PETER A Russell (Letters, June 1) agrees that powers to hold an independence referendum should be transferred to Scotland’s parliament, as long as “it followed international best practice and required a two-thirds majority for major constitutional change”.

My concern is with his claim of a two-thirds majority being “international best practice”, a suspicion increased by consulting a House of Commons Library paper, “Thresholds in Referendums”.

As well as reviewing UK practice, the paper also compares the threshold required to approve major constitutional change in other countries. This makes clear that a simple majority will often suffice. For instance, this is the requirement in Ireland, Austria, France, Finland, Greece, Iceland and the Netherlands.

Moreover, while there are examples of countries requiring more than a simple majority, no country is identified as requiring a two-thirds. More often any additional requirements focus on turnout, or the change to be supported by a minimum percentage support by the electorate – for instance 40%.

It is therefore difficult to see just what justification there is for Mr Russell’s claim that a two-thirds majority is “international best practice”, beyond that he says so. Since 2014 there has been a rising tide of bids for an acceptable majority for independence. Mr Russell’s two-thirds is by no means the most demanding, as I seem to recall a requirement of even 75% of the electorate voting in favour.

While the requirement of majority support for independence is axiomatic, the size of that majority is not the obvious matter that Mr Russell would have us believe it is. This is particularly so as a very large majority requirement may act as a deterrent to support change, and can itself therefore be criticised as undemocratic.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Preaching to deaf ears

PETER A Russell writes about the necessary changes in independence-seeking strategies to convince enough Union-supporting people to switch.

All very well, but previous letters from me have referred to the possible dangers of staying in the Union and pointed out the possible advantages of independence. I've deliberately not involved the side issues of the performance of the SNP in government.

I have found that the Union-supporting correspondents totally ignore what I write and switch immediately to detailed and often unfair complaints against the SNP. In short, there are no arguments on Earth that I believe could convince the British nationalists to switch.

On the specific point of Holyrood having the power to hold referendums, I totally agree, as it is the body that most closely represents the people of Scotland. Even there, however, Mr Russell wants it all his own way. I think a 55 per cent majority would be more than fair.

Iain Cope, Glasgow.

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• IN response to Peter A Russell's statement that Indyref 2 "is not going to happen under the current constitutional settlement", as far as I am aware the constitutional settlement hasn't changed since 2014 when Indyref1 occurred, so why not Indyref 2? I suspect what he means is that the UK Government got such a fright in 2014 that it will not allow it again, but that's not a constitutional matter.

As for trying to work towards independence from within an existing UK political party: tried that, got the T-shirt, didn't work.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Read more: If Yes camp had any sense, they would calm down and try to convert us

It's Hepburn who should apologise

WHILE our taxpayer-funded Minister for Independence, Grievance and Division, Jamie Hepburn, is awaiting the apology he has demanded from Gordon Brown for a Daily Record headline from nearly 10 years ago ("SNP's Independence Minister asks Gordon Brown to apologise for the Vow", heraldscotland, June 1), perhaps he could take some time out from his busy diary to prepare on the SNP's behalf a number of apologies for its own failure on promises from its time in office.

He could consider starting with the following – failure to meet promised closure of the attainment gap; failure to meet the promised roll-out of nationwide superfast broadband; failure to deliver promised replacement ferries; failure to meet the promised reduction in Primary 1-3 class sizes; failure to undertake the promised council tax replacement; failure to create a promised not-for-profit energy company; failure to meet promised NHS waiting times and reductions in delayed discharges; failure to reach the promised level of newly-created "green" jobs; failure to recruit the promised levels of teachers; failure to deliver the promised level of affordable new homes; failure to recruit the promised level of police officers; failure to provide the promised levels of laptops to schoolchildren; failure to provide promised levels of financial support to victims of crime; failure to provide headteachers with the promised level of powers, and failure to meet the targeted dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness.

I am sure there are many more, but these would give Mr Hepburn an alternative focus instead of spending his time assessing what blame to divert to Westminster.

Robin McNaught, Bridge of Weir.

Common bonds everywhere

ROSEMARY Goring's article (“We are separated from England by more than a border”, The Herald, June 1) is saddening to read in many respects. There have always been cultural differences between any of the component parts of the United Kingdom further differentiated in regional areas and conurbations. In my working lifetime with colleagues from what we Scots would say all airts and pairts be they from Caithness, Carmarthen or Cornwall, we had a common bond and could argue the merits and demerits of any subject or topic, oft enlightened without rancour on those reflecting our differing backgrounds and beliefs.

As a nation we are all greater in being the sum of our parts than as separate entities no matter if geophysically there are differences, the way of life in general and dialects broadly varying from place to place.

What is now creating schisms is the ever-increasing overbearing governance and indifference by London-based Westminster to the detriment of many parts of the country. This is now sadly reflected by Holyrood in its own fiefdom of Scotland.

John Macnab, Falkirk.

Read more: It's time we took back control from Holyrood

UK is spoiling for a fight

THE UK Government’s decision to exclude glass from Scotland’s bottle scheme ("Scottish Government may not proceed with DRS – Yousaf", The Herald, June 1) is not just a juvenile reaction to a sensible Scottish Government plan to minimise rubbish in the streets and countryside. It is a serious attempt to undermine what it fears is a move towards further devolution.

Alister Jack may enjoy personal ennoblement for doing it, but history will vilify his name for ever as another Toom Tabard who bowed to an alien ruler.

Independence in Scotland is now inevitable. The chaotic and self-damaging policies of Brexit are ever more obvious.

At present the Scottish Parliament has governed us well enough, despite Brexit, to have the highest GDP growth in the whole of the UK ("Scottish economy grows at four times UK pace", The Herald, June 1). How much better off we could be if we were allowed to govern ourselves.

The UK Government is now reacting to our success by showing that it has the muscle to prevent Scotland thriving.

Is this the first blow in our battle to leave the UK?

When we succeed, we will be able to use the time-honoured riposte of schoolchildren, “he started it!”.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

Why does Slater have such power?

IT’S indicative of modern politics and the structure of the Scottish political system that Lorna Slater holds such an incredibly powerful position in the Scottish Government.

As far as I can see she’s never won an election and entered the Scottish Parliament only a few years ago on 14% of votes cast.

She has embraced the SNP policy of blaming Westminster for everything whilst typically accepting responsibility for nothing.

Her latest condescending rant is to blame Westminster for not approving her quite ridiculous and impractical Deposit Return Scheme.

Her lack of willingness to listen to those most affected by the scheme is a disgrace and again typical of the force-feeding style from politicians, who have no real mandate, to shove their aims down our throats. I believe they call it progressive politics?

I was involved in early discussions on the scheme a few years ago and it was immediately apparent that the law of unintended consequences was to be ignored and those of us with decades of experience in the licensed trade were to be dismissed as dinosaurs.

None of us can doubt the objective to help improve our environment is right, but there has to be a proper assessment of medium-term impact on business.

What a dreadful mess we’ve created when someone with 14% of the vote can ride roughshod over us on a regular basis whilst claiming the moral high ground.

John Gilligan, Ayr.