WHEN looking at indyref2 those seeking the right of self-determination for the people of Scotland must acknowledge that there are a lot of citizens, some frightened, some with huge issues of self-interest, both resistant to change, and taking on any form of arguably manageable risk. They are hunkered down, perhaps considering their limited wealth, or possibilities of future wealth, seemingly being more safe under a Tory UK government.

Panicked, they will lash out in all directions, with accusations of the SNP members being fascists. There is fear of leaving the EU protection and single market, but this is less than the fear generated from our USA friends, deciding that there was more for them to fear from Hillary Clinton being President than Trump.

There is greater fear from the idea that self-determination could be enacted for the people of Scotland, leaving the people of Scotland in charge, who might not provide a perceived safe UK Tory mix of current low tax and low benefits. This does not mean they would vote Tory, only that they represent the status quo. The UK leaving the EU removes the status quo somewhat, but they feel there lies certainty.

But here’s the rub: there’s even more uncertainty to come, because as the world moves on, and the UK debt advances, we need to move towards a world where we occupy peoples’ talents for the common good, rather than dumping them on the scrapheap. This change possibly via a National Income, and many others not yet even considered, offers those already frightened, yet more to be frightened of.

It’s good to talk, but harder to talk to and reassure the most frightened. Westminster has shown us that a promise given does not have to be kept. Those seeking self-determination have tried issuing a detailed White Paper to quell such fears, but the lies from Better Together took their toll. Clarity and transparency over Scottish finances, and the next 10 years of projections need to be published, and issued to every Scottish Citizen, as a starting point. But more certainty may still be required. This is where demonstrably delivering more houses, and using the Euro in parallel with the Great Brexit Pound, is so important.

There is also great public uncertainty with respect to local government and health boards. The lack of clarity and transparency in this area is gross, especially if the issue involves care of the elderly. The same current finance and projections, also need to be published and issued to every citizen.

This is what community involvement needs, not least to calm the fears of those viewing potentially massive changes to their lives, and their families lives.

Seeing a surplus of care home beds, and the like, in communities is reassuring to those approaching this stage in their lives, and would drown out those baying to cut public spending to deliver tax cuts for the rich.

Stephen Tingle, Glasgow

I SQUIRMED when I saw the letters suggesting Princess Anne be invited to be the Scottish Queen.

Will we never learn? Why oh why should an independent Scotland burden itself with the expense of supporting a monarch? There will be plenty of real priorities for our budget. Anne’s family own Balmoral. They will be as welcome as any other visitor. Should they wish to take up residence in Scotland no-one will turn them away as long as they can support themselves.

Catriona Grigg, Embo


MICHAEL Fallon had pronounced on thwarting Indyref2 in The Herald and then retracted later on a Good Morning radio programme. Does he really know his own mind? Sound tough without reflecting!

What does one make of this man and his utterances?

Following on from his straying into Scottish politics, he finally got back to his “day job” of being Defence Secretary and launched forth on his latest outburst against Russia by accusing Putin of “weaponising misinformation” to create a “post-truth” age! That is quite a mouthful!

Other comments in the MSM show him claiming that there would be a “price to pay”, and that Russia’s actions cannot be regarded as “business as usual”. At least he said “actions” and not “behaviour”, the usual word used by UK ministers.

He has also threatened to use cyber war tactics in retaliation. So far, this is the classic response of the “junior” partner in the special relationship: sound tough for home consumption.

However, being aware that Trump has often praised Putin and has expressed the wish to meet with him at some time in Reykjavik, a hark back to Reagan’s meetings with Gorbachev, the Defence Secretary states or hopes that Donald Trump is a realist. Fallon is also mindful that any public tweet from Trump could undermine his previous comments, so he continues stating that Russia and the USA are great nations and there needs to be engagement between these nations to preserve the “rule-based information system underpinning security and prosperity”. That is also another mouthful!

Yet, what we have witnessed in Trump so far is a tearing up of the rules of decorum and dialogue between heads of state and diplomacy by ill-tempered tweets even to friends and allies.

So where do Fallon and the UK Government go from now on? I suppose they will behind the scenes fall into line with whatever Trump proposes, while stating they do not like it for home consumption. They will have no choice after invoking Article 50.

John Edgar, Blackford, Auchterarder

I AM sure I am not alone in failing to comprehend the actions of the 498 MPs who voted in favour of Brexit. Before last June, most of them were assuring us that leaving the European Union would be a political and economic disaster.

How do they reconcile their vote with the dire warnings they were issuing only a few months ago? Have there really been so many Damascene conversions in such a short time?

These people are sent to Westminster as representatives, not as delegates. They are expected to use their intelligence and judgement to make decisions that are in the best interests of their constituents, according to their own conscience. Such an apparent failure to recognise the responsibilities of office does not inspire confidence.

Elizabeth Knowles, Aberdeenshire

SHONA Craven (Never mind income — unearned wealth must be tax target, The National, February 3) rightly highlights the importance of wealth taxes in countering inequality. Although these are not generally within the power of the Scottish Government, Holyrood does have the ability to replace the widely reviled and regressive Council Tax with a Land Value Tax (LVT).

As Andy Wightman has shown, an LVT that brought in the same revenue as existing council taxes could leave the majority of households better off and take most from the biggest property owners. LVT can discourage land speculation and land banking and bring benefits of infrastructure investment back to the public purse. Unsurprisingly, it generates a lot of interest.

Sarah Glynn, Dundee

LESLEY Riddoch describes President Trump’s proposed policies as a “car crash”. Included in Lesley’s anticipated automobile accidents is the dismantling of the Roe v Wade judgment of 1973 that the unborn child is less than human and therefore removing its life was not a violation of its human rights. Roe v Wade was based on principles laid down by a Supreme Court judgment of 1857, which declared the black people of America were less than human, could not have their human rights removed and could be enslaved with impunity.

It caused delight in the south and horror in the north and was a principal contributor to the civil war. Racism is very much around in the USA abortion debate today – 74 per cent of the abortions carried out by Planned Parenthood, America’s main abortion provider, are carried out on Afro-American women. Over the years a considerable number of prominent black voices have claimed Planned Parenthood is racist. President Trump has already withdrawn federal funding from this organization, to my mind not any kind of car crash.

Alan Clayton, Strachur, Argyll

GOODNESS knows the Catholic Church has its faults but to equate it with Islamic terrorists and Nazism seems a tad strong (Jacqui Hall, Letters, February 2). It seems every sub-group within society is to be protected except Catholics.

Tolerance only seems to extend to groups with which Ms Hall has shared values. If this is the new independent Scotland we are striving for perhaps it’s not the place I want to live. Jacqui needs to get out a bit more and maybe meet some Catholics. Some are almost human and one or two make a valuable contribution to society.

Robert Harvie, Bishopbriggs


MURDO Fraser, Tory list MSP, described the Greens in Parliament during the debate on the Scottish Budget as “lentil-munching, sandal-wearing watermelons”.

In my view, he seems not to understand the implications of that statement. The Tories went into the debate with the prime objective of lowering the level of tax for the richest 10 per cent of the population.

What the Tories have finished up with is a situation where they will be paying more tax than in the original submission to Parliament.

If they had either abstained or sent off an MSP to do some more refereeing instead of attending Holyrood with a few to keep an eye on him they would have ended up with a situation much closer to their main objective.

So the “Strong Opposition” party has been outmanoeuvred by a few watermelons.

Some show of strength that is!

Neil Myles, Scone

WHILE I enjoy colourful language from our politicians, to condemn someone for liking lentils seems a bit unfair. Without such legumes there would be no poppadoms. Then we would face the crunch...

John Macanenay, Glasgow