MARK Smith (“Panic, passion and prejudice… why politics is in such a mess”, The Herald, March 9) claims “nationalism attracts people who hate or distrust other nationalities”. This is not true. As the late great Jimmy Reid said: “You cannot be an internationalist without being an inter-nationalist”, meaning you cannot be an internationalist without recognising the cogency of nation within the complex of identities we give in response to the question “Who am I?”

The word “nationalist” is so hideously ambiguous as to be practically meaningless. Mahatma Gandhi was a nationalist, as were Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Adolf Hitler was a nationalist as was Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic. James Connolly, the Edinburgh-born Scottish Socialist, was shot for the role he played in the Irish nationalist rising of 1916.

It was (German) nationalism that moved the Nazis to invade Poland, and it was Polish and Russian nationalism that inspired the resistance that drove them out. The contradictory list is inexhaustible. In short, the word has no taxonomic value – which is why I personally never use it to describe myself.

I do however stand by the right of the people of Scotland to live in a normal independent state, and not to be dictated to by another government. Half my family is English, and I don’t hate or distrust them, honest.

Brian Quail, Glasgow G11.

RUTH Marr (Letters, March 9) is being economical with the truth. She fails to mention how our health service is stretched to the limit and that is without the effects of the coronavirus, how our education system is failing with the latest pass marks at Higher falling in major subjects and teachers stressed with paper work, poor discipline and so on.

She omits to tell us that many Scottish students with very good grades cannot get into Scottish universities because the funding has run out. Overseas students who can afford to pay are admitted. Scottish students whose parents are willing to pay are excluded.

Which parliament is responsible?

Which Parliament gives us billions in Barnett consequentials each year? Certainly not the Scottish Parliament

Perhaps your correspondents can tell us who would be responsible for our armed forces if we did become independent? We can’t get rid of Trident until all countries do the same. We would be a sitting duck if we were to be without a proper defence system. Defence never seems to be mentioned by the SNP.

Just how can we afford independence?

Gordon Taylor, Wishaw.

ONE thing is for sure and that is the coronavirus is unfortunately going global and according to Bloomberg Economics it could bring the world economy to a standstill and cost the global economy $2.7 trillion, causing huge strain on even the strongest economies.

In the meantime the SNP’s Alex Neil (amongst others) still clamour for another referendum and correspondents in this newspaper have suggested all sorts of shenanigans to find a way to justify another vote. One shudders to think of Boris Johnson having agreed and Yes winning – without an established currency (no central bank), outside the UK and EU markets, oil prices trashed (so much for the nonsensical McCrone report) and with our unsustainable fiscal deficit we would have been a failed state before the dancing in the streets had stopped. You couldn’t make this nonsense up if you tried.

As I have said on many occasions, economics and realism are not SNP strong points

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen AB13.