JILL Stephenson’s spirited praise of the Union, and her attack on the SNP, stands in stark contrast to the other letters under the heading “Brown’s bid to save the Union is doomed” (July 19).

Her analysis of the income tax situation is flawed. For more than 25 years, the official publication Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) was unable to provide credible tax figures for Scotland – instead using estimates, guesstimates and assessments, so, when the Calman and Smith Commissions decreed the new devolved tax responsibility to Holyrood, it was predictable and predicted – not least by me – that there would be problems when faced by the reality. The basic question was: if the budgetary estimate figure was overstated, and there was a shortfall, would we have access back to the block grant to cover the error? And so it is – how could it be otherwise (“Scotland’s budget faces shortfall of £200 million next year", The Herald, July 19)?

When Gordon Brown was Chancellor during Labour’s 13 years (a Unionist party), he borrowed at around £30 billion per year, leaving, in 2010, an accumulated £160bn of budgetary deficit – on day-to-day running costs. Allegedly, Scotland “benefited” from that. Consequently, we also “benefited” when the incoming Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition – both Unionist parties – had to implement the cuts required to pay off Gordon Brown’s profligacy. So, it was iniquitous for Unionist parties to attempt to saddle the SNP with all of the blame for that. Furthermore, it fell outwith any rational definition of “austerity”. Arguably, his borrowing must have covered also the cost of implementing his “free” TV licences for those over 75 years’ of age.

Douglas R Mayer, Currie.

JILL Stephenson (Letters, July 19) asserts that we are "better off" in the Union and those who are "infused with nationalist propaganda and say we are not live in cloud cuckoo land". I well remember the Scottish devolution referendum of 1997 when the Conservative Party, infused with Unionist propaganda, opposed the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, claiming it "would leave Scotland isolated in the UK". Twenty years on, nobody is isolated in the UK, but Scotland faces the real danger of being isolated from the EU.

Scotland is not better off being dragged out of the EU against our will, we are not better off having Tory governments we haven't voted for since 1955 being imposed upon us, and we are most certainly not better off with the UK's Trident weapons of mass destruction housed 25 miles from Glasgow, with each Trident warhead six times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Independence is normality for most countries in the world and it is time Scotland threw the cuckoo Westminster governments out of our nest, and embraced normality.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

WITH Scottish Tory MPs making a "pledge of loyalty" following a recent meeting with Boris Johnson, this is surely a humiliating about-turn especially for Ruth Davidson and David Mundell. The rift between the Scottish Tory leaders and the man who is about to become their Prime Minister is obviously over.

Now Sir Nick Clegg, formerly deputy prime minister and leader of the LibDems pronounced that English nationalism would lead to the break-up of the Union. His comments came in an interview with the New Statesman: "It seems to me that the clock is now ticking for the end of the Union of the United Kingdom". He went on to say that the Conservative Party is becoming a divisive, right -ing English Nationalist Party in view of its Brexit obsession.

However it was a joy to hear from Brussels how truly European Scotland is from the maiden speech of one of Scotland's new MEPs in the European Parliament. Christian Allard, a French citizen and a former member of the Scottish Parliament introduced himself as "100 per cent Scottish, 100 per cent French and 100 per cent European". He further went on to extol the international virtues of freedom of movement for people and goods and the sharing of common values; none of which has been reported in much of the Unionist press.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

IAN Lakin (Letters, July 19) is very critical of Iain Macwhirter, accusing him of doing a “character assassination” of Boris Johnston which was unnecessary, Mr Johnston managing that by himself.

The wonderful trade deal Mr Lakin refers to with the US will definitely be wonderful for the US; as far as Mr Trump is concerned he dictates a “good” deal that suits the US, but not necessarily the UK.

Mr Lakin then gives a glowing report on an article by Andy Maciver ("Don't panic, there's hope for the Union in Johnson as PM", the Herald, July 18)which was much more nuanced; as Mr Maciver is a former spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives I would expect no less. This is not a criticism of Mr Maciver.

Jim Lynch, Edinburgh EH12.

IT is a little incongruous to see some rushing to claim the moral high ground as they condemn the latest outrageous statements from one contentious political leader, whilst ignoring their own contributions to corrosive public debate. Perhaps attempting to divide the people of Scotland with a daily diet of anti-UK sentiment has become so ingrained amongst the SNP leadership that they now view it as acceptable, but hopefully the majority of us still recognise the dispiriting narrative of identity politics for what it is.

Keith Howell, West Linton.

AS Theresa May heads out of the Downing Street bunker for the last time it remains a great and mighty wonder how someone so inept, unsuited and ill at ease, so devoid of authority, charisma or capacity, could remain there for so long.

What is truly alarming is her successor is likely to be worse. Boris Johnson may communicate better with a certain kind of Brit but his chutzpah isn't a strategy. He was a disaster as foreign secretary and to the international community he's a buffoon.

He hasn't a clue how to cut a deal nor how to proceed if none appears. It seems that the Tory rump believes what we need in this crisis is Bertie Wooster. Trapped in the afterglow of the Second World War they think the EU owes us something – no chance.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

Read more: Letters: Brown’s bid to save the Union is doomed