THE latest tax revenue-devouring glossy booklet from the SNP on a separated Scotland has been published ("No immigration checks at Scottish border post-independence, says Hepburn", The Herald, November 4). I have not read it, life is too short, but if it is anything like those that preceded it, I can make a fair guess at the deluded fantasy it will contain.

It has been reported however that in the SNP’s Scottish Utopia, the plan in the latest version is to have a points system for those trying to come in. Fair enough. But there is also, it has been reported, the assertion that there will be an open border of some kind with England and the rest of the UK. And therein lies the rub.

Have the rest of the UK been consulted? Would the countries with which they have just severed a centuries-long amalgamation with a 60 million-plus population, meekly bow their heads and accept a separated Scotland’s declarations? England is more than 10 times larger and has a serious problem with unofficial and undocumented migrants on their south coast. Does even the most starry-eyed nationalist think they would just say "it is now an open border" and the English and others would just bow low and rush to comply? A border has two sides. England will do as it sees fit.

Are they unaware the vast majority of incomers to the UK could get in through Scotland and then walk through the open border to the part of England where most of their wider families are located?

Instead of producing these fantasy documents and opening pretend embassies and jaunts overseas, why not spend this mountain of cash they are expending on matters of importance, for example the health and welfare of Scots? Thankfully, not much longer to suffer from these absurdities.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

This vile mindset

IN 1971, the Education Secretary in Edward Heath’s Tory Government, a certain Margaret Thatcher, prompted the playground taunt “Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher”, as she stopped the provision of milk for junior school pupils.

Suella Braverman’s reported call that homeless people should have their tents removed ("Sunak to confirm North Sea oil plans in speech", The Herald, November 6) does not quite have the same ring but demonstrates a similar lack of empathy for many of those forced into such dire straits by the actions of her Government. In addition, she is reported to be looking to fine charities found to have given tents to rough sleepers.

To rub salt further into the wounds and demonstrate to what extent both her and her Government have totally lost the plot, according to Ms Braverman many of those taking up residence in tents are doing so apparently as a “lifestyle choice”. So, as we approach winter, people are apparently deciding that this is the life they want to lead.

People don’t choose to be homeless, in the same way people don’t choose to be poor. And in a cost of-living crisis, to look to take away the tents of people, many of whom have been left in such conditions due to Tory policies, demonstrates how vile this Government truly is.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Read more: Letters: Shame on us for failing today's young generation

Shift the Covid inquiry focus

IT is regretfully becoming clearer by the day that the UK Covid Inquiry is getting nowhere near investigating the real issues around whether lockdown was the right thing to do, had we prepared for such a pandemic, how the roles of those in authority worked and major issues around PPE and care homes for example. Instead we have the tittle-tattle of who said what to whom and why.

It rather seems that there were so many egos to massage from politicians like Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, medical advisers like Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance and special advisers like Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain. The inquiry chairperson Baroness Heather Hallett must shift the focus from WhatsApp contributions to ask the real and necessary questions that will help drive our preparedness for what undoubtedly will come again.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.

• DUNCAN Sooman (Letters, November 4) is quite right. The Scottish Government more or less followed Westminster during Covid as it had no choice. Following it was the only way to get the funding. There were plenty of occasions when requests for extra funding, to do things differently, fell on deaf ears.

The critics cannot have it both ways, however. Since the Scottish Government was forced to do it Westminster's way, what could possibly be usefully contained in the WhatsApp messages? Will it make any difference to the material findings of the inquiry?

All this extraneous information is in danger of deflecting the inquiry from what it should be finding out: 1, Why the NHS was so poorly prepared, and 2, were the PPE contracts corrupt?

Iain Cope, Glasgow.

We must know the reasoning

MARY Thomas (Letters, November 4) needs to check for the accuracy of her claims. She alleges that the UK inquiry is not examining the minutiae on how Covid was handled in Wales. This is clearly not the case as can be learned quickly by visiting the UK Government Covid-19 Public Inquiry website. I quote: “Each module will investigate issues across the UK as a whole, including in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

It seems to me that Ms Thomas is desperately trying to draw attention away from SNP members of the Scottish Government who refuse to answer questions on whether they deleted WhatsApp messages. It is easy to examine what governments did but what needs to be ascertained is what options they believed they had and why they chose the road they took. As we know, Ms Sturgeon does have a problem recollecting details as was seen at the Alex Salmond inquiry. One would think someone with a bad memory would keep all her messages, especially when she’s looking to write her memoirs. The question therefore has to be asked of why wouldn’t she?

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Read more: Edinburgh riot: Police Scotland condemns ‘disgusting disorder’

Time to crack down on protests

SOCIETY must get a grip. Protesting has now become a national sport with some in order to see how far you can push the authorities without incurring any genuine penalty. In the last few days we have seen hooligans attacking the police with, of all things, petrol bombs and explosives ("‘Unacceptable’: Firefighters attacked with bricks and bottles", The Herald, November 6), we have seen travellers terrified by supporters of extreme movements calling for the destruction of the state of Israel at our main railway stations and even the National Gallery in London has seen criminal damage to the Rokeby Venus.

Democracy is being challenged as never before by its own rules. If people do not understand when the mark is overstepped then something must be done. The ultimate insult to our sensibilities would be demonstrations other than for remembrance of the sacrifices of our armed services this weekend. The challenge is there. Will Downing Street or Holyrood rise to it?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

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The crucial Gaza message

THERE is much froth being generated by the phrase "From the river to the sea", on the one hand that it is code for a call for the destruction of Israel and on the other that it is a simple expression of a desire for a Palestinian state.

Surely the crucial message at the moment is "Bombing children is not self-defence". Israel is absolutely right to fight back against the war crimes inflicted by Hamas terrorists. However, continuing to bomb helpless civilians is inexcusable. Why on earth are leading politicians like Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer not providing leadership?

The bombing might, repeat might, eliminate the current Hamas leadership but the needless deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinians will undoubtedly create a new generation of people who have lost loved ones and who absolutely hate Israel. So what is Israel hoping to achieve by it?

Sandy Slater, Stirling.