I NOTE that Alex Neil, former member of both the Labour Party and the Scottish Labour Party before joining the SNP, is now calling for another independence referendum whether or not the UK Government agrees ("SNP veteran calls for civil disobedience if Indyref2 denied", The Herald, January 20) and for illegal forms of protest. It is difficult to understand what he is seeking to achieve with such exhortations at this time other than to secure media headlines.

To call for civil disobedience is, in effect, an incitement to break the law. Moreover, even if such an illegal referendum were to be held, the result, if in favour of independence, would be virtually meaningless and receive scant recognition, because many voters of a Unionist persuasion would decline to take part in what can only be regarded as an exercise in political futility. Mr Neil and the rest of the SNP should revisit the question of seeking the consent of the UK Government after the Scottish Parliamentary elections to be held next year, in the event of the SNP receiving in total more votes than the sum of the votes of the parties which as a matter of policy wish to maintain the Union (“Sturgeon defies PM to push on with plans for Indyref2”, The Herald, January 22.

I would suggest that Boris Johnson, Minister for the Union as he professes to be in an alter ego, would find that difficult to resist and at the same time retain credibility.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

WHAT is the Prime Minister trying to do?

This is puzzling. I read the Prime Minister's response to the First Minister's formal request for powers to hold a referendum in Scotland. He was predictably against allowing people living in Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland from voting to determine their own future. So far, no puzzle.

His letter finished with a statement that it was time we all worked together to unleash the UK’s potential. This is where the puzzlement comes in, because Mr Johnson felt it necessary to insert a paragraph specifically criticising the work of the Scottish Government in key areas, including the Health Service, over the last 10 years.

So he was saying that Scotland's democratically-elected government, responsible for a measurably better performing Health Service than the increasingly privatised one in England and vastly better than those in Wales and Northern Ireland, is in fact not very good.

This paragraph, whether it comes from Mr Johnson or his advisor Mr Cummings, is gratuitous and inaccurate and insults the Scottish Government, all who work in the Health Service in Scotland and indeed all our citizens. The paragraph was totally unnecessary.

The Prime Minister is very keen to harp on about defending the Union, yet agreed to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK by keeping Northern Ireland in line with EU trade and environmental standards, thus necessitating a border in the Irish Sea.

He now feels the best way to keep Scotland in the Union is to insult Scottish voters who elected a government to serve us in devolved areas such as health and social care.

If you haven't read the letter – it is available on heraldscotland.com – I would urge you to do so. If Mr Johnson's aim is to keep the UK together, then gratuitous and inaccurate criticism of our government, presumably driven by party-political point-scoring, is a very puzzling way to go about it.

Stuart Campbell, Moffat.

NICOLA Sturgeon’s current grievance du jour that EU nationals already in the UK are being treated abominably by the UK Government doesn’t cut the mustard.

True, it’s been a stressful time for resident EU nationals – made worse by Ms Sturgeon’s scaremongering. Theresa May and Boris Johnson have repeatedly confirmed that no EU citizen from elsewhere in Europe must leave, and have emphasised how valued they are and are welcome to stay.

The reality is that, despite Ms Sturgeon’s rhetoric, other parts of the UK are the more popular choice for EU citizens compared to Scotland. Perhaps that Scotland has, thanks to the SNP, two constitutional crises to cope with is a factor?

Martin Redfern, Edinburgh EH10.

THE first of the two "major errors" which Alasdair Galloway (Letters, January 22) identifies in his argument about Proportional Representation is in itself wrong. The Alternative Vote method (AV) is not a PR method, much less the "simplest method of PR there is". The only people who describe it as such are opponents of PR or those who don't know any better.

The fundamental flaw with non-PR methods, such as AV or First Past The Post (FPTP), is that they only elect one person, who is supposed to represent the the whole range of views held by those who vote. AV ensures that at least 50 per cent of those who vote get some kind of say in the single person who is elected, but FPTP does that on the average anyway. I am happy to see AV consigned to the scrap heap. It's not PR.

Thomas G F Gray, Lenzie.