IF Nicola Sturgeon had been successful in her previous job of Referendum Minister in persuading a majority of Scots to vote Yes to independence she would now, thanks to her party's general economic illiteracy and in particular their inability to understand the workings of the oil market, be First Minister of a bankrupt nation.

It was therefore with some astonishment that I read your front-page headline ("Sturgeon's £180bn austerity ultimatum to Westminster", The Herald, February 12).

Two things struck me. First, the aforementioned economic incompetence on the Scottish economy surely disqualifies the Nationalists from making any credible analysis of the UK or any other economy, let alone demands for action based on their forecasts. The only admirable thing about Ms Sturgeon's ultimatum is the sheer brass neck required to make it while managing to keep a straight face

I was also struck by the level of arrogance shown by Ms Sturgeon's blithe assumption that, having lost the referendum, the SNP is about to win the General Election: a presumption that shows a measure of contempt for the Scottish electorate worthy of her predecessor Alex Salmond.

Given the actual outcome of the referendum (as opposed to earlier opinion polling) Ms Sturgeon would be well advised to keep her threats and demands until the votes are counted. She should also attempt to disguise her contempt for the electorate: they have a tendency to punish such hubris where they see it too obviously displayed. Disguising or obscuring her party's inability to understand basic economics is another matter. If I was her I wouldn't bother to try.

Alex Gallagher,

12 Phillips Avenue, Largs.

IT is hard to take Nicola Sturgeon's economic proposals seriously, as she was one of the major proponents of a fantasy independence proposal which would have reduced us to penury. At best, Scotland would have been a vassal in an asymmetrical currency union, with public finances founded on oil prices of at least $113 per barrel but with revenues accruing from around $50 per barrel.

However, by way of being helpful, I will pass on the advice of my late grandmother, who managed a household budget of genuine poverty in the 1930s: "only borrow when and what you need to, and pay it back as soon as you can. Don't live on tick."

I am sure this will resonate with many of your readers who can recognise sound good sense, and who will reject Sturgeonomics as yet more fantasy and wishful thinking.

Peter A. Russell,

87 Munro Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow.

IF you took the UK's national debt in pound coins and stacked them up on top of each other the pile would go past the moon and 720,000 miles plus out into space. That's what £1.4 trillion pounds UK debt looks like and that really is an economic black hole. The interest alone on a debt that is increasing at the rate of more than £12million per hour is more than £55billion annually.

The economic black hole that the UK is being sunk under would of course be a lot worse of course if it had not had 40 years of oil revenues to squander. None of these oil revenues came to Scotland. They all went to London and we got a wee bit back, just the same per head as everybody else in the UK. So to suggest that Scotland faces a black hole in its finances because it isn't getting oil revenues it never has had is an argument that most sensible Scots saw through a long time ago.

Dave McEwan Hill,

1 Tom Nan Ragh, Dalinlongart, Sandbank, Argyll.