ANAS Sarwar is appealing to Scottish independence supporters to vote Labour to get rid of the Tories. In doing so he makes no attempt to argue against the case for independence but bases his case on the failures of the SNP in a devolved administration in Scotland. Can he not see that many independence supporters, myself included, are former Labour voters who will never return to his party as long as it sticks stubbornly to its unionist stance which requires our nation to accept a government imposed on us by our southern neighbours?

His pathetic calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza fall on the deaf ears of Keir Starmer, whose election strategy is aimed so clearly at pleasing either Jewish or Islamic voters according to their relative numbers in particular constituencies.

The latest polling indicates that while SNP support has fallen, support for independence has held up well or even risen. This confirms my assertion that most Scots who defected from Labour to SNP did so in pursuit of an independent Scotland rather than an SNP Scotland having felt betrayed by Labour’s participation in the Better Together alliance during the 2014 referendum campaign .

If Anas Sarwar and Scottish Labour abandoned unionism in favour of Scottish independence he would have every opportunity to match his words with deeds as First Minister in a modern European independent nation.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Read more: How will we ever get the truth from Sturgeon and the SNP?

Were we ever the beating heart?

SIR Keir Starmer asserts that Scotland will “once again” be the beating heart of Britain under his government ("Starmer in ‘beating heart of Britain’ call to Scots", The Herald, February 19).

I do not recall Scotland ever being the “beating heart” under Labour at any previous incarnation. Investment in steel plants, industry, roads, rail and all the rest were always “Scotland’s turn - next time”: carbon capture anyone?

Will Labour usher in second-class treatment of women again (Glasgow and Birmingham)?

Why have Scottish Labour's last three leaders all been privately educated if this is the “party of the workers”? Will Scottish homes and industry finally get the benefit of our own cheap electricity production? What of the constitutional reforms we were promised? He wants a “two-state solution” for Palestinians, recognising their right to self-determination, while denying Scots that same inalienable right.

Nope, same old baloney, wrapped up in fish ’n’ chip paper.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Scots patients let down again

SCOTTISH health boards have been informed that all new building projects have been put on hold. Long-promised projects like the eye hospital in Edinburgh, the refurbishment of the mental health ward at Dr Gray’s in Elgin and replacement hospitals in Fort William and Airdrie have all been shelved; all badly-needed facilities that the SNP has been telling us for years that we would be getting.

While the capital funding may have had a 4% cut in real terms, capital spending according to the Scottish Parliament summary shows that it will fall by 24% as some capital money is being transferred to the revenue budget to help cover pay deals. The SNP Government agreed a 12.4% pay increase for junior doctors in 2023-24. What it didn't do however was work out how it was going to fund it. The SNP was so proud to tell us that Scotland is the only country in the UK to avoid NHS strikes. At what cost, I ask?

Scottish patients are being let down yet again. Those in the Lothians will have to continue travelling to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow for eye treatment, other towns will continue to have old buildings in need of replacing. Scottish citizens are suffering due to the SNP seeking out headlines on pay increases but not knowing how they’re going to pay for them.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Restore Grid to its origins

CONTRARY to the assertions of Iain McIntyre (Letters, February 16) and earlier correspondents, the only "improvements" required for the National Grid are those which would restore it to its original purpose. A national network of electricity supply allowed both distribution to remote areas and the backup of supplies in the event of local emergencies. It was not created to allow the routine movement of large amounts of electricity.

Large centres of population or industry had supplies generated quite locally. After privatisation, electricity supply joined most other national resources as assets to be plundered by anyone who could get away with it.

The present policy of generating electricity very far from its consumers is a commercial problem for companies who have no responsibility for national policy but exist simply to make profit. This does not reflect any failure of the National Grid.

Peter Dryburgh, Edinburgh.

Read more: It is a myth that UK Trident is controlled by the Americans

Ukraine cannot win this war

THE fall of Avdiivka ("Vladimir Putin grows in confidence, rightly worrying dithering West", heraldscotland, February 18) illustrates what has been obvious to any objective observer for two years: that Ukraine could not and cannot win the war with Russia.

No amount of western arms can bring victory to an army outnumbered 4 to 1 and whose average troop age is 43. If President Zelenskyy and Nato continue this conflict, it could lead to the actual destruction of Ukraine or at least to its long-term situation as a failed, basket-case state. Therefore, peace talks (without the impossible preconditions Mr Zelenskyy demands, that is a total Russian evacuation of its occupied territory in the Donbass and the return of Crimea) could mean that Kyiv's losses are confined to the three Donbass provinces, already almost totally occupied by Russia. Had Kiev however accepted and implemented the Minsk Agreements which it signed in 2015, guaranteeing the autonomy and legal rights in language and other areas of the Russian-speaking minority, this war would not have happened, and Ukraine would still have its pre-2022 borders.

Believing in the ability of the support of its western backers in military and financial terms to bring an impossible victory, hubris has led to nemesis. To prevent further death and destruction, Kyiv has to accept the reality and salvage what it can of its pre-war status. Then Nato can declare victory and withdraw as it has in its other recent wars, from Iraq to Afghanistan, and concentrate on its current proxy war in Gaza, and its next direct military intervention. Meanwhile a war meant to weaken Russia and Putin has enormously strengthened both. Strange irony that lurks in events indeed.

Ian Mitchell, Glasgow.

We must not appease Hamas

HOW do you solve the Palestinian issue? Well it ought not to be by accommodating the demands of Hamas and similar organisations. Right now around two million Palestinians are in danger in Rafah because Hamas will not see humanity even for its own people, stop the fighting and release all the hostages.

All the marches we see parading through our streets demanding a ceasefire are pandering to Hamas. Have any demonstrators carried a placard demanding the release of the Israeli hostages?

Humza Yousaf and now Anas Sarwar are wanting a ceasefire. This solves nothing. The biggest question ought to be how come all the aid to ease the life of ordinary Palestinians, much channelled through the United Nations, has been used to build a very sophisticated tunnel network and leave piles of cash for the Hamas leadership. Why are Mr Yousaf and Mr Sarwar not addressing this?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

The Herald: Avdiivka has been largely destroyedAvdiivka has been largely destroyed (Image: Getty)

Aiding arms sales to Israel

EAST Kilbride Rolls-Royce workers took direct action against the murderous and torturing Pinochet dictatorship in Chile during the 1970s. They stopped maintenance work on Pinochet’s military aircraft engines after dismantling them.

This wee bit of Scottish history is significant as we get daily news reports of the Israeli government murdering thousands of Palestinians, mostly children, when the government military indiscriminately bombs and shells what remains of the Gaza strip, using arms supplied by the UK.

Now Palestinians are all being forced to stay in one town, Rafah, so they are even more vulnerable to bombing from the air. This can only be described as mass murder when the whole of Gaza is only the size of Arran and yet contains over two million refugees.

Although British military exports are a decision restricted to Westminster there are more than 70 companies producing weapons or components for weapons at over 96 Scottish sites, and of the 20 companies listed in 2022 as making the most from war in the world, Leonardo, BAE Systems and Raytheon are included in this list. We know Holyrood has given, in the guise of Scottish Enterprise, grants to some of them.

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen.