LETTERS (July 14) from Ruth Marr and Catriona Clark telling us how great the Scottish Government is, even with one hand tied behind its back, is familiar territory for SNP supporters. However, as we become aware of the various problems besetting our Scottish Government (ferries, drug deaths, the A9, hospital waiting times, census debacle and much more) we are continuously told that with independence and all the various levers of power available to it, like full tax and foreign policy, borrowing facilities, defence and all the other powers, then they would be able to make a much better job of governing us and to create a better and richer Scotland.

One of the problems that SNP supporters have is that by constantly berating egregious actions of the Conservative Government in Westminster, their only alternative is an unknown future based solely on aspiration. Evidence is hard to determine, especially when their own results seem to be less than what one would have hoped for. There may be an answer however.

Assuming that 40% of Scots support independence, whatever happens, 40% support remaining as part of the UK, and 20% will vote depending on what they see as the better option, then I have a proposal to put to the independence supporters. In order to convince the majority of these 20% to support independence, I suggest that in any future referendum on Scottish independence, if it is successful, we are guaranteed a future later referendum after (say) 10 years. If, as we are told, that our lives would be so much better after independence without the various challenges that have beset our present Government, the SNP should not be afraid of offering us a way back if that is what the majority wanted.

Without such a guarantee, we are being offered a pig in a poke with no way back. Little wonder the wavering 20% are suspicious. No knowledge of what the future will hold, only the rose-tinted view of the independence supporters. If such a future pans out and, following a successful initial result (for independence supporters) the later referendum reverses this (or indeed supports it), then there should be an agreement that no other referendum on this subject will take place for at least 100 years. Perhaps with this scenario Scotland will become a country more at peace with itself and your columns can report something other than what we have seen for the past 15 years.

While 10 years will probably not be long enough for all of the disentanglements between the UK and Scotland to be ironed out, I think it is probably long enough to see if independence is a good idea. Do you think the SNP will have the confidence in its aspirations to go for it?

Colin Gunn, Glasgow.

Read more: Yousaf is firm, fair and loyal – just the leader I want

The real cost of 'free' services

I AM compelled to respond to Ruth Marr’s letter, in which she replies to my own letter of July 13 and where, as I predicted, she could not fail to draw comparisons between the public spending measures in Scotland with those of England, a clear diversionary tactic.

Ms Marr talks up all the free services that are only available in Scotland but fails to mention how they are paid for. According to the House of Commons library in the period 2021/22, public spending per capita in Scotland was £13,881 compared to £11,549 in England, a whopping £2,332 more per head, and who provides the funding for public spending throughout our islands but the UK taxpayer. So, it is little wonder the SNP can afford to fund vote-winning policies diverting funds that should be used to support vital public services, whilst in particular starving local councils of proper financial aid.

Ms Marr also highlights the lack of NHS strikes, which is primarily due to the SNP Government caving in to pay demands without having to consider the financial implications. Meanwhile, the Government at Westminster would love to be able to fund the pay demands of doctors and nurses but it has to balance both fiscal and inflationary implications at all times, at the same time pledging to abide by the recommendations of the pay review body, unlike here. Furthermore, income tax is higher in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK and the latest proposal to land council taxpayers with crippling increases ("Council tax set to rise by 22% for those living in large homes", The Herald, July 13) demonstrates the SNP Government’s relentless squeeze on the middle classes, not to mention the many elderly pensioners who own properties in the higher bands.

Finally, when referring to Nicola Sturgeon Ms Marr states that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment, which is why I did not raise the issue of the financial scandal surrounding the SNP in my letter, merely pointing out that I felt it was ill-judged by Humza Yousaf to reward Ms. Sturgeon rather than suspend her.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.

• THAT Ruth Marr again goes on about no charges for university tuition, prescriptions, eye tests, baby boxes and all the rest as her justification of just how wonderfully the current Scottish Government under Humza Yousaf is performing beggars belief, when of course we all know this is paid for from our taxes which are the highest in the UK.

Surely it's time to stop this tiresome, non-factual "freebie" nonsense which is fooling nobody.

James Martin, Bearsden.

Read more: So farewell, SNP. It's time to unite behind a non-party indy movement

Yessers should set egos aside

WILLIE Maclean’s call (Letters, July 13) for the “Scottish nation to take control of its own destiny by uniting behind a non-party pro-independence movement" is very well made, but there are other reasons for doing this.

Recent polling suggests that the SNP vote has, not surprisingly given recent events, fallen back, but support for independence has proved to be more robust, suggesting that support for independence cannot easily be predicted from party membership. There is evidence of this from Redfield and Wilson’s most recent poll (July 1-2) that constituency support for the SNP stood at 33%, but support for independence was 45%.

Thus, if the issue cuts across party lines – and barring a major increase in SNP support to above 50%, which seems unlikely at the moment, as it will have to in order to win a future referendum – the question that arises is whether or not a single party is the best vehicle to take the issue forward. We might for instance consider the SNP’s capacity to absorb its 500% increase in membership after the 2015 election. Recognising that cross-party support is not so much an option but essential, this seems an ideal time to work for the kind of “non-party pro-independence movement” that Mr Maclean calls for, not only because of the current travails of the SNP but because independence is an issue beyond the grasp and capacity of any single party, perhaps both organisationally and given the complexity of wider policy.

In any event, if our independence is not an issue for the entire Scottish community, it is difficult to think of one that is. As such, our political parties and politicians, along with those individuals who support the independence cause, must put ego and other human frailties to one side, in order to create an organisation which has but a single aim – our independence from the UK.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

One of the SNP's successes
THE first part of my letter is a question. Suppose the two hulls in Port Glasgow had been delivered on time and on budget: would that in itself have been enough to sort all, or most, of the problems in service delivery?
Turning to Prestwick Airport, your Union-supporting correspondents really need to update their lists. It has been turned around and has been delivering a profit for at least two years. They need to move it from the list of disasters to the success list. Not that any of them know that such a list actually exists.
Iain Cope, Glasgow.

Brexit was no triumph

WILLIAM Loneskie (Letters, July 13) attempts to reassure the world with the triumphs of Brexit.

UK GDP stayed even only when measured in British pounds, which have lost a third of their world value as a direct result of Brexit. Those pounds are also losing their value rapidly inside Britain. Wage rises are a desperate bid to stay even.

GDP is reduced catastrophically in its buying power.

The number of people in work fell from 33 million to to 32,125,000 when Brexit legislation became law in 2020. However Covid was happening at the same time.

House prices are indeed up. No-one can afford them because their money loses value and all their other bills are up.

Worst and most tragically, the largest freedom a people ever had was shredded, citizenship of Europe.

These are the triumphs not of democracy but of democracy traduced, subverted and corrupted, with a wafer-thin vote obtained by lies and by hostile interference.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.