THE penny seems to have dropped for Neil Mackay as he has identified that the SNP's commitment to independence is a declining asset in today's politics, if it is indeed not already a liability ("SNP's indy obsession will hand victory to Labour", The Herald April 18). The fact is that the SNP resembles nothing more than Wile E Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons: the momentum generated by the 2014 referendum has allowed it to artificially defy the laws of political gravity, but now the only way is down.

Moreover, it is clear is that the cause of the party's decline is its lack of intellectual and philosophical substance. By comparison, we can learn about Labour's social democracy from reading the works of Tonys Crosland and Benn, and its political application from the memoirs of the likes of Denis Healey, Roy Jenkins and Robin Cook; for contemporary political debate, as an active Fabian, I would recommend that Society and its publications. Likewise, the Conservatives have an intellectual background which pits the One Nation ideas of Disraeli with the Hayek-inspired Thatcher-Joseph ideas of the 1970s.

You do not have to agree with their ideas, but no-one can claim that they have had none - which is very much in contrast to the SNP: it has no Fabian-style policy hinterland; it has had no Benn or Cook or Disraeli or Hayek. Instead it relies on vacuous nonsense like "independence is normal" (when in fact nation states comprising unions are at least as frequent) and "why should Scotland not be like Denmark?" (er, because it is not Denmark?) or claims exceptionalist "Scottish values" (while at the same time telling us that Scots are responsible for such a rising tide of hatred that we need a special new law to tackle it).

It is notable that when Labour and the Tories have had leaderships which have been interested in slogans and not ideas (for example, Corbyn and Johnson and Truss respectively), their standing has fallen disastrously. It looks like the same fate now awaits the rather dim Humza Yousaf, and the ideas-free zone which is the SNP.

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.

Confidence in Scotland is growing

THROUGH all the negative machinations emanating from Westminster, Scotland’s social democratic tradition, from nearly 60 years since Winnie Ewing won Hamilton to 25 years of a devolved Scottish parliament, is still thriving.

Tory governments, with no Scottish mandate, have inflicted more than a decade of misery on Scotland and with no hope of change from Labour, exiting a broken Brexit Britain is the only option.

The devolved SNP Holyrood administration has tackled, to the best of its ability, poverty, child and old folks' concerns, along with health, housing and education and has given hope to those who feel abandoned.

Against a hostile unionist media, decades of Westminster lies have been exposed. Confidence has grown in believing that a well-endowed Scotland could do so much better as an independent country, in control of all of its many economic assets.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

READ MORE: Why should men who want to be women get more protection than we do?

READ MORE: UK Government's attitude to the Middle East is a disgrace

Government is being realistic

THE Scottish Government is being realistic; it does not have the financial powers to meet its climate change ambitions ("Scottish Government abandons 2030 climate pledge", heraldscotland, April 18) and energy policy is reserved to Westminster. Britain is incapable of reaching net zero targets amid supply shortages according to a “readiness study” published on April 17 for the UK supply chain, commissioned by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). It is a position exacerbated by Brexit.

Britain is incapable of building the wind farms, solar farms and transmission networks essential to net zero, plus a shortage of ships, steel and concrete in the quantities needed to build new infrastructure casts doubt over UK Government targets and the problem is compounded by a shortage of skilled workers who can install the new structures such as offshore wind turbines. It is estimated that the UK needs to build more than one such wind turbine every day to meet its 2030 climate change target.

Labour has abandoned its £28 billion a year green energy plans as it is sticking with Tory spending plans and Labour’s proposal to increase the windfall tax on oil and gas companies from 75 per cent to 78% is likely to cost many thousands of jobs in the north-east of Scotland in order to finance nuclear power stations in England.

While successive Westminster governments benefited by more than £300bn from Scotland’s North Sea they did very little to help Scotland’s transition into renewable energy manufacturing.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

Will the point scoring never end?

THE never-ending pantomime continues. Earlier this year the UK Government decided to ban Bully XL dogs and, true to form, the SNP said it wouldn’t. Then its leaders changed their mind. Next we have the UK Government banning puberty blockers for under-18s so the SNP said no, we’ll keep it to under-16s. Now they’ve changed their mind. A few months ago the SNP-Green administration pilloried Westminster for a U-turn on climate change targets. Today they’ve changed their mind and decided to follow suit and scrap their targets.

When is all of this going to stop and when are we going to get a government that looks after the people of Scotland rather than concentrating on trying (and failing) to score points at the expense of the government at Westminster?

Alan McGibbon, Paisley.

The Herald: Labour plans to increase the windfall tax on oil and gas companiesLabour plans to increase the windfall tax on oil and gas companies (Image: PA)

Proud of my Scots nationality

ALEXANDER McKay (Letters, April 18) continues his customary failure to distinguish the difference between nationalism and nationality. He regards any democratically-enacted difference between Scotland and England as a symptom of a "zealous craze". Many Scottish voters who had never waved flags or marched in rallies were part of the 62% who - unlike the majority of their English neighbours -wished to remain within the European Union in 2016.

I have never doubted that my nationality is Scottish and this has contributed greatly to my cultural, linguistical, musical and literary interests. It is sad to learn from Mr McKay that my whole life has been nothing more than part of a "zealous craze".

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

Contradiction in hate crime laws

HUMZA Yousaf posted on X, “Let's not allow them to divide our society into those who are worthy of protection from hatred and those who are not”.

But that is exactly what the Scottish Government is doing. Those hated because of race, sexuality etc are specially protected in law. Those hated for football allegiance, politics etc are not.

The proposed misogyny law will protect women from sexist hatred but will not protect men from sexist hatred (unless they are claiming to be a woman).

This blatant contradiction will go unchallenged in the Scottish Parliament because every party currently there endorses the philosophy of the sacred “protected characteristics” and “hate crime” laws.

Richard Lucas, Scottish Family Party, Glasgow.

UK's past will not be forgotten

DAVID Crawford (Letters, April 17) sums up perfectly the hypocrisy of the UK Government's attitude to the conflict in Palestine and the wider region.

Iran's only decent government under Prime Minister Mosaddegh was toppled in a coup engineered by British agents and the CIA. Mosaddegh had had the temerity to claim that oil in Iran belonged to Iran. He was replaced, with UK support, by the Shah who ruled Iran with the aid of his vicious secret police Savak. Savak was created by the CIA and its agents trained by, of all people, Israel's Mossad. The Shah's hated dictatorship may have suited the UK and the United States but was rejected by the Iranians and replaced with the present tyranny. The UK backed Saddam Hussein's dictatorship and supported his war against Iran before turning on its ally and joining the United States in the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

The UK's fingerprints are all over the disastrous modern history of the Middle East and yet the UK continues to back tyranny and genocide, arming the aggressors and going to the aid of the already-powerful Israel when it is attacked but not lifting a finger to protect the helpless Palestinians.

Mr Crawford is right. It is a disgrace and it will not be forgotten by the peoples of the region who have had to endure it. Israel thinks that its actions will bring it security. The reverse is true and we will have to share in the repercussions.

David Currie, Tarland.

• IT has been reported that following representations from Lord Cameron, our latter-day Palmerston, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel "would make its own decisions".

I assume that if the country is attacked in future the Israeli government will make its own decisions on defence and not summon a "regional coalition" to bring it military aid and economic succour.

John McArthur, Glasgow.