RUTH Marr (Letters, February 16) suggests that Boris Johnson should have taken the trouble to meet the people who live, work and vote in Scotland as they hold him in contempt. Once again we have the blinkered attitude of an SNP supporter spouting the nonsense that everyone in Scotland supports them and their endless independence distraction. The SNP does not speak for Scotland.
I suggest she herself takes the trouble to meet some more Scots outwith her own separatist circle. She would find those who hold in contempt a First Minister who has spent £9 million on overseas offices and countless sums on Gaelic signage and gender identity issues while her own constituency has homeless on the streets and her Health Secretary is complaining about lack of future funding for Covid tests and ambulances; who considers it important to tell us all her views on a footballer’s treatment of his cat, and the weather forecast, while saying nothing about long-overdue ferries, failed airports and unfit roads; who leads a party which wanted to close down freeports which would benefit thousands, simply because they are an idea which originated in Westminster; who panders to a tiny green minority in preventing oil and gas exploration which would provide a much-needed boost to jobs and the economy; and who values “selfies” at every opportunity rather than addressing real issues.
In seeking a leader to be held in contempt, one need look no further than Nicola Sturgeon and her endless grievance-ridden agenda, refusing ever to take responsibility and always blaming someone else.
Steph Johnson, Glasgow.
LOOK TO THE BIGGER PICTURE
IT appears that Neil Mackay (“Independence is our best future – despite the SNP”, February 17) sees the achievement of independence being conditional upon the campaign being led by those who share his narrow political view. In other words, I would suggest, he is an anti-democrat. I am sure that the vast majority of Yes supporters, like me, want independence because of a fundamental belief that a small country should be governed by its own people; not by the big country next door. The wider political and economic bent of the party leading the movement is completely irrelevant.
Once independence has been won, a new set of Scottish political parties will evolve – a right of centre party (perhaps reverting to the old name of Progressive that the Tories used in local government until the early 1970s), a left of centre party (perhaps resembling traditional Labour) and a range of minor parties. The SNP will wither away, its principal function completed. Then the Scottish people will elect governments that reflect their social and economic beliefs, all of which are currently secondary to the demand for self-determination.
Eric Begbie, Stirling.
ALL IN THE NAME OF INDEPENDENCE
NEIL Mackay says once more he is in favour of Scottish independence but doesn’t like the SNP. I joined the SNP as a socialist knowing that it was not as left as I would like. Many of the members I met were natural Conservatives or Liberal, but we were all in it together for the sake of Scotland’s future.
Over the years I contested council seats and parliamentary seats, I climbed thousands of stairs and spoke to thousands of people at their doors. I walked the streets with leaflets, I spoke at open-air rallies and at large indoor assemblies. I helped to organise jumble sales, dances, socials and quiz nights to raise a few pounds for the party.
Many a time I stood in cold or rain outside election stations to welcome voters. And all for the sake of what Mr Mackay wants – independence.
As a national newspaper journalist for nearly 50 years I know how easy it is to sit by the typewriter and sort out the world. Yes, it is hard, Mr Mackay, working the doors but, some of us have to do it.
George MacDougall, Edinburgh.
* NEIL Mackay is a much younger man than me but his excellent column today indicates that his support for independence has arisen from a very similar political journey to my own. Like him, I don’t hate the SNP but view independence as an essential democratic goal for our Scottish nation, including those who do hate the SNP.
I am often asked why I want to be separated from the English. I always reply that I don’t want to be separated from our neighbours in England any more than from my neighbours here in Milngavie but I don’t want either our nation or my home to be controlled by the neighbours. Like Mr Mackay I am not a nationalist or a flag-waver and do not think my nation is better than any other, but my nationality is Scottish and I would be happy to fly the EU flag alongside the Saltire.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.
LEARNING TO WALK TALL IN THE WORLD
NEIL Mackay unwittingly but helpfully demonstrates the internalised cringe of the underdog. His relationship with independence and the SNP is like his relationship with America: “I love America – I just don’t like long-haul flights.” But independence is a long-haul flight, the route may deviate and the first destination may well not fit Mr Mackay’s vision of it. Independence means dealing with that; reshaping it; working it out.
Scotland’s 300 years of entanglement with the Union has laid down layers of dependency. Many quail at the task of independence. Others can’t face it. But, to quote the Irish economist David McWilliams, “independence is how a nation grows up. It’s how you walk tall in the world – as a sovereign nation that deals with its own problems, figures things out. If things go wrong that’s your fault. You create a vision and put together the structure to achieve that vision. You back yourselves to work it out.”
Mr Mackay has not lost faith in independence; just the SNP. That’s fine.
Frances Roberts, Ardrishaig.
* NEIL Mackay’s article was so spot on I wish I had written it myself. I too was a supporter of the SNP for a while, as it seemed at the time, around 30 years ago, that it could do no worse than Scottish Labour. Dearie me, how mistaken can one possibly be?
Rick Lawrie, Aberdour.
NOTHING MAJOR HAS CHANGED
FROM reading the papers over the last few weeks, it would appear that there is an independence campaign well under way, with extensive coverage of pension provision, companies talking about leaving again and analysis of our economic position. We have even had SNP politicians going off to the Ukraine for an expensive photo opportunity to emphasise their international reputation, as if anyone was taken in by that.
Back in 2012, the Scottish Government at least had the good manners to announce that a campaign was under way, and gave us a date. No such niceties this time. It seems like the argument is going to be instigated before any plan is in place.
The interesting feature in all this is that nothing significant has changed since 2014. Back then, the Yes campaign lost the referendum because it did not have a compelling economic case. Despite having seven years to rectify this, there are no proposals to address this at all. The truth, of course, is that the economic argument is a strength of the Union, and there is nothing that the SNP can do about that. So, having no plan, we have irritating arguments, enough to divert attention from other important issues, but nothing of substance, which even their own supporters can see. Can Nicola Sturgeon not just admit that this is not going to happen, difficult for her as that might be?
Victor Clements, Aberfeldy.
THE LIBDEM VIEW ON EUROPE
IN the interests of accuracy I feel obliged to point out a significant error on the part of your correspondent, Fraser Grant (Letters, February 16), on where different parties stand in relation to Europe.
The Liberal Democrat position on Europe was indicated in your paper at the weekend by its Scottish leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton, (“I would not meet one act of economic vandalism with another”, The Herald, February 12), where he states quite clearly his belief that “the UK’s future is at the heart of Europe”.
This as I understand it is also the Liberal Democrat position UK-wide. It is therefore quite false to draw the conclusion that “indy is our only option”.
Robert Bell, Cambuslang.
Read more: Johnson cannot escape the contempt of the people of Scotland