUY Stenhouse reverts to his usual mantra: “Scottish Government bad, Westminster Government good”.

Clearly, the two governments have to work together, but any compromises seem to have to come from Scotland as Westminster exercises its authority in an unsubtle way.

Take the example of the Deposit Return Scheme. Even Mr Stenhouse admits that a similar scheme should be rolled out across the UK. In that case, why not liaise with Scotland and plan to roll one out now, rather than vetoing the Scottish plan to bring out a similar one later? Such a gesture from Westminster would generate more goodwill in Scotland than Mr Stenhouse talking up his favoured government while badmouthing the other.

Sam Craig, Glasgow.

Letters: Won't someone give Humza Yousaf a lesson on priorities?

NHS staff are not the enemy

NYE Bevan may be "rotating in his grave" as Ian W Thomson suggests (Letters, July 25), but not against strikers in the NHS. He would be appalled at the "lower than vermin" (Bevan's words) who allowed his creation to deteriorate to such a parlous state that even consultants feel driven to protest.

The fault lies in a Government which, after years of negligible investment and support, exploited the goodwill of NHS workers during the pandemic. The Government is now shocked to see staff defend that same NHS with the courage they showed when fighting Covid.

Know your enemy, Mr Thomson. It is not NHS staff.

KA McCormack, Anstruther.

Drugs issue needs a nuanced approach

A&E attendances due to drugs use have risen sharply ("A&E attendances due to drugs use rise by 13% in three months", The Herald, July 26), while the new drugs deaths figure for last year are due shortly. This will be grim reading.

The SNP "cure" for this is to promote decriminalisation of all drug use in Scotland. Perhaps a kind SNP politician will explain to a bemused Scottish public how this would actually cut drug misuse and also how our over-worked NHS would cope with an even bigger influx of patients? You cannot hold back a tide by opening the floodgates.

This problem requires a rather more nuanced approach, something we are not used to seeing from the current Scottish Government.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.