AS promised the SNP has put the policy of Scottish independence on page one, line one of its manifesto ("First Minister urges his supporters to use poll as vote for indy", The Herald, June 20). I have read the manifesto but nowhere in the document can I find any estimate of the costs of this policy.

Given that independence is the party's key policy, integral to its constitution, prominently displayed and loudly emphasised, it is notable that the SNP cannot produce any costed impact of implementation. A cynic might conclude that such costings do not exist and indeed, they never have, raising the simple question: if the SNP cannot provide clear costings for its page one, line one manifesto pledge, what is it asking us to vote for, and why?

Alex Gallagher, Largs.

How can a loss be a win?

IN the SNP manifesto, John Swinney insists that if the SNP wins more than half the Scottish seats on July 4 (ie 29), then he has a mandate to commence independence negotiations with Westminster. So he's actually suggesting that if he loses 19 seats (the SNP won 48 seats in 2019), he's in a position of strength! In 2019, his party received 45 per cent of the vote, so obviously under half anyway, so presumably 29 seats would translate into perhaps 35% voting SNP. It's hardly a convincing majority in support of leaving the UK, even assuming a couple of per cent vote for other breakaway parties.

And why would a new government (presumably Labour) begin independence negotiations when say 35% of us have voted for the SNP on a maybe 60% turnout? If Labour did so, it'd be an insult to democracy. Back to the drawing board, Mr Swinney?

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

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So who makes the decisions?

JOHN Swinney at his manifesto launch said that the SNP believes that decisions about Scotland should be made by those who live here. It’s a shame that the SNP doesn't want to extend that courtesy to those in regions of Scotland who wish to make decisions regarding their areas.

How many times has the SNP Government overruled local authorities and their residents on planning decisions? Forty-two per cent of council decisions were overturned last year, having been rejected by local authorities.

If you want us to believe that you advocate local decision-making, Mr Swinney, practise what you preach.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Labour's Glasgow shame

PETER A Russell (Letters, June 20) to "the joint enterprise that is the UK"; I am reminded that in 1707 the Speaker of the House of Commons, referring to the Act of Union, said: "We have catched Scotland and we will bind her fast". More up to date is Paragraph 18 of the Smith Commission Report following the 2014 referendum which reads: "It is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose".

Last Saturday, your featured old photograph ("Remember when ... Glasgow began tackling the problem of east end slums", The Herald, June 15) showed children in a "back court playground" in 1977, and it was reported that in Dalmarnock alone "almost half the homes have either no access to or must share an inside lavatory. More than half have no hot water or must share, and more than 60% live in one or two rooms". Huge areas of Glasgow were in a similar position, but they didn't get that way under the SNP, or because Scotland was independent, they got that way under Westminster control and under the control of decades of Labour domination in George Square.

I wonder if Mr Russell would use his favourite word "stupid" to describe the way in which generation after generation of Glaswegians were condemned to live in what were called the worst slums in Europe. I can think of a few words, none of them printable.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

• PETER A Russell argues that we cannot have another referendum without the consent of a government foisted upon us by our neighbours.

He would have it that Scotland married Miss Right. We just didn’t know her first name was Always.

Alan Carmichael, Glasgow.

Glasgow slums from 1977Glasgow slums from 1977 (Image: Newsquest)

Never a voluntary union

BRIAN Nugent (Letters, June 20), tells us that Scotland can never be independent as long as it is part of either the UK or the EU. The difference between those two "unions" is that the EU is a voluntary union of equals who are free to leave whereas the UK - often described as a voluntary union of nations - is nothing of the sort.

Wales was never an independent nation; the people of Scotland were never consulted before its independence was "bought and sold for English gold" by "a parcel of rogues in a nation" in 1707. The UK only came into being when the Irish nation, at that time effectively an English colony, was annexed by Great Britain in 1801 to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Scotland and Wales are not "member nations" of the UK and most of the Irish nation has already departed. The No vote in 2014 should not be held to be a vote to remain in the UK as you cannot resign from a club which you never joined in the first place.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

More of the same beckons

ALISON Rowat is correct in suggesting that Labour polices are not being scrutinised and that Labour is getting away with shallow promises ("Why is everybody giving Labour such an easy time?", The Herald, June 19). One of the major issues for the UK as a whole is our ageing population (Scotland is no exception), yet Wes Streeting is proposing to take money from the NHS budget to buy beds in care homes. This does not stack up.

Labour has no firm commitment to increase Carers Allowance, only to review, and no commitment to introduce a Carers Supplement such as has been introduced in Scotland by the SNP, which is recognising that carers save the country millions.

Ms Rowat acknowledges that a sea of red may be about to descend on the green benches, yet for our vulnerable it reads like more of the same. As she suggests, Labour has some answering to do. Will the media step up?

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

Let all voices be heard

ANY party with a large majority forms, in Lord Hailsham’s words, an elective dictatorship. With somewhat less than a majority of votes, Labour is set for a huge majority of seats: a one-party state you might call it. Labour's leader (“my party”, he calls it), Sir Keir Starmer, has a history of broken commitments, but this boosterism has propelled him skywards in the polls, admittedly helped by the hapless Tories down south and media disenchantment with the SNP in Scotland.

I prefer politics where all voices are heard, but Labour stills insists on having lawmakers who are unelected in Westminster in the 21st century, and who represent political and financial interests that are not necessarily those of the majority. Will choices like this help Labour keep the good soup glow going until 2026 in Scotland? I have my doubts.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

Why vote to keep this going?

WE tend to have very short memories.

Let’s say there is a country where over a period of decades the level of poverty has increased substantially, one where personal debt is on the increase, life expectancy is falling, public services are collapsing, the minimum wage as set by the government is below what is generally accepted to be the minimum living wage, where food banks run by charities have to be used by those who are actually in work, where children go hungry, where the value of its fiat currency has dropped by 50 per cent relative to other major currencies in the last 50 years or to 20% of its relative value a century ago, yet the number of billionaires living there is increasing.

If in this country the richest 1% owned as much of the nation’s wealth as 70% of the general public or the top 10% owned 47% all of the national wealth and the government had created a national debt greater than the GDP of that country; would you describe as a functioning democracy working in the best interest of the general public? If you wouldn’t, why are you voting to perpetuate it in the next General Election?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.

What happened to standards?

IN Rory Stewart's book Politics On The Edge, he writes about being a newly-elected MP in 2010 and refers to the standards of public life which were established by a committee in 1994. He states they are "Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership."


Sue Wade, Ayr.