THERE is no shortage of self-advertised talent available to fill the vacuum left by Mrs May, all of the pretenders having served her faithfully or otherwise during her premiership. With that level of chosen ability it is surprising that she, as their CEO, achieved a level of failure unequalled by any PM in recent history. Is it now to be assumed that one of them will emerge as a saviour to effect a rescue operation? Where is the evidence for that expectation?

Scotland can look forward to a dismal continuation of the Westminster policy and undermining interference to which it has for years been subjected. The sneering discourtesy endured by Scotland during Mrs May’s time in office will, as evidenced by candidates’ reported statements, be adopted by the next administration, with no real intention of addressing any of the issues of concern to that “equal partner” of the UK. That discourtesy mirrors the Westminster attitude to Scotland which has been proved to be unacceptable, intolerable and irrational.

The result of the recent election can be recognised only as the determination of Scotland to improve its condition by making its own decisions. One reliable certainty is that the ceaseless antagonism to the resultant actions will be the policy of the next government, exported as usual to Holyrood, which must be anticipated and countered at every opportunity. Scotland’s future will depend upon its own efforts.

J Hamilton

THANK goodness for Mike Russell’s Referendums (Scotland) Bill and to Andrew Tickell for taking us through the significance of it (Nicola Sturgeon’s clever plan will wrongfoot the UK Government – and set up snap indyref2, May 30).

Getting round legal obstacles is not an easy task, especially when one considers that the Scotland Act was deliberately written in such a way as to be the ultimate obstacle to Scottish independence. For example, Section 5 states that the Union is a reserved matter (which stops a lawful second Scottish referendum), and Section 33 allows Westminster to fast-track a legal challenge to any Scottish Bill to the Supreme Court in London (to quickly kill it dead).

The Referendums Bill covers what it says on the tin, does not refer to independence at all and, as Andrew points out, referendums are not listed in the Scotland Act’s long list of reserved matters, which facts powerfully combine to take the Bill within Holyrood’s legislative competence, thereby paving the way to a legal second referendum.

Which takes us neatly to David Mundell. During a hustings meeting in Peebles in 2016, I asked him (with tongue firmly in cheek) to tell the audience which top three contributions he thought he had made as a member of the London Cabinet. The most important one was, he said proudly, “My contribution to the Scotland Act…”

Dennis White

I AM not overly familiar with the intricacies of Scots Law and English Law but have come to understand that both are sacrosanct to each country and are as different as chalk and cheese in the way they are upheld. I have just listened to Gordon Ross, he of indycar fame, and read Andrew Tickell’s account (Reporters are too quick to accept claims Tory PM could reject indyref, June 2). Both give a reasoned account of how a refused Section 30 order and Sajid Javid’s disallowed permission for an independence referendum would make no difference to Scotland’s quest within the next two years.

The new Scottish Referendum Bill, which is now part of Scots Law, cannot be usurped by Westminster. If attempted, this would contravene the Act of Union. It is fair to remind us that Westminster recognised the “Claim of Right” which recognises, in turn, that the people of Scotland are sovereign, unlike that of the Westminster Parliament which holds sovereignty over English Law.

Andrew Tickell states that the first independence referendum was never legally binding. A referendum is simply a question put to people to establish an answer. The new Bill allows any future Scottish Government the chance to establish the will of the people on a matter of government and therefore national principal, the answer to a question deemed to be of national importance. If it concerns Scotland’s independence (which is not referred to in the Bill) then it cannot be usurped by Sajid Javid

or any other Westminster yoon without risking the Act of Union.

To quote Andrew Tickell, “if the Scottish people, in a democratic process, decide to elect a majority of their representatives on a platform, that a referendum should be held on the constitutional future, what right do any of these people have to stand in their way?” and: “The Scottish Tory membership won’t change that. Saying “no” won’t change that”.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

DEAR Jo Swinson,

Your petulance with voters north of the Border is obvious, your party was soundly beaten here, and lashing out at Scottish education and the fantastic work of its teachers is a demonstration of your detachment from Scotland.

Every expert in this field (and I don’t include you in this) points out that attainment is linked to poverty and not geography. The Scottish Government is trying to close the attainment gap in the face of the austerity you voted for and imposed by the coalition government your were a part of, and I’m sure you remember your party dumping a free education policy for a bigger share of the pie and your own vote to increase student fees to £9,000.

Your voting record says more about your true concerns (yes to bedroom tax, no to rises in benefit, no to supporting 16-19-year-olds in training and yes to cuts in funding for local government, to name but a few ) than a wee pretend huff with Scotland. I didn’t see you campaigning in your own constituency during the EU election. Maybe, given possible ramifications of EVEL, showing face in middle England was the more attractive option. Are we just the fall-back position in case your ambition to lead liberalism and a safe southern seat trips up?

Murray Forbes