NEIL Mackay states that he “is struggling to vote SNP” and that he is “looking for reasons to vote Labour” although he also states that he is open to being persuaded as to how to vote ("This vindictive policy sickens me", The Herald, June 20).

One of his reasons for having difficulty supporting SNP is that “the SNP is useless in government”. I accept that the current SNP-led Government could and should have performed better. (One recent example I would make is the recent HMIPS report on prisoner progression, but that I will leave that for another letter). Having legitimate criticisms of the SNP when in government does not however detract from the ideal of Scottish independence. The SNP is a means to an end: Scottish independence. It is therefore perfectly possible to have legitimate criticisms of an SNP-led Scottish Government but still vote for it in a General Election as being the party most likely to achieve the aim of Scottish independence.

In any event, and without seeking to excuse the current Scottish Government, he is not comparing like with like. He mentions, for instance, “the huge cut to affordable housing”, but he does not explain the very limited choices available to any Scottish Government to raise additional income which would have made the cut unnecessary. I am not suggesting that he is wrong to criticise the SNP for making that cut. I do suggest though that he ought to have recognised that all Scottish governments are necessarily constrained in how they can raise funds because of devolution legislation. He seemed to accept this point previously, as when he suggested in a column on May 18 that “a courageous politician would take money from the prison budget... and invest in long-term support for children in poverty”. If Scotland was independent having its fiat currency it could afford to spend more on affordable housing (and prisoner progression, for that matter).

Mr Mackay goes on to say “I want the Tories gone - indeed destroyed - and Labour will do that, not the SNP". He knows that no matter whenever Scotland did return a majority of Labour MPs that result made no difference to the aim of Scottish independence; just as he knows that returning any number of Labour MPs throughout the whole of the UK has never been a guarantee of destruction of the Conservative Party.

Despite all this, it is encouraging that he will take up the offer by his former MP Chris Stephens to discuss the merits of voting SNP. For me the issue is straightforward: which party will be best placed to gain Scotland its independence. That rules out all unionist parties and instead leaves open consideration of those parties which support and promote Scottish independence.

I accept that instead Neil Mackay will want reassurances on specific topics, such as the eradication of child poverty, and I wish Chris Stephens all the best in his effort to persuade him of which party to vote for.

David Logan, Milngavie.

READ MORE: Shouldn't line one, page one have been how much indy would cost?

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No concerns about indy

UNLIKE some correspondents, I have no misgivings about independence, having grown up with a family member studying Treasury accounts.

We do not know how much Scottish tax is paid, nor returned as Holyrood’s budget. Since 1921, when Scotland contributed £119 million against about £29m spent for Scotland, only UK figures for the whole UK are produced, with a population share of credit and debit. If the total health budget is reduced due to privatisation, Scotland’s health budget is reduced too. Holyrood either makes NHS cuts or takes a bite out of another part of the budget. Thus Scotland nominally has a “deficit”, as a share of UK debt which Holyrood did not create.

After independence, that deficit would not exist. New income from selling resources, which we pay extra on our bills to send south, would result. Daily standing charges are 61p in the North of Scotland but 40p in London. Our renewables producers pay £7.36 per megawatt hour to send 40% south via the Grid, against 49p from Wales and a subsidy around London, based on the distance of producer from user - except for those in northern Scotland on the doorstep of production. An independent Scotland could charge a fair retail price.

Now, however, we will be paying a share of Grid improvements, desecrating our scenic countryside, to send even more renewables south to England. The Tory Government says that Scotland has “vast potential for renewable power” and Grid improvements are “absolutely fundamental … to get low-carbon power to England”.

This is exactly how the British Empire treated the resources of every colony.With independence, England would have to buy ours. Moreover, plans are afoot to take our fresh water south to combat droughts in England and we will pay a share of costs: another source of income after independence.

Personally, however dissatisfied I am with the Holyrood government, I will still vote SNP until independence is won. Every vote for other than the SNP in the coming election will simply delay that outcome, strengthening the opposition, allowing them to claim that Scots no longer care about independence.

P Davidson, Falkirk.

Think before you vote

ON July 5 a new, mainly English, unionist party will be forming a government. Even without Scottish votes, this government will have a sizeable majority. As we have seen from the 2019 election, a large majority is not a good thing.

Scots should vote for a strong voice in opposition. The Scotland branches of unionist parties will always defer to their masters in Westminster. We need to get behind a party that will stand up for Scotland's interests.

Think before you vote, but please vote.

Fiona Murray, Edinburgh.

Time to end devolution

WHAT absolute drivel we are having to listen to from John Swinney and his merry band at Holyrood. The SNP administration has for some considerable period failed the people of Scotland in so many ways.

Let's face it, without the subsidies in the form of the Barnett Formula inputs to the Scottish economy, this northerly part of the UK would be bankrupt.

Mr Swinney has been handed the poisoned chalice. After misrule by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland is in a terrible state in almost all of the devolved sectors. The only hope for recovery from this sad state of affairs is for the Scottish Parliament to be dissolved.

To all but the most fervent of independence supporters this political experiment has proved to be inadequate in most devolved sectors. Economically it quite simply cannot be expected to survive in its present form.

The good folks of Scotland deserve better.

Robert IG Scott, Ceres, Fife.

Contrary position

KATE Forbes expresses her surprise at the refusal of the Labour Party to consider rejoining the EU Single Market ("Forbes: social justice and finances go hand in hand", The Herald, June 21). However, there was no response from the Deputy First Minister over the refusal of the SNP politicians at Westminster to support the 2019 motion for the UK to retain membership of the EU customs union.

Is there an explanation as to why the SNP supports membership of the single market but refused to retain Scotland's membership of the customs union?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

• DEPUTY FM Kate Forbes comments about net immigration to Scotland, quotes HMRC as her source, but offers no breakdown of the difference of age and employment potential between those in and those out ("Forbes urges next UK Government to develop ‘tailored migration’ system", The Herald, June 21).

Kate Forbes is educated to graduate level. In the setting of a university tutorial, she would not escape making such a shallow comment. We, The Herald's readership, are clearly regarded by Kate Forbes as below her intellectual threshold; and thus readily deceived.

William Durward, Bearsden.

Kate ForbesKate Forbes (Image: PA)

Questions for the Greens

AMONGST the plethora of promises of what political parties are not going to do, one pledge from the Scottish Green Party intrigues me: taxing those who fly frequently. First, how is this going to be enforced, are the airlines going to be required to send HMRC details of every passenger? To tie these up surely it would mean we would need to include our National Insurance number on every airline booking. Depending on whether it includes domestic flights this would catch those who work away from home, which would (or should) include MPs.

Government ministers, particularly those in the Foreign Office, as well as Scottish MPs would see their tax bill rise considerably as a result. Those who fly most frequently are those on business who are trying to bring contracts and business to our country, so this tax is penalising those trying to create wealth, something else we often hear from political parties.

I am looking forward to hearing Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie answer my points if they ever get asked by the press.

Richard Wiggins, Prestwick.