IAN W Thomson (Letters, February 2) claims that uncertainty of events will keep Scotland within the UK, and asks who could have predicted the awful events in the Middle East and the rise of Islamic State. But the mess that part of the world is in is due in no small measure to the UK opening a catastrophic can of worms when it attacked Iraq and continued waging an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. The UK's foreign policies over many years have of course been largely dictated by the United States, and frankly, the very thought of the “special relationship” continuing with some of the current would-be occupants of the White House has shivers running down my spine.

An independent Scotland would not have bombed Iraq, and it would not be bombing Syria. As for North Sea oil revenues referred to by Mr Thomson, it makes my eyes water to think of Scotland's missed opportunity; 40 years of an oil fund, of using our oil revenues to help build a fair and prosperous country, a country which didn't dangerously squander its money on nuclear weapons, a country without food banks.

Scotland voted to remain in the UK because it was bombarded by a campaign drenched in negativity and with fear and lies at its very heart, just as 40 years before, when the McCrone Report which confirmed that Scotland could be a successful independent country, was suppressed.

Scotland has a shared history and many strong links with the rest of the UK, and the social union will continue. But surely nobody seriously believes that Scots voters will keep putting up with the incontrovertible fact that no matter how Scotland votes, we will always get the governments England elects. There is only one way to ensure that Scotland gets democratic government and its own voice at the United Nations, and that is to regain our independence. We must have a second referendum, and second time around, ignore the lies, and get it right.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road, Stirling.

SO “Labour will raise income tax cuts for all and halt savage SNP cuts” (“Labour to demand 1p income tax for everyone”, The Herald, February 2). Scottish Labour still doesn’t seem to get it – these are not SNP cuts but Tory cuts by a UK austerity government. So, under Labour we in Scotland would continue to give Westminster more tax per head than across the rest of the UK, get handed back less in Tory cuts and then have to pay more tax under Scottish Labour to make up a shortfall. How is that fair to Scotland?

It’s a dog’s breakfast but it brings us one small step closer to independence.

Blair Allan,

2 Glasdrum Grove, Fort William.

I NOTE with interest that Liz Lochhead is to step down as Scotland's Makar, or national poet (“Search is launched for new Makar”, The Herald, February 1. The following is my own application for the vacancy:

In Sturgeon’s Scotland, she’ll heal the halt and lame

It’s the Nicola Health Service –she’ll tak' credit but no' tak the blame;

In Sturgeon’s Scotland, our clarion call is “hope over fear”

To show it, a convicted perjurer holds a rally every year;

In Sturgeon’s Scotland, we’ll get wealth from a Money Tree

We’ll pay more tax and be skint, but unicorns will come free;

In Sturgeons’ Scotland, neither your record nor manifesto counts

All we need for politics is a loudhailer and “Red-Blue-LibDem Tories Out!”

In Sturgeon’s Scotland, we invented the wheel and fire and phone

And if we don’t like reality, we just invent our own;

In Sturgeon’s Scotland, we eat our flag as daily bread

We’re all Jock Tamson’s brainless Bairns, since the

Referendum turned our heads.

Please note that I also have other civic-minded pieces available, including a popular verse on the Holyrood Independence Camp entitled Camp Stupid.

Peter A Russell,

Poet and Tragedian,

87 Munro Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow.