BRIAN Quail's responds (Letters, August 14) to the issue of an independent Scotland abandoning Trident not sitting well alongside its intention to remain in Nato.

He acknowledges this is a disparity, then asserts the obvious solution is that Trident will definitely go but implies that Nato membership is somehow more up for debate, rather than the other way around.

I imagine he does so based on the SNP suggestion that a prohibition on nuclear weapons will be enshrined in the nation's newly written constitu­tion; a constitution which will now possibly include a clause on the continuing safety of the NHS ("Salmond pledges to protect NHS against privatisation", The Herald, August 13) .

It is one thing for the SNP to campaign for independence, quite another for them to assert what a written constitution would look like. To suggest that something as party-specific as no nuclear weapons in Scotland would be entrenched in the constitution is a huge assertion, and while I am a firm defender of the NHS being free at the point of use I'm not sure it is as inalienable a right as something a constitution should seek to address.

We are constantly told that Yes Scotland is not the SNP but is a partnership of many groups, yet the SNP in their White Paper and their campaign talks spend far more time asserting what independent Scotland will look like under their policies than in general. We may want an independent Scotland with two houses of parliament, or which is a republic, or which has no written constitution at all - but instead we are told that because the SNP like free prescriptions and dislike Trident, somehow these should be written for all time.

It may not be as "sexy" an issue, but I wish we would spend less time arguing about whether independent Scotland would be better or worse off financially and more time as to what shape we would want an independent nation's constitution and structure of governance to take. Whether to have nuclear weapons can be resolved in an election; changing our number of houses or head of state would be another referendum issue we will have no appetite for until at least a generation has passed.

George Quail,

150 Earl Street,



THE "will we, won't we" debate about Scotland's use of the pound post-independence rages on without resolution. Supporters of indepen­dence insist that Scotland has every right to use the pound and they may well be right. As long as we accept that real control lies elsewhere there is nothing to stop us using any currency we wish.

However, the pound is clearly the currency of choice, but we have to accept the dangers. Even if Scotland were represented on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee its voice would be barely heard. Scotland has less than one tenth of the population of England, Wales and Northern Ireland so would, I imagine, be represented accordingly, so there is little likelihood of Scotland's desires being met if they conflict with those of the majority?

Also, imagine a scenario, rather far-fetched I know, where the remainder of the UK is faced with a real financial crisis such as that of Black Wednesday in 1992 or that of 1967 when Harold Wilson devalued the pound. Even if Scotland had no part in this imagined crisis, nevertheless the value of every Scot's pound would also be devalued irrespective of Scotland's economic success or not. To delegate such power over one's currency to a foreign nation is madness.

Iain MacDonald,

Herdsmanshill, Knockbuckle Lane, Kilmacolm.

YOU report Alasdair Gray as telling his audience: "This will be the third referendum, and at each of the past referendums, the vote for Scottish independence has increased" ("Gray encouraged by No camp's promises", The Herald, August 14).

For a polymath, this is surprising ignorance, as the two previous referendums were, in fact, both on proposals for devolution.

Nor is this mere pedantry, unless the verdict of the Scottish public is to be dismissed as a matter of mere mistaken identity, or that the settled will of the Scottish people for devolution was not that at all, but a Trojan Horse for independence (which was certainly not on the ballot paper).

On the contrary, in 1997 the people of Scotland voted for - and the late Donald Dewar and the Labour Government delivered - a Scottish Parliament with powers over Scotland's domestic affairs, services and institutions, supported by and within the shared security and responsibilities of the United Kingdom. The devolution referendum was specifically a vote for the best of both worlds.

A Yes vote would be an insult to the memory of Donald Dewar and to so many others who campaigned for devolution as a rational and practical alternative to independence. Conversely, a No vote is the only vote which accepts and honours their efforts, and the verdict of Scots in those earlier referendums.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road,



WHEN are Labour supporters such as Maria Fyfe (Letters, August 14) , going to accept that their Labour Party was moved from left of centre, to the right of centre by Tony Blair, and has firmly remained there ever since?

Despite a small lead in the polls just now, the voters of Middle England are never going to elect Ed Miliband as Prime Minister next year, and it's always the voters of middle England who decide the UK election.

Nothing wrong with that, it's just democracy. Around 40 per cent of the population live in the greater London area and the south-east, and as Mrs Thatcher realised, she could easily secure a large majority from the seats south of Watford. The ordinary people from the north didn't matter to her, as was evident from her policies.

I feel heart sorry for people suffering the excesses of Tory policies in Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, and so on, but at least we are in the fortunate position of being able to doing something about it.

I'm at a loss to understand how Labour supporters, such as Maria Fyfe, can accept Johann Lamont, who supports tuition fees, as a Labour leader. Or Anas Sarwar, who supports private education, as her deputy. And what do Labour supporters think of all those "people champions" such as John Prescott, Jack McConnell, Helen Liddell and more all sitting cosily in the House of Lords ?

Labour supporters need to realise that the SNP have long since replaced Labour as the Centre-Left party. They need to take their Labour Party back from the self-interested hypocrites who are in charge.

But much more importantly, they need to vote Yes on September 18. A No vote will condemn Scots to another five years of either a Tory government or a Tory-led coalition, which is the same thing as we've seen over the past four years. Now is the time for the Labourites to grasp the big picture.

J McFadyen,

Holburn Street,


MARIA Fyfe's letter to The Herald brings to the fore an omission in the SNP's managing of the independence argument. Ms Fyfe says women are inclined to a No vote because "they look at the Nationalist record and they are not impressed". When Scottish women and men go to the polls on September 18 they are not casting a vote for or against an independent Scotland run by the SNP. They are deciding only whether or not they want Scotland to function as an independent country. I had hoped that the SNP would make that distinction clearer.

Should the Scottish electorate vote for independence, then who will run this independent country will be entirely up to votes cast in a general election. But one thing Scottish voters can be certain of is that whether they consider themselves Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green, Nationalist, or a member of any other political group, whichever one they support will be run in Scotland and for Scotland and its people's interests. In the existing political situation, only the SNP can make that claim. The henchmen of the other political parties must bend the knee to the London masters.

Unfortunately, as a Scottish-American (born, raised and educated in Scotland) who spends less than six months each year in Scotland at this time, I am ineligible to vote in the referendum. My best wishes to everyone who turns out to cast their vote. Regardless of the result you will have done your part in helping to determine the future of this country.

Marion C White,

East Princes Street,


I HAVE noticed a change in the rhetoric emanating from the No campaign in the last few days. After the televised debate they all seem to have decided that a No vote is now a certainty and are no longer suggesting more powers be transferred to Holyrood but instead appear to be competing to see who can punish the Scots for their temerity to seek to control their own destiny. Colleagues in England have explained the reason for this change, which is the fact that virtually every Scot interviewed by the media is a confirmed No voter.

From Alastair Carmichael to John Redwood to Boris Johnson it seems they cannot wait to ensure that Scotland will receive significantly less from Westminster's coffers and enthusiastically perpetuate the myth of Scotland leeching off English taxpayers.

In spite of Maria Fyfe's tenuous assertion, most of the female voters I have spoken to have expressed fear of the unknown in an independent Scotland.

I am amazed that they believe that Westminster will behave any more positively towards Scotland and given the utterances of Boris Johnson, their fear should be directed towards how much more London-centric the UK will become. The only way to ensure a positive future is to vote Yes, but are we bold enough to grasp that particular nettle?

David Stubley,

22 Templeton Crescent,