TO be called stupid because of one’s support for Scottish independence is, no doubt, the carefully considered opinion of Peter A Russell (Letters, June 14). Not everyone will agree with him, but it is his opinion to make. Being told, however, by Mr Russell that the SNP leadership, and by implication the SNP itself and those people stupid enough to support Scottish independence, should all give up “their increasingly desperate cries for independence” is quite another matter.

Mr Russell states: “Even the most obtuse of nationalists should realise by now that they had their chance in 2014, and failed”. The Scottish independence referendum did not, nor was it designed to, prevent or limit those in favour of Scottish independence from continuing to make their voice heard. Surely a major element of a strong, functioning democracy is that voters are presented with a range of political options? While Mr Russell mentions only the SNP the same logic would suggest the SSP, Alba, the Scottish Greens and any other political party or individual in favour of Scottish independence should not “drip on” about it. How is democracy in any way improved by those in favour of Scottish independence not having a party for whom they can vote?

It is in any event unclear quite what benefit Mr Russell envisages would accrue if those in favour of Scottish independence did no longer “drip on” about it. Perhaps he thinks he would gain peace from no longer having to listen to stupid people? Perhaps he thinks Scotland would become more united as we all get the choice to vote only for a unionist party? Regardless, the stupid people would not be happy. They would have no political outlet for their aims and ambitions for Scotland. They are not put off by losing one referendum result. They have not been put off by any General Election result. Scottish independence is a political idea generations in the making. It is an aspiration, an ideal. It is a principle. The stupid people are indeed foolish enough to believe that they can persuade the people of Scotland that Scotland has the ability to run our own affairs; just like any other country in the world.

It is interesting that Mr Russell directs his attention only to Scottish independence supporters. What about all those other political parties which are unsuccessful at election time? Should they too not “drip on”? It seems that Mr Russell is content for all political parties, from Socialists (not in favour of Scottish independence) to Conservatives and every other party in between to continue to take an active part in democracy; but not the stupid people. I’d rather be thought of as stupid and allow all political voices to be heard than seek to limit any party in favour of democracy.

David Logan, Milngavie.

Huge changes since 2014

THERE is a definite note of panic in Peter A Russell's letter which suggests that he has been spooked by the latest opinion poll which puts the SNP and Labour neck and neck. According to Mr Russell, "any fool can see that independence is dead for the foreseeable future" and that the more John Swinney, Stephen Flynn and some of your correspondents "drip on about it, the more stupid they look".

I wonder if Mr Russell realises that he has insulted around half of Scotland, as opinion polls consistently show that is the level of support from voters for independence. I will doubtless be called a fool and a drip, but I would remind Mr Russell that a lot of water has flowed under the constitutional bridge since the independence referendum 10 years ago, not least that Scotland, after being told that the only way we could secure our place in Europe was by voting No, has been dragged out of the EU against our will by a government we never elected. At no time, on no ballot paper, has it ever been written that Scotland could not change its mind on independence. Scotland's future should be determined by Scotland's people, not by a government 400 miles away.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

READ MORE: Why can't the SNP respect the voters and accept that indy is dead?

READ MORE: Our only hope is to vote SNP – even if we have to hold our noses

Why do we need Holyrood?

DEAR oh dear. Stan Grodynski (Letters, June 14) has surpassed himself by finding a new “yardstick” in pursuit of independence. We’ve had 14 years of Tory rule that is almost certainly coming to an end due to their terrible performance over this period.

The UK Government is normally the ogre to blame for all Scotland’s ills according to Mr Grodynski and his ilk. It’s never about measuring the horrendous performance of various SNP-led governments for 17 years, they have been every bit as poor as the Tories. The reference to the Welsh is pathetic and Mr Grodysnki has decided we should be measuring ourselves against the alleged poor numbers in Wales, another devolved country.

So what is this devolved Scottish Parliament responsible for if it can’t accept responsibility for the state of the NHS, education, roads, ferries, litter, rat infestations in our cities and on and on?

In fact, why do we need a devolved parliament at all ?

John Gilligan, Ayr.

Why do they not ask about debt?

WHY is it on these seemingly interminable pointless pre-election Q&As with politicians does nobody ask about the public debt? Why does nobody query the fact that the UK National Debt (created solely by successive Westminster administrations) stands today in excess of £3 trillion, which equates to £48,400 of debt for every man woman and child in the country? Why does nobody mention that the Office for Budget Responsibility states that Westminster this year will pay £89 billion in interest payments on that debt, an amount that is more than double the block grant that Holyrood is allocated to fund all the public sector services in Scotland.

Labour trumpet that they will raise £12 billion by taxing “non-doms” as if that would miraculously happen the day they take office; they don’t talk about the National Debt as they haven’t a scoobie what to do about it, but will kick the can further down the road just as did the previous administrations. Why don't those whom we elect to represent our best interests admit that while our fiat currency is controlled by the private sector and not by the nation, we, the ordinary people, will continue to pay a tithe on our earnings to the rich facilitated by Westminster borrowing from rather than taxing the rich? Whose side are they on?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

Labour plan will increase elitism

MARK Smith ("'Scottish Question Time, but has anyone told Kate Forbes?'", heraldscotland, June 13) appears to be too focused on the chip on his shoulders regarding independent school fees, Edinburgh, and ladies blouses on Question Time.

If he were to remove his blinkers, he might be able to address the real consequences of Labour's proposed VAT charge. The parents who will no longer be able to afford the fees are the lower-income families who already make other sacrifices for those fees: the richer will still afford. Without the VAT exemption, the schools will no longer require charitable status and so will no longer need to provide financial assistance and bursaries (currently up to 100% of fees in many cases) to those large numbers currently benefitting from these: again punishing and forcing out the lower-income families. Some independent schools may well close and this, combined with those lower-income children falling out of the independent system, will inevitably require much-increased capacity at local authority schools.

Funding for additional teachers has been promised by Labour, but that is useless as the schools do not have the physical space for the hundreds, probably thousands, of "new" pupils, not just in Edinburgh, but in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and elsewhere. State school class sizes will increase even more, as will the performance gap between them and the high-performing independent schools.

Essentially, and ironically, Labour's ill-thought-out plans will simply promote increased elitism. It is a great pity that Mr Smith hasn't done his homework properly, instead focusing on his anti-independent-school narrowmindedness.

Steph Johnson, Glasgow.

Labour has pledged to add VAT to private school fees at the standard rate of 20%.Labour has pledged to add VAT to private school fees at the standard rate of 20%. (Image: Getty)

SPT rise is unacceptable

STRATHCLYDE Passenger Transport has announced increases in the cost of its Zone cards of between 50 to 60 per cent (and in one reported case 130%) which it claims is as a result of inflation and price increases by bus, rail and Subway operators. Given that these cards are "season tickets" bought and used mainly by people travelling to and from work this increase seems to me incomprehensible.

Glasgow with its LEZ, bus gates and draconian levels of parking costs has made itself an unwelcoming city for motorists and now the unelected SPT has also decided to make life harder and much more expensive for working people. People who go out to work, unlike SPT staff who are, according to their phone message, still working from home, contribute to the local economies of the areas in which they work. Surely to help in the drive towards net zero we should be encouraging more people to use public transport, not pricing it out of the reach of many.

I note that the cosy quango that is SPT has a chief executive, director of finance and corporate support, director of transport, head of policy planning and a head of bus strategy and delivery (none of whom is able to get Glasgow's Subway running after 6pm on a Sunday), though in fairness the gravy train does seem to be doing well.

Billy Gold, Glasgow.

Tartan Army politics

THE media, mainstream and social, are awash with the Tartan Army in full day and night party mode. Oh what jolly good fun, I hope they have a wonderful time with on-field success.

Does it, however, surprise you, especially with an election looming, that not a word is forthcoming from our SNP Government and Holy Willie First Minister Swinney of condemnation in the face of gargantuan alcohol consumption? No. You will not hear a cheep of criticism for fear of a voter backlash. In fact photo opportunities with kilts, banners and flags are order of the day.

But don't worry, post-election and Euros normal anti-alcohol strictures will be resumed without a backward look. But Mt Swinney, please spare us the breathtaking hypocrisy.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.

If we had won the World Cup...

THE absurdity of many Scotland fans taking greater satisfaction from England losing at football rather than Scotland winning has been the subject of readers' letters over the past few days (June 11, 13 & 14).

Ken Mackay (Letters, June 13) offers the justification for this as being the English media ramming the England 1966 World Cup win down our throats at every opportunity and suggests that this is an acceptable reason for the negative reaction from the cringeworthy Tartan Army and others.

Perhaps this could be countered by asking how the Scottish sports media and others would have reacted differently had Scotland and not England won the World Cup?

I think we all know the answer.

James Martin, Bearsden.