BILL Ramsay’s letter of Wednesday (in reply to the headline “Hands Off Our Whisky!”) is worthy of further expansion. He rightly makes the point that the average export price of a bottle of Scotch is around £3.33. This price per bottle, when multiplied by the number of bottled exported annually, is the basis for the much vaunted claim by the Scotch Whisky Association that the industry contributes “£4.37 billion pounds to the UK/Scottish economy annually”.

This is, of course, only the first stage in the distribution chain. Before a bottle of Scotch arrives in an overseas retail shop (priced from £17 in the case of a common blend) to several hundred pounds per bottle (in the case of more exotic brands and single malts) it will likely have passed through several companies – many owned by the original multinational producers – who take a further cut of the revenue. The real global value of Scotch whisky exports is thus many times higher.

Professor John Kay is not just any old economist. He is a visiting Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh – the city of his birth. He is a former member of the First Minister’s Council of Economic Advisers, was a weekly columnist in the Financial Times and led the Kay Review of equity markets for former UK Business Secretary Vince Cable. Not exactly the typical Trot! He estimates that the true global value of Scotch whisky exports is around £25bn. As someone who has spent 40 years working in the Scotch whisky industry, primarily in the US and Europe, I would concur with that estimate.

Further, Professor Kay believes that only £400m of the £25bn global retail sales value of Scotch whisky (less than 2%) remains in Scotland – mainly as wages for relatively lowly-paid jobs in production facilities (adverts for production operators in 2017 quoted rates of £7.20 per hour) and local purchases of goods and services.

It is a matter of concern, therefore, that attempts to simply “review” the economics of the Scotch whisky industry by successive annual conferences of the SNP have been repeatedly stymied by the Agenda Committee since 2011.

Donald Blair

THE UK voted, as a whole, by quite a slender margin to leave the EU, but this was on the back of preposterous “porkie pies”, propagated in a totally unscrupulous campaign, despite which Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain.

Scotland is not a region of the UK. It is a separate country, united to England only by the sleazy Treaty of Union of 1707, whose bonds grow ever more tenuous.

27 countries (28, if you count Scotland), want to stay in. What makes the divided view of the country led (or should I say misled) by Westminster so extra special?

Joseph G Miller

IN general I agree with Kevin McKenna’s mature standpoint (We shouldn’t bring politics into Davidson’s mental health, September 19).

There is, however, one aspect of this whole case where it’s fair to comment on the overlap of politics and the mental health of politicians.

The Tory line all along has been that “Ruth doesn’t want to be Prime Minister, her ambition is to be First Minister of Scotland”.

The implication now becomes clear: leadership of a big important country like England is too stressful, but a wee tinpot region like Scotland is a piece of cake.

Davidson’s past history of mental health problems certainly does not make her unsuitable to become FM; but such a disgraceful and insulting lack of ambition for Scotland most certainly does.

Derek Ball

I DON’T often watch the Scottish Parliament on TV, I find it too depressing and the SNP MSPs who have to regularly take part in this farce have my deepest sympathy. However I the caught the tail end of the “debate” on Primary 1 testing. A bunch of Tories aided by their Unionist friends in the Labour, FibDems and Green parties trying to kid on that they give a damn about primary children. As Maree Todd MSP said, these are the people whose policies send children to school hungry.

Brian Lawson

STUART McHardy’s article on the mentality of the British establishment drew me back to historian AJP Taylor’s thoughts on the reason for the collapse of the Habsburg empire at the beginning of the 20th century (Anti-Scottish bigotry is rooted in the mentality of the British Establishment, September 18).

In his book Europe: Grandeur and Decline he says: “Nations can perhaps co-operate if they have a common loyalty to bind them together; they cannot co-operate, at any rate within a single state, merely for the sake of co-operating. The Habsburgs had once provided the common loyalty; in the 19th century they failed to do so any longer. And it was this Habsburg failure, not the rise of the nationalities, which doomed their Empire.”

Similarly, the British Empire has collapsed due to lack of common loyalty and the British establishment continues this with regard to Scotland where their ideology is all about power not shared interests.

The lessons of history show that Scotland will be an independent nation as the British establishment increasingly fails to provide the basis for a common loyalty. It is up to those of us who support an independent Scotland to make history happen, preferably sooner rather than later.

Tom Crozier