JULIE Hepburn is absolutely correct in what she says concerning Tory voters in Scotland and their voting preferences and intentions, and all should be assured that their views matter, but these should always be expressed, on both sides, in a decent, honest and respectful manner (Don't forget we need to win over Tory voters to independence, July 7).

What really matters is that the independence vote is achieved. Then and only then will the real work begin to create a decent and caring society, building upon what we have already achieved, to make sure that Scotland is a great place in which all can live in a decent and caring environment.

I was one of those who voted for Julie in the recent vote, for the simple reason that I felt she had a lot to offer the independence cause, and at that time she was the only candidate without other calls on her time. Things have now changed somewhat, but I certainly think there is still a huge opening for her talents to influence the way forward, and I look forward to her progress in the months to come.

Away back in the mists of time, when I was first allowed into a voting booth, Winston Churchill was still leading the Tory party. At that time, apart from a small number of Liberals, if you lived outwith the industrial belt or less privileged areas of the large cities, you were going to be represented by a Tory. There were over 30 of them then. They were then listed as "Scottish Conservatives and Unionists".

Mostly they were country landowners. Being the son of a tenant farmer I had an up close view of the system as I grew up, and, by and large, it was a fairly good and caring system, with my non-Tory-voting family working well with the Tory-supporting landlord for our mutual benefit. Soon, however, things began to change, and as the years rolled on a completely new, confrontational and selfish attitude began to take hold. You all know where we are now – dragged down into a system of entrenched self-interest and greed for power where the needs of the individual are totally unimportant.

In an independent Scotland a modern Tory party would of course be welcome, and able to take part and do its bit for the good of the population, but in a much better and kindlier atmosphere that that prevailing in the Westminster right-wing midden.

Banners and slogans exemplified by some of those carried at recent demonstrations are no help at all to our cause and should be discouraged. We must also make it very plain to all those who live here but were born in England that they are also "one of us".

George M Mitchell

TODAY'S letter by Alan Oliver makes interesting reading but I have to differ from him, as he in his turn differed from Julie Hepburn. In advocating independence, we Scots must make it very clear to everyone that though we would no longer be part of a political entity called "Great Britain", we would still be British.

During Norway’s struggle for independence – first from Denmark, which she gained in 1814, later from Sweden, which she gained in 1905 – there was never any question that Norway was not going to be part of Scandinavia. Indeed, Norway could now be regarded as the quintessential Scandinavian realm.

How fine it would be if an independent Scotland were acknowledged as the country that best represents what it is to be British.

Alan Fyfe
West Fife