OWEN Kelly (Letters, July 9) seems to feel it is his duty to defend the principal aim of the SNP and in particular, the current strategy employed by the First Minister to meet that end. His own tactic seems to be to dial down the effect of the constant and tiresome rhetoric regarding the SNP cry for Scottish independence and the negative impact on our lives.

I view the issue however as not only a malignant threat, but also feel that the First Minister and her party have almost created a nation under siege. This war of attrition which characterises the SNP is destabilising our nation and I consider does huge damage to Scotland's potential as a safe place to invest in. Mr Kelly takes a rather generous and benign view of a “gradualist outlook”, but is perhaps inaccurate when foreign visitors have to witness flag-waving and marching from tartan-clad inflexible SNP supporters.

READ MORE: SNP veteran: Holyrood needs MSPs with more backbone 

Theresa May, the outgoing Prime Minister, will perhaps be remembered harshly on her efforts to establish the will of the people through the Brexit negotiations. However I would prefer that she be remembered as a PM who viewed democracy as sacrosanct. The First Minister and her cohort however will more likely go down in history as people who defied democracy and treated the voting public in Scotland with contempt and intimidation.

In his inaugural address, the late JF Kennedy famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. The Scottish Government should be concentrating on public service and how it can dutifully contribute to the common good within the context of the whole of a thriving United Kingdom.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

WHEN the SNP had a mere handful of seats at Westminster, Margaret Thatcher said that if the SNP won a majority of Scottish seats that would provide an independence mandate.

As the UK Cabinet Office has refused to publish a taxpayer-funded poll on attitudes to independence, we can only hope there is yet another Whitehall civil service leak to show the extent of the Yes lead.

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Since the poll was conducted, the UK Government has stepped up its hostility to a second referendum for which, unlike the Brexit People's Vote, there is an electoral mandate and started to diminish the devolution settlement under a "review" headed by an unelected Tory Lord.

In addition to not being "allowed" to hold a second independence referendum, Jeremy Hunt says any future Prime Minister should rule out handing any further devolved powers to Holyrood and following the Brexit power grab of devolved powers the rebranded UK Government in Scotland, formerly the Scotland Office, is on active manoeuvres to bypass our Scottish Parliament through direct funding of devolved areas from London.

Mr Hunt wants Ruth Davidson and Scottish Tory MPs in his negotiating team with the EU, plus the DUP, while ruling out our First Minister and the Scottish Government.Make no mistake, Scotland and devolution is going to be put back into its box after Brexit.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh EH11.

ROBERT I G Scott (Letters, July 9) avers that Scotland must remain attached to England as, his example, among others unspecified, "our" whisky industry is largely in Diageo's hands with its head office in London. Thus a future Scottish Exchequer could have taxation difficulties.

Is this the same country where large swathes of its gas, electricity, railways, airports, water, banks, car industry (the shell), are foreign-owned? It even needed the French government to say if England could build a nuclear power station.

Scotland by association with England is, in many of those fields, in the same situation, unfortunately.

The UK used to have an aircraft industry, now Airbus is known in many spheres as French, we do make some bits, though. What else did we have? Steel, aluminium, shipping lines, fast food outlets, and on and on. We wrecked our own shipyards, though.

I think with Scotland's different political and social background we on our own might not have got ourselves just as entrenched with foreign ownership.

Perhaps if we looked back at the time when engineers, not accountants, built most of the UK, i.e. all of the above, we could return, as our universities continue their outstanding work and we maintain the pride in our country.

JA Taylor, Dunlop.

CAN I be alone in being somewhat befuddled as to what the purpose is of the so called Citizens Assembly which the Scottish Government is presently racing towards establishing?

We already have a 129-member “citizens assembly” at Holyrood and a “citizens assembly” in each of our 32 local councils, for all of which we taxpayers pay dearly. Surely these existing “assemblies” should be more than sufficient to represent the people in the country?

Could it be that this “initiative” is an admission that the existing “assemblies” are failing to address the real issues facing the country? If so, then why do we need them?

GM Lindsay, Kinross.

HARRY Monroe (letters, July 8) complains about SNP leaders "stamping their feet" if they do not get what they want, but I would suggest that it is precisely because the Conservative Party has been stamping its feet that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will, and the SNP has been trying since the 2016 EU referendum to minimise the damage that will cause to Scotland. As for Mr Monroe's contention that they "bore us with Indyref because they do not understand co-operation", there has been precious little co-operation coming from the out-going Prime Minister and those who would succeed her, all of whom behave as though Scotland is a prisoner and would deny the Scottish electorate the right to choose their future in this vastly different political scenario into which Scotland has been put by these self-same politicians and their ilk.

Mr Monroe claims that the SNP cannot provide safety in the streets and a good education, but I would remind him that serious crime in Scotland is down 46 per cent since the SNP came to power, and under the SNP's policy of no university tuition fees, record numbers of students are going to university from our most deprived communities.

And it would seem that Scots voters don't share Mr Monroe's wish that the SNP "should be removed at the ballot box" given that the SNP continues to poll strongly in the opinion polls and topped the poll the last time voters went to the ballot box at the EU elections in May.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

IT was with surprise and great sadness that I noted that that the European Commission has closed its office in Alva Street in Edinburgh after being there for 44 years. I believe its functions are now to be based in London. With the demands for a second independence referendum seemingly increasing, I do wonder what the EU's commitment to Scotland really is.

Donna McBeath Smith, Edinburgh EH2.

Read more: Letters: Sturgeon is taking the right strategic line