READER D Duncan (Letters, November 26) analyses the implication of that oft-repeated mantra “once in a generation”, referring it back to a quote in the 2014 White Paper, Scotland’s Future.

The quote points out that within the Edinburgh Agreement “there is no arrangement in place for another referendum” and states the “view“ of the “current“ Scottish Government that the indyref is a ”once in a generation opportunity”.

This is a warning rather than a pledge. A warning that although the UK Government is allowing Scotland to express its opinion once it is unlikely to give us this chance again.

READ MORE: SNP Manifesto: Better Together promised 'stability' — we've had only chaos

The Scottish Government of 2014 did not have the power to make pledges on behalf of whatever Scottish Governments might be elected over the next 30 years and in whatever changed circumstances – it’s a nonsense to call it a pledge.

As a warning, however, of the UK Government’s disregard for the right of self-determination, it is so far coming to pass.

Mary McCabe

D DUNCAN, writing about the “once-in-a-generation” trope, makes a valid point about the right of political parties to change policies. Indeed the the SNP manifesto covered this point in respect of “material change such as being taken out of the EU” as a valid reason for holding a second referendum.

However, D Duncan does slightly miss the point at issue here. I for one have always accepted that the phrase was made in respect of an exhortation to get the Yes vote out. The distortion or lie used by the Unionist parties and now being regularly trotted out by senior Tories is that the “once in a generation” statement was contained in the legal documentation which governed the referendum as a cast-iron promise or pledge.

Douglas Turner

D DUNCAN has done us a service by quoting the actual section of the Scottish Government’s policy document which contains the now notorious phrase “once in a generation”. However, contrary to what he suggests, this shows that there has been no change of policy on the part of the government or the governing party.

“There is no arrangement in place for another referendum on independence”. Well, of course there was no arrangement in place for another referendum before the first had even been held! At that point, obviously, it was not known whether the issue of a second referendum would even arise. By no stretch of the imagination can that sentence be construed as a guarantee that there would never be another independence referendum, or even not for a generation.

READ MORE: Letters, November 26

“It is the view of the current Scottish government that a referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.” Firstly, this was stated as the “view” of the government; not as its fixed policy. Secondly, even if it had been otherwise, what was then “the current Scottish Government” is not the present Scottish Government; and a government is not bound by the actions of its predecessors, even when successive governments are formed by the same political party.

Nobody denies that the phrase “once in a generation” was used in connection with the 2014 independence referendum. What is categorically false, and will be so no matter how many times it is repeated by representatives of the Unionist parties, is that any “promise” or “guarantee” was ever given that there would be no new referendum for a generation.

Derrick McClure

IN response to the letter from D Duncan, I would like to give an opinion on the matter.

D Duncan states that the phrase once-in-a-generation was in the White Paper Scotland’s Future, and presumably they mean that should be an end to it, but so were the words that it was “the view of the current Scottish Government”.

As there has been another election since then and we now have a new government, who stood at that last election on the view that should there be a change of circumstances, then our First Minister would be entitled to ask to have another referendum, and I look forward to Nicola Sturgeon requesting a Section 30 order next month.

It is my humble belief that five years in politics is a generation anyway, even though sometimes it feels like a lifetime, depending who is running the government.

Andrea C Annand
Address supplied

IN East Dunbartonshire there are eight candidates asking for support on December 12. A well-advertised hustings took place on Sunday in Kirkintilloch, which was attended by a large, attentive and very informed audience. Neither the Conservative nor the Liberal Democrat candidate graced it by attending, with lame excuses offered by their stand-ins, whose expressed political views and opinions were clearly in many instances their own.

It could not have been clearer that the Conservative, as stressed by her substitute, had little belief in her election success, while the Liberal Democrat – as also stressed by, strangely, the same Conservative stand-in – had only the Scottish Nationalist to fear.

The six candidates performed well. The Liberal Democrat sitting MP, Jo Swinson, by her arrogant non-appearance, thinks that her election will be “safe”. The performance of her SNP opponent, Amy Callaghan, was informative, forthright and confident, and the preference of the audience was evident.

J Hamiton

THE Court of Session has forbidden the SNP from spreading to the voters of East Dunbartonshire the egregious falsehood that Jo Swinson received a £14,000 donation from a fracking company. Thanks to her girly swot assiduity, voters far and wide have now learnt the established truth that Jo Swinson’s constituency office received a £14,000 donation from a director of a company that holds fracking licences, but which, as yet, has not done any fracking.

It was, indeed, a close call. It is also good to know that should Jo Swinson holiday in Barbara Streisand’s house they will have something to talk about.

Iain Simpson