It's worth a try

Raymond Paul (letter, 29 August) suggests an independent Scotland would be a 'basket case'. There are many arguments, but to me the relative success and prosperity of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland '“ all different from each other but all doing better than Scotland '“ suggests to me that we should join them in independence.

If we are in such a bad way after 300 years of being part of the UK, let’s try something else.

David Stevenson

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Blacket Place, Edinburgh

SNP propaganda

Whenever the Scottish Government start talking about the launch of another ‘national conversation’ you know we are about to be treated to another of their propaganda campaigns (‘Soft No voters to be targeted in new SNP drive for independence’, 29 August).

The big push this time will be to try to convince us that we must leave the UK to stay in the EU.

No matter that two million Scots voted to stay in the UK in 2014, or that over one million voted to leave the EU in 2016, and that a healthy dose of euroscepticism also exists amongst those who voted remain.

For the SNP leadership, the EU is just a handy excuse to engineer another divisive referendum. They ignore, of course, recent polling showing a majority for staying in the UK, or even clearer polling saying people do not want another referendum.

In much the same way as they plan on ignoring the reality of a £14.8 billion fiscal deficit because it does not fit with their separatist ambitions.

The one thing that is clear about this national conversation before it begins is that no matter what the people of Scotland say, the SNP will still aim to get their way.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire

Not doing the job

Like many others, I was under the impression that the First Minister was elected to lead a government to run Scotland.

Jaunting abroad pretending to be a foreign diplomat is surely not in her job description.

Neither should be arranging conferences on independence preparations.

In the real world those who do not deliver to their job description are taken to task, but politicians seem to be able to do what they wish and only have a performance review every five years.

Derek Sharp

Blinkbonny Road, Edinburgh

Financial burden

Your correspondents who repeatedly criticise Nicola Sturgeon for referring to a second referendum instead of concentrating on the “day job” are absolutely correct, but must consider one vital point.

The SNP are hardly in power because of the stellar job they have made of running the country, despite having more devolved powers than any Scottish Government since the union and more public spending per head than the rest of the UK.

No, it is because 45% of the electorate want separation at any cost. If Ms Sturgeon were to come clean, stop dangling the carrot and admit that the dream is now a financial and political impossibility, she would be consigning her party to political oblivion, and we are all too aware that under the present regime there are not too many other good jobs out there.

Walter Allan

Colinton Mains Drive, Edinburgh

Ministerial myth

Is it possible for Scotland’s Brexit minister to do all the things Brian Monteith’s article suggests? (Perspective, 29 August)

Rather the appointment of a “Scotland Brexit minister” is the political expression of our popular culture.

It can be seen as the triumph of “form over function” so that appearance is everything.

How, in the realities of political power, is a Scottish minister party to UK and EU negotiations? However, there is the “appearance of influence” which is everything in popular “form over function” culture.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk, Inverurie

Mixed message

The response of senior members of the SNP, Angus MacNeil and Derek Mackay, to the latest damning Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) numbers suggests post-truth politics will increasingly feature in Scottish constitutional debate – just as it did during the EU referendum.

We became used to Nigel Farage and Michael Gove focusing on our emotions, telling us not to believe the experts, to ignore the facts and so put the ‘great’ back in Britain.

Now, closer to home, first we have GERS denier MacNeil deploying the Scottish Government’s own depressing economic data forecasts. Data which, when more favourable years ago, Alex Salmond told us we must absolutely rely upon.

Then we have Mackay claiming the EU would welcome a breakaway Scotland with its 9.5% deficit, despite EU entry rules specifically stating that on joining deficits must not exceed 3%.

The message coming from those who want to leave the UK is strikingly similar to those who sought Brexit.

The SNP tells Scots to ignore inconvenient truths, invariably dismissing discussion of economic and cultural isolation as scaremongering from Westminster or by the BBC, arguably the world’s most highly-regarded news broadcasters.

Instead, we are required to wrap ourselves in the saltire – now usurped as a separatist symbol – and loudly yell Yes!

Then we must unquestioningly quote Nicola Sturgeon’s oft-repeated mantra that only by breaking away from the safety and security of the UK – with some vague, distant,and costly hope that one day we might join the EU – could Scotland once again become ‘great’.

Martin Redfern

Royal Circus, Edinburgh

Shankly the great

I spent a week at the Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, admiring all Bill Shankly’s memorabilia and reading his one liners. The best one was “ If you can’t make decisions in life you’re a bloody menace. You would be better becoming an MP.”

Shankly, Scot born and bred in Glenbuck, Ayrshire, was one of the most successful managers of Liverpool Football Club.

Margaret Wallace

Broomfield Avenue, Cumnock

Out of touch

So Jeremy Corbyn does not consider himself wealthy.

You get the salary for the job and Mr Corbyn’s current job and salary as leader of the opposition at Westminster is a mere £138,000.

This is topped up by Mr Corbyn’s state pension of £6,000. I am sure few would want to be in Mr Corbyn’s shoes right now, as the Labour leadership campaign indicates.

But Mr Corbyn’s claim not to be wealthy is a real slap in the face to many, including the grass roots of his own party who are backing him in the leadership campaign.

And what about those struggling with the austerity cuts, those having to utilise their local food banks, those who struggle from week to week on zero hours contacts?

How would they judge Mr Corbyn’s salary for the job, and what message does this convey?

Mr Corbyn, in not considering himself to be wealthy, clearly indicates how out of touch he is with the working classes.

Catriona Clark

Banknock, Falkirk

Conditions for life

It is true, as Richard Lucas claims, that “a remarkable array of unlikely conditions must be met to make a planet potentially life bearing” (Letters, 29 August).

It seems that those conditions were met here, which is why there is life on Earth. But then, in an infinite universe, such rare conditions were bound to occur somewhere.

As to how life started in the first place, we are not short of theories. Contrary to Mr Lucas’s claim, there is reason to believe that primitive life (bacteria) and then more complex forms did emerge when the conditions were right.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Burkini ban

I cannot agree at all with French police ordering a woman in a burkini to remove her clothing – that was totally out of order.

The terrorist attacks in France were truly appalling, but this issue regarding the wearing of burkinis should never have been linked to those atrocities in any fashion.

Judi Martin

Maryculter, Aberdeenshire