TO paraphrase Mark Twain’s comment, “if democracy worked they wouldn’t let us have it”. The premise behind democracy is that it prevents society being ruled by a wealthy powerful elite while eliminating potential mob-rule. As there is no such thing as consistent public opinion, it would be best for all of us if politicians were better-informed and smarter than the average bear. At present they simply do not appear to be. Collectively MPs cannot accurately reflect the demographic structure of society else half of them would be below average intelligence although sometimes I think this is actually the case. Likewise they should be consistent in their decisions, law-abiding and trustworthy. This is not always true and we all could offer examples to demonstrate this.

Two incidents on Sunday (October 20) highlight my conviction that democracy as we experience it is simply a sophisticated form of crowd control and its function and direction is manipulated at a higher level. Firstly Dominic Raab, who despite him having been the Brexit supremo who overlooked the existence of the English Channel was elevated to become our latest temporary Foreign Secretary, states that “Parliament can’t muzzle the PM”. The inference being that irrespective of the views and wishes of the majority of our elected representatives the decisions of an unelected Prime Minister will be forced through.

The second incident took place in Spain when the military quietly announced that if the civilian authorities don’t sort out the protests in Catalonia quickly they will. According to the Spanish military this action would be in accordance with similar plans in other Nato member countries.

As one who seeks Scottish independence with an eye on what is happening in Spain and history standing witness to what took place in Ireland a century ago, I fear that the lack of true democracy in the UK bodes ill for Scottish separatists even if we are in the majority.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

I NORMALLY agree with Kevin Mackenna, but I cannot quite follow his latest article (“The SNP is now a major obstacle to independence”, The Herald, October 19).

He writes: “As the wider Scottish independence movement continues to reap a rich harvest from Brexit the SNP, it seems, is determined to burn it." He believes that it should somehow be ignoring the battle at Westminster and just let them get on with it. The hard fact is that Scotland is still a member of the United Kingdom or whatever we like to call it, and we are governed by their rules. We have to win the political fight, marches are morale-boosting, but ignored by Westminster. The Irish found that more than 100 years ago, but we have no wish to go that way.

The people of Scotland do not expect us to stand blithely aside while the UK does what it likes to Scotland.

Mr Mackenna also criticises Nicola Sturgeon for not allowing a debate on Plan B – this advocated by members who want to make a name for themselves. Plan B is an admission that Plan A has failed, and it is as yet untried.

I have been around a few years, and in fact was on the agenda committee at the Ayr Conference in 1982 when Gordon Wilson banned groups within the SNP; I remember keenly the alcohol-free Friday night before we met to discuss Gordon’s resolution – sair at an SNP conference in those days. I also well remember political journalist Chris Baur saying then that the 1979 referendum was the last kick of a dying horse., another columnist who got that wrong.

Independence is not sitting on a shelf waiting for us to lift it off; a Tory hard-right Government is determined to hold on to us come what may, and there is no quick and easy way to avoid this situation. One possibility is a Labour Government which may require support to rule, but Mr Corbyn does not show much sign of bringing that about.

Internal dissent is not unknown in the SNP; there was the 55 Group, before my time in the SNP then the 1320 Group, Siol nan Gaidheal, and following that the 79 Group. I never joined any of them, but the 79 Group time was nasty; the SNP survived. The marches emerged from the SNP, and are spontaneous, their existence gladdens my heart.

Jim Lynch, Edinburgh EH12.

AS a former police officer, I have an ingrained belief in law and order and, where there is confrontation, I normally find myself supportive of the men and women in uniform. Not so currently when I witness events in Catalonia (“Spanish civil disobedience movement is stronger now”, The Herald, October 21).

What does the Spanish Government hope to achieve using its courts to imprison people with differing political views and its police to batter demonstrators on the streets? Surely history shows us that violence and oppression can never win? Where are the loud cries of condemnation from our own co