BORIS Johnson will give us our indyref, but just not in the way our indy leaders want.

He’ll de-couple the issue from next year’s Holyrood vote, because he knows that’s likely to be an SNP shoe-in. So he’ll go for one before then if he can, or afterwards, depending on when he concludes the indy movement is weakest and the Union at its most persuasive.

He’ll watch the aftermath of the Alex Salmond trial for signs of a first opportunity.

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I don’t say he’ll definitely do it, just that he will if he believes he’ll win. There will be no David Cameron-type democratic niceties and engagement with the Scottish Government; just a ruthless determination to see indy killed off for good. There will be no hanging around for polls to show a nice, steady 60% majority against indy for several months before risking it; he’ll go for it when his political intelligence tells him he can win, with a very short campaign, and the entire British establishment threatening Scotland with hell and damnation if he loses.

More worryingly, I think our side is in no position for the fight, with none of the big issues from 2014, including currency, resolved. And if the SNP’s success in the December General Election proves anything, it’s that the Tories not only won a significant victory for themselves in England and Wales, they also won it for the SNP in Scotland. That’s right, the hated Westminster Tories won it for the SNP in Scotland.

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When the SNP has to declare what it actually wants for indy Scotland, rather than what it doesn’t want (“none of that Westminster stuff, thank you”), what will it come up with? The Growth Commission (really?), and that’s it?

Also worryingly, I think we have a leadership temperamentally ill-equipped for the dirty war that’s sure to unleash during a campaign. The Tories might well conclude we’re sitting ducks, and they could be right.

All this is, of course, open to dispute. But what follows isn’t.

Sturgeon is right that Johnson can’t go on saying “no”, and Johnson knows it too. But she is wrong if she thinks it’ll come via a Section 30 order, in a friendly agreement negotiated by the two governments.

It’ll come by Westminster edict, with control of everything – timing, question, conditions – directed from there. The Scottish Government will be given the indyref they’ve been demanding, and told to get on with it.

And in case you doubt it, note that Johnson’s indyref campaign has already started, as the new Union advertising campaign – and the fantasy Boris bridge to Northern Ireland – proves. Still feeling lucky, (indy) punks??

Tom Pate

THE notion that Scotland is too wee, stupid and poor can be further disproved by using the extension to the last sentence of Michael Russell’s excellent article (Some careers depend on the false ‘too poor’ claim, February 16). He wrote: “So what would it look like if England was indeed subsidised by Scotland? Probably very much as it looks now.” It is not so much a question of this, but what will England look like when Scotland pulls its financial subsidy when it becomes independent?

Will it still be able to borrow the balance to continue with HS2, and will it still be able to afford its maintenance of its so-called nuclear deterrent, and will it be able to afford even the report for another grand design for a Celtic bridge

from Scotland to Ireland? I doubt very much that England could survive as a worldly nation, not having the wherewithal to negotiate with other world countries the price of a packet of rice, let alone all its other grand designs.

On the other hand, Scotland as an independent nation with access to all its own marketable commodities would be able to afford financing its own NHS to a better level of care, its education establishments to a much improved level of expertise, its various modes of transport to a safer and greener level of expectation. Pensions would be raised along with welfare benefits, thus lifting that part of our population out of its current austerity existence, making Scotland a more healthy and equal society.

It is this latter generalised view of an independent Scotland that needs to be explored and explained publicly if Nicola Sturgeon wants to convince the fence-sitters to vote Yes. 52% of an indyref2 vote has been more or less secured and another 10% will give her the vote she craves.

Scotland’s cringe is disappearing. Scotland is by far NOT too poor. In fact it is one of the richest nations in the world. Neither is it too wee when it attracts millions of tourists to its natural and cultural assets. The first time I visited the Wallace Tower and noted the list of inventors and inventions, it occurred to me that Scotland invented the world as we know it today and continues to do so.

As for being too stupid, well not anymore. Scotland has just experienced a great reawakening since 2014. We have become politically astute. Our teenaged youth are more adept with communication through

information technology. They are tomorrow’s leaders, engineers and inventors to continue growing an independent Scotland.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

COMETH the hour, cometh the man. Just when the feasibility of a Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge was being questioned by so-called experts, up pops Jackson Carlaw, bridge designer extraordinaire.

With the design of the Queensferry Crossing in his portfolio and 15 months before he becomes Scotland’s next First Minister, there is plenty of time for a man of his undoubted talent to get this sorted. In fact, whilst the design is still on the drawing board he might even have had time to fit in the Presidency of COP26 in Glasgow next November.

David McGill