MICHAEL Settle's interview with David Mundell on Scottish devolution (“'Holyrood can ask for Indyref2... London has the right to say no'”, The Herald, May 14) simply cements the belief of many that the very existence of a parliament in Scotland continues to rankle with the Scottish Secretary and his party.

The opposition of the Conservative Party to devolution 20 years ago emanated from a colonial fear of allowing the natives ideas above their station which could lead to Scotland eventually breaking away from the control of Westminster. From reading the article on Mr Mundell it appears that his obsession with the perils of Scottish independence continues unabated and that he uses his interview as a platform to, in the main, criticise Scottish governments of the last 12 years.

At no point does our Scottish Secretary offer to discuss contributions made to our devolved assembly by the Scottish Conservative Party. That is because, in short, there are none.

From being initially termed a "pretendy parliament” by the London-based Billy Connolly, our Scottish Parliament has matured and acquired a gravitas that individuals like Mr Mundell, blessed as he is with a limited proactive imagination, could never foresee taking place. The Scottish Parliament has instilled a tangible sense of self-belief in young Scots who were told for generations that all the decisions about the future of our country had to be made in London. Though Scottish Conservatives and their supporters will not admit it, the days of Scotland being dismissed as an outpost or defined as a region of England have gone. For the first time in modern Scottish history, devolution has forced us to take ourselves seriously within the United Kingdom and to contemplate where self-empowerment could lead us in the future.

Mr Mundell and the Scottish Conservatives are stuck in a rose-tinted, jingoistic past of their own creation. Scotland is a young, modern and inclusive country which now looks to the future with promise. In no small measure this is thanks to devolution.

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

WHY would a Scottish Secretary of State support a Prime Minister determined to take Scotland out of the EU when the Scottish people voted to remain?

Dave Biggart,


TWENTY years after its creation, the Scottish Parliament can justifiably claim to offer a better model than its Westminster counterpart with its outdated, antagonistic culture and archaic rituals cruelly exposed these past three years. However, that is setting the bar too low for effective comparison.

The Scottish Parliament has brought decisions closer to the people, provided some defence against ill-judged austerity and introduced some progressive policies such as the smoking ban, the drinks container deposit scheme now being introduced and others. On the debit side however, it has merely replaced the centralisation of London with the centralisation of Edinburgh and of power. It is proving increasingly timid and even regressive in forging new policies, for example, continued priority to roads investment, the resistance to reform of local taxation and others.

Since all politics is local, the fact that my own community, Levenmouth has suffered steep relative decline over these two decades, the tough conclusion is that our devolved parliament has not actually worked for left-behind areas. It really must try a lot harder.

Neil Stewart, Buckhaven.

THE Tories in Scotland appear to be two parties with only a dislike of the SNP in common. The Scottish Unionists have maxed out in their appeal to the electorate as devolution progresses and IndyRef2 is kicked into the long grass. The Scottish Conservatives remain cowed and unable to put forward their more progressive policy slate as the Unionists resist the necessary step of removing fealty to the UK party.

So as the SNP again declines more powers for the Scottish Parliament, the Unionist approach is predictable criticism of the SNP. The Scottish Conservative approach would be to push for full VAT revenues (not half) to be assigned to Scotland so that the Scottish people can enjoy the benefits of such with a growing economy under the Scottish Conservatives. The Scottish Conservative approach would be to recognise that Scotland has a terrible demographic profile and to immediately use the available welfare powers to encourage a higher birth rate. The Scottish Conservative approach would be to push for the immigration quotas necessary to sustain the Scottish economy.

The lack of imagination by the dominate Unionist forces still cleaving to a Union that no longer exist in reality means an independent Scottish Conservative Party will be born out of a reaction to the coming drubbing in the European elections or reduced votes from the mortality of its supporter demographic. The alternative is to pro-actively create a Scottish centre party that puts Scotland first amongst equals. Better to lead in accepting the inevitable.

James Robb,


Read more: Holyrood does not express 'definitive view' on Scotland's future, David Mundell insists

DR Gerald Edwards (Letters, May 11) exaggerates the relative strengths of the Liberal Democrats and the Greens in the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election. In the votes for the regional members the Greens had more than six per cent of the vote while the Liberal Democrats had just more than five per cent of the votes. It would appear to me that on this occasion the six seats secured by the Greens compared to five seats secured by the Liberal Democrats was a fair reflection of the relative positions of each party.

The huge majority that Dr Edwards claims for the Liberal Democrats over the Greens only arises in the constituency votes, and can be attributed to the fact that the Greens were on the ballot paper in only three constituencies. Indeed it is quite possible that many supporters of the Green Party would have voted for the Liberal Democrats in the constituencies where there was no candidate for the Green Party.

Unless a party is going to secure 65 or more out of the 73 first past the post constituency seats then it is the regional votes that they have to concentrate upon in order to ensure success over their opponents. The Greens have largely dispensed with the constituencies since they do not have the critical mass of voters in any of the constituencies to make successful challenges.

Sandy Gemmill,

Edinburgh, EH3.

APPARENTLY the SNP is concerned its botched mailshot, and yes I got one, might annoy older voters ("SNP hit with £100,000 bill after botching start to EU campaign", The Herald, May 11). Like the waste of tonnes of resources from a party preaching the virtues of climate change perhaps?

John Dunlop,