THE latest TV series of The Traitors, where the theme was to try and fool your fellow players into being one thing, when another is in fact the case, reminded me a little of the latest Brexit debacle.

The latest catastrophe following our leaving the EU has seen talks aimed at reaching a trade deal with Canada collapse in acrimony ("Canada trade deal talks stall", The Herald, January 27). It had been previously proclaimed by the Tory Government that a free trade agreement with the UK’s Commonwealth ally would have been the easiest to strike post-Brexit. Indeed, one of the great benefits those who led the Brexit campaign told us was that Britain would be free to sign new economic pacts all over the world after quitting the EU.

Boris Johnson, remember him, when Prime Minister, pledged to sign a “bespoke” trade deal with Justin Trudeau’s government to boost the economy after agreeing to temporary rollover arrangements in 2020. This allowed the UK to continue to sell cars and cheese in the North American nation without Canada charging import tax.

The two nations have been negotiating for the last two years, launching formal talks while trade continued under the arrangements brokered when the UK was a member of the EU. However, the Sunak Government has now called off negotiations with the Canadians due to a fall-out over beef and cheese quotas.

As with The Traitors, Brexit backers were led up the garden path, totally hoodwinked by a package of promises that turned out, as many warned, to be utter rubbish.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Let's strive to be British

YOUR headline on Michael Sheridan's letter ("Heed the lesson of Burns. Scots can flourish within the Union", The Herald, January 27), is so right as are many of the points raised by Mr Sheridan. He quotes Burns's "man o' independent mind..." written at the height of Scotland's Enlightenment. This quotation, perhaps, should be linked with another of Burns's insightful writings in that he would have liked some power to let us see ourselves as others see us.

The American historian Arthur Herman did just this in his book How the Scots Invented the Modern World, which looks at our history and in particular the period of the Enlightenment. Among Herman's observations is that the Scots embraced the United Kingdom of Great Britain and he explains that while Hume and other Scots referred to themselves as North Britons, no English intellectuals during this time referred to themselves as South Britons. Herman makes the point that the Scots at the time were aware of this.

Many in today's British society have still not moved on from their "small" identity as English, Welsh or Scottish and Northern Irish and embraced that being British enables something greater.

I doubt that this mindset will ever change, as during my working life working all over the UK, I met many great people who thought along the lines of being British, but I also met many who did not like the Scots and took many an opportunity to belittle me and vilify Scotland.

And so the question is, should we all, each UK nation, strive to be British, or just carry on down the bitter and twisted road that the desire for independent nationhood has taken us?

There must be a better way and the recent display of the petty meaningless seeking to outdo Westminster displayed at the Covid Inquiry has reduced the integrity and stature of our Holyrood representatives to their shame. They do not represent me.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.

Read more: Heed the lesson of Burns. Scots can flourish within the Union

Hope for the future of indy

MICHAEL Sheridan makes some interesting points about independent thinking within the Union.

The trouble is that it is based on history and nostalgia. I would not argue with the view that all participants (except maybe Ireland) did very well with the Union for most of its history. The problem is right now. Scotland has had a very poor deal in the UK since the 1980s and there is no sign of that changing. Most capital investment now goes to London and the South East, and the UK is now hooked on the huge taxes that this investment generates. The outcome is that all other UK economic regions are starved of capital resources and cannot develop.

All the independent thinking in the world will not change the fact that Scotland is under-developed and that, in the UK, it is hard to see the will ever existing to promote the level of capital investment to change that.

I've always had the view that all of Scotland's current problems are fixable within the UK. I just don't see the will ever existing. Perhaps a new Labour government this year will surprise us, but I'm not optimistic.

I am, however, optimistic that the younger generation, far less infected with British nationalism, will see the truth of what I write and there will be a huge majority for Scottish independence in 10 to 15 years.

Iain Cope, Glasgow.

The Herald: The Vow was brought out at the end of the 2014 independence campaignThe Vow was brought out at the end of the 2014 independence campaign (Image: PA)

Our young need new hope

BEFORE the 2014 referendum we were advised to vote No to independence. The late Alistair Darling stated that Scotland's future would be economically, politically and socially stronger by remaining part of the United Kingdom. Gordon Brown published the Vow just before election day, promising extensive powers to Holyrood and it was promised we would remain part of the European Union.

None of these promises has been fulfilled. We are no longer part of Europe. Brexit has been an economic disaster for many businesses and restricted the freedom of choice for young people. The economy was crashed by the arrogance and ineptitude of a UK Conservative Prime Minister who stated that Scotland's democratically-elected First Minister should be ignored.

Three centuries ago Scotland emerged from a very low point of turmoil caused by parcels of rogues and bad decisions by those in power. Scotland was helped to move forward by an intellectual and philosophical movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment whose influence was felt worldwide.

How often do we hear now "there is no party I can vote for"? We need another period of enlightenment that will give us hope and the creation of a new party that governs for all, not just the few, and can give hope to our young citizens for a better future.

We live under existential threats with complex, extensive global problems. Where do we start when all these difficulties seems so impossible to turn around or change?

I will start here. I will still vote for the SNP as it is the only party that is clear that it wants independence for Scotland ... and cometh the hour there will be politicians with the vision and intelligence to move the stalemate of political choice forward.

Margaret Brown, Kirkpatrick Durham.

Read more: We are sick of being collateral damage in the Left's thrust for power

Danger of voting Labour

THE latest edition of BBC TV Question Time (January 25) came from Gillingham in Kent. The audience, we were told, contained supporters of “the main parties” in proportions which matched their support across “the entire nation”; the nation referred to was not named.

The audience reaction to the contributions of the various panel members was remarkable. The Tory MP's attempts to convince the audience that Rishi Sunak's Government was doing well were met with absolutely zero applause. The Labour MP's response that it was time for a change and that Keir Starmer would provide all the answers did nothing to stir the audience into any enthusiasm. There was no indication of what changes Labour would implement; only that it would be better at doing the stuff the Tories were doing badly. It was clear that the audience saw the forthcoming election as a choice between two unattractive options.

The debate lacked the circumspection to address the fact that support for Reform UK is surging at a rate which is likely to favour Labour at the expense of the Tories and victory for Labour at the election seems unstoppable. As a consequence, our Scottish nation will find itself in the captivity of a right-wing, anti-European, anti-immigration UK Labour government. My fear is that Scottish voters may be lured into contributing to this outcome by voting Labour. Surely it will never be more vital to vote in favour of a future in which Scotland can aspire to be a modern, welcoming, independent European nation.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.