THE Prime Minister claims that his reluctance to engage in a public debate with Alex Salmond is because "this is a matter for the Scots to discuss and decide" ("Cameron 'feart' and Salmond 'scared' of televised debates", The Herald, September 28, and Letters, September 30).

I agree with him, but why is he then allowing his deputy, Nick Clegg, and most of his non-Scottish Cabinet Ministers to constantly present negative Unionist views in speeches and interviews? Under their charge almost every UK Government department has published or is about to produce "impartial" official reports warning of the dreadful consequences to Scotland of a Yes vote.

In fact Mr Cameron's reluctance is quite understandable. He knows he would be humiliated in any televised head-to-head independence debate with the Scottish First Minister. But perhaps the Prime Minister need not worry. I am sure BBC Scotland will have been reminded by head office to ensure that any televised debate must be properly balanced, with Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats all represented along with the SNP. Perhaps they would also add Nigel Farage, on the grounds that his party has the word Independence in its title.

Iain AD Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

THERE must be parity in the independence debate.

There should be debates between Blair Jenkins and Blair MacDougall; Dennis Canavan and Alistair Darling; Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore, and Alex Salmond and David Cameron.

The Prime Minister's position is not sustainable.

But there is one encouraging aspect; if he believes the question must be decided in Scotland, by Scots, I expect the might of the Westminster machine to be withdrawn.

John C Hutchison,

Taigh na Coille,

Badabrie, Fort William.

DAVID Cameron is the elected Prime Minister and with that come the shackles of influence and authority. These also lie with his Cabinet.

Alex Salmond is the elected First Minister of Scotland and he and his Ministers have influence and authority.

They are both leaders, therefore they should not be allowed to duck out of such an important event as this grand debate that will affect both Scotland and England even if there is a No vote.

The fact Mr Cameron has stated that it is for the people of Scotland to decide the issues should really bar him from telling or airing his views as to how good the benefits of Union are. He can be described as as slippery as an eel on the issue, whereas Mr Salmond, who has his faults and critics, would be appearing to play the long game of slowly, slowly catch a monkey. I am sure the electorate will decide: eels or monkeys.

Robert McCaw,

6 Hamilton Crescent, Renfrew.

ONCE again, Ian Bell has hit the nail on the head ("Census suggests that the Yes campaign is missing a trick", The Herald, September 28). The desire of nations to manage their own affairs is natural, as is the dislike of their affairs, domestic and international, being managed by others whom they have not voted for. How independence is to be funded and the competence of local management come second. It suits No campaigners, however, to ignore the first consideration and to concentrate on the second, backed up by sophistry and spurious statistics seeming to show that the current United Kingdom entity is a better way to be governed. If this is the case, can anyone explain where the oil money has gone?

Unfortunately, though you cannot fool all of the people all of the time, it is possible to fool most of the people most of the time. Indeed, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Andrew McCrae,

35 St Andrews Drive, Gourock.

IAN Bell has articulated exactly what a lot of us have been thinking about for some time. The argument for independence should not be reduced to questionable unknown economics, but should focus on the heart, mind and emotions as well. The biggest decision most of us make in our lives, marriage, is an emotional decision and most of us don't regret it.

Furthermore, the first verb, and the most important one, you learn in any language is the verb "to be". I am. I am what exactly? I want to be Scottish but I cannot be Scottish without a nation. In the British state and, from what I can see of the future, if the No campaign succeeds it will still only be possible to be British, which effectively, to those furth of the UK means English. If we really want to be Scottish then the only way of achieving that is by voting Yes next September.

Andrew J Beck.

3 Andrew Crescent,


I WAS born in Scotland, live in Scotland, and am proud to be Scottish.

Scotland has been an integral part of the UK for three centuries and I am proud to be British.

I do not see why a No vote in the referendum should change this for myself or future generations.

It is possible to be both.

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road,