THE quotation marks in your headline “Sturgeon 'forgets” cost of Scotland going it alone” (The Herald, June 9) are well chosen. Anyone who has read the First Minister's own Growth Commission report knows that the figure was £450 million, indeed I was shouting the number at the TV screen while the FM was so conveniently “forgetting” it. Ms Sturgeon had two years to read her report, I had a few days. Rather than managing to “forget” the number the FM was obviously trying to avoid revealing it, because the figure of £450m, while more than the £200m she favoured in 2014, is still ridiculously inadequate.

The Scottish Government has just spent £200m designing an IT system to vary benefits payments in Scotland and £180m on a system of farm payments. Ms Sturgeon is well aware of these facts. To even consider that £450m would meet the costs of the vastly greater and infinitely more complicated task of setting up an entirely new country is just plain silly. To publish the numbers in a report that you yourself commissioned and then to “forget” them when challenged in an interview is beyond belief. Unless Nicola Sturgeon didn't really forget the numbers, she was just embarrassed by their stupidity.

Brexit is such a shambles that Theresa May is unable to publish her economic framework for fear it splits her party. Ms Sturgeon has actually published her economic prospectus but the document itself is such a shambles that she is unable to defend it in public. When and how did Britain get and deserve such an inadequate level of political leadership?

Alex Gallagher,

Labour Councillor North Coast and Cumbraes, North Ayrshire Council,

12 Phillips Avenue, Largs.

RECONFIRMING the well-established preferences of the party faithful is a typical role of a political party conference, and the SNP spring conference was no exception ("Sturgeon tells faithful: Stop obsessing on date of second referendum", The Herald, June 11). The danger of course is that all the mutual reinforcement of the party line, simply ignores very relevant issues. So as the SNP sets out on a summer campaign to try to win over people to support independence on the back of grievance over Brexit, it might be rather missing the point.

If the unconvinced are more concerned about their place in the UK than the EU, no amount of agitation over Brexit is going to make any difference. Plus of course, even some of the SNP’s own core support question the sense of leaving the UK, only to seek to rejoin the EU, in the process looking to return all those powers that have been the source of so much manufactured grievance.

Given Nicola Sturgeon has spent the last year reframing the independence debate into a stark choice between the UK or the EU, her own Growth Commission has now rather burst that bubble. Its conclusions effectively make plain that an independent Scotland would not be in a fit state economically to even start the process of seeking EU membership for a decade or so. With a lengthy period outside of any economic union being an unappetising prospect for Scotland, Ms Sturgeon perhaps realises that she has got to prepare her core support for a very long wait indeed.

Keith Howell, White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.

RATHER than being "indecisive" as labelled by Alan Roden ("We need a bold First Minister, not one paralysed by indecision", The Herald, June 11), Nicola Sturgeon is being consistent. Ms Sturgeon is a canny politician and although Mr Roden contends that on the issue of a second independence referendum she has "marched her troops to the top of the hill" and remains there, I would point out that a wise general knows that being on top of the hill is a good position; it allows you to keep an eye on your foes below. However, Ms Sturgeon is not only on top of the hill, but, as Mr Roden admits, her party is also top of the opinion polls, and after 11 years in power is on course to win a fourth term at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021, suggesting that the voters appreciate the progress that is being made by the First Minister and her Cabinet under very challenging circumstances.

As Theresa May flounders towards the Brexit rocks, and Jeremy Corbyn sinks under his popularity rating of minus 30, Ms Sturgeon continues to steer a steady course towards her destination. And Ms Sturgeon has not only opinion poll ratings on her side, she has the support, confidence and trust of her members. The rapture with which members greeted their leader to the platform last Saturday was matched only by the comments I heard as I left the SNP conference after her speech; time and again I heard the phrase "we are so lucky to have her". Going by the opinion polls, Scotland thinks so too.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road, Stirling.

WITH respect, there are three fundamental flaws with Pinstripe's analysis of the SNP's Growth Commission ("Three key reasons why growth report fails to add up", Herald Business, June 11).

1. If an independent Scotland is liable for its share of the UK national debt then it should be entitled to a share of the UK's worldwide assets.

2. As the UK has the lowest economic growth in the developed world there is every reason to expect Scotland, with the full powers of a normal country, would have the expertise to match the growth of Denmark and other small European nations.

3. As for being forced to use the euro, Pinstripe is obviously unaware of Sweden which signed up for the euro 24 years ago and has no plans to replace the krona in the near future.

To equate Scotland's use of sterling with Zimbabwe is insulting and negates any presence that the article is an unbiased contribution to the debate by "a senior member of Scotland's financial services community".

Scotland can be economically successful after independence and it is up to us to then elect a government that makes sure this happens.

Fraser Grant,

61 Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.

FIRST I was branded a small minded, swivel-eyed racist bigot. Then I was a half-witted gullible ignoramus who had no idea what I was voting for; now I am a manipulated Russian stooge.

When will Remainers accept that like many other Leavers, I am a fair-minded, free-thinking, knowledgeable individual who believes that the EU is a centralising and economically protectionist cartel, which sucks the democratic free will out of all within its sphere of influence; and that the only way forward for a progressive, democratic-minded country with economic ambition is to leave.

Paul Lewis,

99 Guardwell Crescent, Edinburgh.