THAT the supply of medicines cannot be guaranteed in the event of a no-deal EU exit was just one of numerous evidence-free claims made by Mike Russell on BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland recently ("Russell warns medicines can’t be guaranteed under no deal", The Herald, July 15). Fortunately, the president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Ash Soni, took time out on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland to castigate Russell.

The most disturbing aspect of Mr Russell's fake news claims is not the fact that he genuinely believes them, but that he makes no mention of the extensive preparatory labour of the hundreds of civil servants who have been working diligently for more than two years to ensure readiness for a No Deal EU exit. No mention of the dedicated preparatory efforts of Steve Baker, Chris Heaton-Harris, and their colleagues at the Brexit Department. No mention either of the very extensive work on the other side of Channel by Xavier Bertrand (President of the Hauts-de-France region of France) and his team in the Hauts-de-France region, with the French Government's local administration, to ensure the ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, as well as Eurotunnel and airports, have 100 per cent fluidity on day one in the event of no-deal Brexit. In Lille, M. Bertrand brought together hundreds of businesses, from various European countries, to talk with British and French customs and civil servants. And finally, not a cherry-picking word from Mr Russell about mechanisms now in place to ensure supplies of vital medicines. It is easier to believe a lie than search for the truth.

Doug Clark, Currie.

IN its own version of its own slogan, Project Fear, the SNP warns of the threat of drug shortages post-Brexit. If anyone on the pro-UK side of politics had issued an equivalent and shameful and fear-mongering warning, just imagine the faux nationalist outrage.

Coincidentally, at the same time as their latest fear mongering, it is revealed that Scotland, under the SNP, is fast becoming the "drugs deaths capital’’ of the planet. Its spinners will be madly trying to find out how this human tragedy can somehow be blamed on Westminster.

No doubt there are many reasons for the startling increase in these horrific deaths but an SNP administration, fixated on breaking up the UK and citizens assemblies and anything that may aid its search for the Holy Grail – leaving little or no time for the day job – does not help.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

NEIL Mackay rightly rejects the idea of pursuing a route to independence outside of the law ("Nationalists’ Plan B means a world of pain for the SNP", The Herald, July 16). Any route that smacks of pronouncing UDI is a bad look for a Government that wants to be taken seriously on the international stage.

Yet Mr Mackay’s suggestion that the Scottish Government go to the Supreme Court or the European Court to try to overrule a UK Government refusal to grant a section 30 order for a second independence referendum is equally likely to end badly. He says “it’s hard to see any court flouting the democratic will of the Scottish people”, but that is surely the wishful thinking of an independence supporter.

First, the court is likely to conclude that this matter is outside of its competence, with the decision to issue a section 30 order or not one that is fully the right of the UK Government. Secondly, any court will in any case be disinclined to get involved when, based on opinion polls, it is far from clear that there is majority support for having another referendum anytime soon. If such support were already overwhelming, then perhaps a court might be tempted, but instead, it is only the will of independence supporters that is being frustrated, not the will of the people of Scotland as a whole.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

LIKE Neil Mackay I am not a member of the SNP, but would like Scotland to be a self-governing country; the international norm. Some points around his article, however.

Plan B is not an original idea. It was first promulgated by Margaret Thatcher as the route to Scottish independence, and as such would be difficult for Unionists to argue was “bullying and illegal”. All elections in Scotland for some years, driven by Unionists, have been fought only around independence and a referendum. The Supreme Court would certainly follow the English concept of constitutional law, and find Westminster sovereign. It's why (in my view) the Supreme Court was established: to override the Scottish constitutional view of “sovereignty of the people”. It’s time the Scottish media put pressure on Unionist politicians to give us their alternative to a second referendum, given many thought a second EU referendum was OK.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

SO enthusiastic is Martin Redfern (Letters, July 13) with his obsession to denigrate First minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, that he lets exaggeration of the rhetoric get in the way of the actuality– even his frequent use of the conditional-tense phrase “it would seem. . .” does not get him off the hook.

First, historically, it was Scotland being subjected to a Westminster government (Conservative) when it had voted otherwise (Labour) that was the main driver of the movement towards independence. Devolution, it was said, would kill nationalism stone dead – so what went wrong? Well, for a start, Tony Blair likened it to a parish council, so it can only be a stepping stone.

But the flaws in Mr Redfern’s proposition are that it was not the nationalists that lost the 2014 independence referendum, but the Yes campaign, which reflected non-nationalists too. And is he seriously suggesting that when a new first minister, or even a prime minister, is appointed as governing party leader, there should be a general election, which is the consequence of his assertion?

Douglas R Mayer, Currie.

YOUR article about the impact of Boris Johnson's proposed reduction in rUK stamp duty on the willingness of people to remain in or move to Scotland ("Johnson property tax plans could be 'disaster' for Scots", The Herald, July 13) highlights the problems the SNP has in adjusting taxes – especially income tax – while being joined at the hip with the UK.

This is a situation that won't change with independence when, I assume, close economic ties and freedom of movement will be a main foundation of any SNP manifesto and subsequent treaty.

Far better to remain in the UK with harmonised fiscal policy and the equalising effect of the Barnet formula which compensates for regional variations, the benefits of which are obvious in the GERS reports which show Scotland's notional "deficit" is in effect an overdraft guaranteed by rUK which enables the Scottish Government to claim we balance our books every year.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

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