IT surely must be understood that any future independence referendum in Scotland depends on two important factors. First, permission to hold a lawful referendum must be obtained under statute, viz the Scotland Act 1998, by which a formal request can be made to the UK Government at Westminster. And secondly, if such authority is granted, then the outcome will only alter if the electorate of Scotland have changed their minds from the result recorded in the 2014 Referendum.

To date all we, the majority of the electorate, have observed is the bluster of a radical political party and its flag-waving, tartan-clad, woad-painted supporters at rallies and on marches. I'm not quite sure what all this re-enactment of the ancient Picts or Caledonians is about. Such events have little effect on those of us who generally make their voting decisions on a broader, less emotional, political basis.

Competence in government, a strong economy and rational debate about current affairs are the criteria by which most of the electorate try to make the decision of which political party they will vote for at elections. There is certainly no room for historical sentiment, or 300-year-old grudges.

Sir John Curtice, a notable expert on electoral polls, has indicated that there is no sign that support for Scottish independence has increased; indeed it is thought to have fallen to below 40 per cent.

Various aspects of the SNP's plans for an independent Scotland have come under scrutiny recently. It has been warned that selling the idea of a new currency as part of its demand for a second independence referendum would be a "substantial task". In one poll by Progress Scotland a Scottish currency was only favoured by six per cent. In any case how credible would a new currency be with Scotland's current £13 billion deficit – equating to circa eight per cent of GDP?

What the majority of Scots voters really want is good government at Westminster, and also at Holyrood. They fully believe there is a need for both, but obviously with different duties and responsibilities.

The current position at Holyrood is unacceptable with a minority SNP administration deciding on policies relating to Scotland, backed by a largely unelected Green Party, when it is to their advantage. The sooner the electorate of Scotland make moves to change this unacceptable position the better for all.

Robert IG Scott,

Northfield, Ceres, Fife.

NICOLA Sturgeon was on firm ground with the start of her long-awaited announcement, as she set out her frustrations with the Brexit process. Much of that dissatisfaction is shared across the political spectrum, no matter how people voted in the EU referendum ("Nicola Sturgeon planning Indyref2 before 2021 ballot", The Herald, April 25).

Where she started to part company with the majority of people in Scotland was in claiming Brexit as a trigger for calling a second independence referendum. Back in 2014 the SNP at least had the pretence of a case to put to us all, even if as insiders have subsequently revealed, significant elements were based more on what they thought people wanted to hear rather than realism. Yet just now all of Scotland is well aware that the independence movement is nowhere near agreement amongst themselves over the key ingredients of a plan for a Scotland outside the UK, including fundamentals like the currency, economic strategy, and membership of the EU.

In the light of that, the First Minister’s plan to hold a second referendum by May in 2021 is no more than playing to the nationalist gallery ahead of this weekend’s SNP conference. She knows that the UK Government has no choice but to say no to the transfer of the powers to hold another referendum, not least because there is no popular majority support for a referendum re-run in Scotland, so she simply starts preparations regardless, putting necessary legislation in place, and setting up cross-party discussions and a Citizens Assembly to feign an inclusive approach, when in fact she is indulging in an act of pure political theatre.

Keith Howell,

White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.

Read more: Derek Mackay refuses to rule out second independence referendum if Brexit cancelled

IT is a shame that Nicola Sturgeon did not think of setting up Citizens Assemblies immediately after the 2014 referendum, when such bodies could have been instrumental in forging a consensus around the outcome of that vote.

As it is, they may be better late than never, although their success will depend on how representative they are of the population as a whole.

This must mean that they will comprise 55 per cent No voters and 45 per cent Yes voters. Anything else will be a fiddle, plain and simple.

Peter A Russell,

87 Munro Road, Jordanhill, Glasgow.

THE latest statement by the First Minister about another referendum on independence on the back of the chaos of an impending bad Brexit is, in my view, an attempt at delivering her dream by sleight of hand.

To try to deliver the SNP's dream on the back of a bad Brexit surely demeans the Scottish electorate and has the appearance of a con trick which could blow back in her face.

Surely a more open, honest and safer route to achieving her objective would be to wait until the dust of Brexit settles before reigniting her ambitions in this regard.

W MacIntyre,

32 Dunlin, East Kilbride.

THE latest refusal of the UK Government, apparently supported by the Labour Party, to grant a Section 30 Order merely shows that the UK is more anti-democratic than the EU, which did not refuse the UK's right to hold a referendum.

Due to the changed circumstance of being dragged out of the EU against our will, our Scottish Parliament has supported demands for a second independence referendum and the SNP holds two election mandates.

Will those who oppose the democratic right of Scots to vote on their future accept Margaret Thatcher's view that a majority of SNP MPs elected to Westminster constitutes a mandate for independence?

Scotland entered into the Union after the passing of the English Parliament's Alien Act of 1705, which threatened that all Scottish estates held in England by non-residents were to be considered as alien property in law unless the Scottish Parliament had entered into treaty negotiations by Christmas Day 1705. In addition, an embargo was to be placed on major Scottish products being imported into England.

Contrary to the claim made on Wednesday night's BBC Newsnight programme, the Scottish Treasury had no debt in 1707 as it was individual investors who lost money through the Darien Scheme but now we are charged £3.6 billion a year through Gers as a share of interest on the UK's massive national debt.

Scotland is one of the most highly educated nations in Europe and the value of Scottish natural capital is estimated to be a massive £273 billion, so why do some think we are incapable of running our own affairs?

Fraser Grant,

Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.