IAIN Macwhirter is spot on with his article heading: “Devolution has become a disaster, but only for the Unionist parties” (The Herald, November 18).

However, we have to bear in mind that Boris Johnson was addressing Scottish MPs at the time. My interpretation is that he was indeed pointing out to them that they and their erstwhile colleagues from past elections were the disaster area, and there is plenty of evidence for that.

We need only explore the record of previous leader Ruth Davidson’s record, from being lauded for her performance and regarded as a future leader of the Conservative party UK-wide, her achievement being the election of 13 Scottish Conservatives at Westminster out of 59, with the disaster of only six being elected in the 2019 election last December, again, out of 59.

The normal purpose of an election pamphlet is to promote the political party but her version is one bereft of any vision for Scotland, and one riddled with mention, twenty-five times, of the terms independence, and separation, and to castigate the SNP.

Why is there such a dearth of candidates for leadership of the party? Their relentless invective renders them no better that the opportunistic plethora of contributors to the letters pages whose detestation of the SNP and its representatives becomes so repetitive that it becomes boring. None of them declares their hand regarding what party they would support, or what are the solutions to problems, real or imagined, they perceive.

For example, the Conservative Party was instrumental in the promotion of earned income tax powers to Holyrood – not to the SNP, but to Holyrood.

When the SNP used these powers to restore the welfare benefits surrounding the third-child allowance, and the so-called bedroom tax abandoned by the Conservative Westminster government, they accused the SNP of making Scotland the highest-taxed area of the UK. So, if they were to achieve power at Holyrood, would they restore income tax to its previous level?

One recent letter-writer suggested that the Scottish Unionist contingent should tactically arrange it so that only a single Unionist candidate would stand against the SNP. Well – they are adept at identifying splits in the SNP.

Imagine the disagreements that would erupt in any ruling coalition comprising Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Is the Tory Party reduced to now being a stand-alone party, incapable of compiling a manifesto so appealing that the voters would flock to support it?

Answers on a postcard!

Douglas R Mayer, Currie, Midlothian.

IAIN Macwhirter is right that unionists should reassess their fear of independence.

What we independinistas seek is control of our resources in order to build our social model and develop our economy in accordance with our values and concerns. It’s really not a big ask but is unachievable within the centralised framework of the UK.

That is why we wish to dissolve the British union, but post-independence we are not otherwise opposed to future British cooperation.

The union was always an imperial construct in the sense that it was in order to participate freely in the nascent British Empire that we were willing to suspend our sovereignty.

Without the empire the British union is no longer meaningful, and its undemocratic centralised unaccountability keeps us back.

An independent Scotland will involve co-operation with the rest of the British isles, on trade and defence and other matters of mutual concern. Why is that scary? Or unjust?

We would at last have a voice in shaping the direction of these British isles, a voice which we are currently denied in a chamber dominated 10:1 by English MPs, who neither know us nor care to know.

Mairianna Clyde, Edinburgh.

EXCELLENT news that Boris thinks he speaks for a majority of Scots (November 17). He should keep talking, because each time he opens his mouth he eloquently makes the case for the restoration of Scottish independence.

Boris’s bombastic bluster can’t hide the fact the UK is irretrievably broken.

For a few years devolution helped mitigate the problems created by Westminster’s stunning incompetence and growing corruption. But with the Brexit disaster upon us – which Scotland emphatically rejected – and the re-imposition of Westminster control over Scotland’s affairs with the Internal Market bill, devolution itself is being destroyed.

Scots can now clearly see that remaining part of this grossly unequal union which has chosen to wall itself off from Europe, will make us poorer. Fortunately, there’s an exit door called independence, and the sooner we pass through it, the sooner we can build a fairer, more equal, sustainable and internationally focused country. What are we waiting for?

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

I WOULD wish to refer to the many letters in your letters page of November 18, commenting on the subject of the future relationship of Scotland with the rest of the UK, but particularly England, most of this brought about by the Prime Minister’s recent unguarded comments, and his general attitude to Scotland.

I am very sure that there are many in the rest of the UK, and especially England, who must now be bored and fed up with the question of Scottish independence, so perhaps they should adopt the mantra of “let them depart, if they do not want to remain”.

I also recall reading, many years ago, that one of the founder members of the SNP, one Cunninghame Graham, made a very profound statement when he said, “The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English, but that our true enemies are amongst ourselves, the ones without imagination”.

The comments quoted are from many decades apart, but that does not make them wrong.

Mike Dooley, Seafield, Ayr.

I CANNOT believe that Boris Johnson has got it so wrong. He needs to get the facts correct. In my view, devolution has not been a disaster.

Blaming Tony Blair for the ‘mistake’ of devolved government in Scotland is a fallacy. The Scottish Constitutional Convention resulted in a referendum being put to the Scottish electorate in 1998. It gained huge support from people across Scotland.

It is recorded that Tony Blair referred to the devolved parliament as no more than a parish council so I would suggest that he, like Boris Johnson, was not supportive of devolution.

The main instigators of devolved administration were MPs Donald Dewar, David Steel and Canon Kenyon Wright and many others from within Scottish communities.

Teresa McNally, Alloa, Clackmannanshire.

“MORE devolution to Scotland only endangers the principles of the Union and is not an effective response to independence”. That was Douglas Ross MP speaking to the Policy Exchange UK on November 2.

Douglas Ross has backed Brexit and Westminster’s power-grab but ignored Scotland’s food and drink sector and others who have pleaded for Brexit negotiations to be delayed for six months while Covid is still raging.

In 2004, Boris Johnson, as editor of The Spectator, published a poem whose lines included “The Scotch – what a verminous race!”; “It’s time Hadrian’s Wall was refortified, to pen them in a ghetto on the other side”; “The nation deserves not merely isolation, but comprehensive extermination”.

This jolly jape certainly chimes with Johnson’s English nationalist views and he has no intention of granting Scotland a Section 30 order for a second independence referendum.

Scottish governments must balance their books each year and can’t run up a two trillion-pound national debt as Westminster has, yet we have seen numerous benefits in health, education and transport infrastructure while mitigating draconian Tory welfare measures.

Along with Covid, devolution has shown that we are perfectly capable of governing ourselves.

To complete our journey on becoming a normal nation once again we need to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands without Westminster’s permission if they continue to ignore our Scottish Parliament’s vote for another referendum.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

I AM sure that Boris Johnson regrets, not his real, personal attitude to Scotland and our Holyrood Government, but his gaffe in revealing it. There is no facile explanation which can remove his opinion or excuse his personal behaviour.

He has demonstrated his inability to understand Scotland and, worse, his resultant unwillingness even to attempt to do so. This by a Prime Minister of the present administration in London is unforgivable.

Scotland’s people are entitled to state their preference and Westminster will be obliged to pay heed.

J. Hamilton, Bearsden.

YOU report that a prominent Conservative has said devolution is like a train set.

The comparison seems apt. It may be suggested that the Prime Minister has installed buffers at the station named “Devolution” (which it appears he is thinking of closing) whereas the SNP wishes to extend the line to the station named “Independence”.

Kenneth Fraser, St Andrews.