IT is now transparently clear from the recent Conservative Party poll results that Brexit has now attained an almost religious status in the eyes of those who see themselves as true believers (“Poll shows Tory members choose Brexit over Union”, The Herald, June 19). All pretence of reason and of previously-held accepted beliefs must be cast aside to realise the holy grail of Brexit. The Pandora’s box that David Cameron opened in the 2016 referendum has altered our political landscape for ever. Anyone who gazed in baffled wonderment at the unwillingness of President Trump's supporters to countenance rival views or attitudes must now accept that the blight of this kind of populism has reached our shores.

The fact that almost half the Conservative Party members polled said they would be happy to see Nigel Farage take over their party is both disturbing and offensive when you consider the nature of this man's political leanings and allies.

This poll and previous polls suggest that these Conservative Party members, who will have a major say in who our next Prime Minister will be, do not value Scotland as part of the UK, would be impervious to the return of violence and discord in Northern Ireland and are still gung-ho about Brexit, even if significant damage is visited upon our economy for the next generation.

Their views demonstrate a parochial, blinkered and breath-taking selfishness rarely matched in recent times. The majority of the aforesaid members are over 60 years of age and appear to care little for the unprecedented economic, social and political vandalism that those who come after them will be bequeathed. Attitudes are hardening across the country and those who desire real social democracy will not, I fear, find it in any future Conservative Government. English nationalism, fuelled by Brexit as well as an international fillip for those on the far right, must now wag the Tory party dog for the immediate political future.

Ruth Davidson's anti-independence mantra now looks hollow and isolated and Scottish Conservatives must undergo an existential self-analysis. Many Scottish voters are now disillusioned and feel impotent in the face of a future Boris Johnson premiership and its implications of American hegemony.

Independence has never looked so irresistible. The only question is: if not now, then when?

Owen Kelly, Stirling.

IAIN Macwhirter paints a rather bleak view of Scotland’s future in the UK and appears to use that to justify resorting to an independence referendum or some other means that is not founded on a legally binding agreement with the UK Government ("The new Tory regime is going to tighten Scotland’s shackles", The Herald, June 19).

It is surprising to read a serious commentator talk of "extra-legal means of securing Scottish independence". Surely the SNP leadership can wait until the fog of Brexit clears, to see if the public mood in Scotland is genuinely behind revisiting the issue of our membership of the UK. To push on when the majority opinion is against holding a vote any time soon appears to be unnecessarily provocative and likely to be self-defeating in terms of how people will vote.

I do not favour breaking up the UK, but equally I accept that majority opinion in Scotland must ultimately be respected. Yet of course, it was not so very long ago that we all put a great deal of focus on the issue of independence and gave a clear answer. Meanwhile circumstances have changed but is seems that the weight of opinion on this matter has not. For all our sakes, I hope that cooler heads in the Scottish Government manage to steer away from inflicting further and unnecessary discord on us when we are neither ready for it or wanting to compound the constitutional uncertainty of recent years.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

SOME of your columnists are working themselves into a frenzy over a rush to independence. But before we compound the disaster of Brexit by doubling down on the uncertainty likely to be caused by another referendum, let us reflect.

I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago about the mediocrity of the current crop of politicians in Scotland and across the UK. In the interim, things haven’t suddenly, dramatically improved.

The track record of the Scottish Government in dealing with newly devolved powers is mediocre: infrastructure issues, under-estimates of staff required to administer devolved powers and budgetary black holes. Do we really believe they’ll be any better when they are required to implement and administer the powers and services that independence will confer upon them?

Two wrongs do not make a right. To suggest a rush to independence, at a time when the whole of the UK is in a period of uncertainty, is plain wrong. It is wrong firstly, because the Scottish Government is not prepared for a complete break from the rest of the UK. But secondly, and more importantly, the majority of the populace still do not want to split.

Supporters of independence are loud, vocal and visible. The silent majority see no need to publicly counter these ostentatious displays of faux-Scottishness. They will turn out again at the ballot box, to vote down a break from the Union, regardless of whether Boris Johnson becomes PM or of whether or not Brexit is delivered.

JS Brennan, Glasgow G44.

NO doubt the Scottish Government will be basking in glory at the thought it has reduced alcohol consumption in Scotland ("Sales of alcohol plunge to lowest in 25 years", The Herald, June 19) This highly desirable outcome has been brought about by raising the minimum price for cheap alcohol and the consequent depressing of sales. So why not extend this concept, as it is one of the few success stories of our current administration, to other areas?

If the SNP Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, is listening, then why not reduce Scottish income tax levels and Land & Buildings Transaction Tax levels too and see that the lower the taxes, the higher the tax income received due to greater activity and productivity? The SNP might not be happy to admit this but the Tory tax policy of allowing people to keep more of what they earn is not a crime and the "attainment gap" would close naturally rather than artificially. Alternatively we can just wait until 2021 and the next Holyrood elections. What goes up, must come down (and this includes SNP poll ratings too).

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

IF the people of Scotland wish to remain part of the UK and an integral part of Europe the population needs to vote Labour. I suggest that to make this palatable to voters currently aligned to other parties, the Labour Party and the trade union movement have an urgent requirement to replace an inept Jeremy Corbyn. People have little confidence in Mr Corbyn – perceived as another Michael Foot. Hopefully the same will be true of the Tory Party faithful and this will eventually thwart Boris Johnson. My own preference for Labour leader would be Emily Thornberry, and Rory Stewart for the Tories (actually anyone rather than sleekit Boris Johnson and Michael Gove).

Robert Gemmell, Port Glasgow.

Read more: Ruth Davidson: Brexit cannot be at expense of the UK