AMONG the main tools in any government toolbox are fear and doubt. Both fear and doubt can manifest physically, as in warfare, and can be seen in examples throughout history. All major empires used them to control the populace: the Romans, Russians, Chinese, Spanish and of course let’s not forget that the British empire were experts, as they colonised large areas of the planet.

It can also be psychological, by simply putting doubt into people’s minds until once-rational thought gives way to fear.

The Better Together and Remain campaigns deployed fear and doubt to create division during the last Scottish independence and Brexit referendums to great success, by persuading voters of a future divided nation, families being torn apart, economic ruin and crowned off with a biblical plague to rain on our heads for decades to come. Doubt plays games with the mind and all reason is soon lost.

That is why this time we have to make our case for independence so positive, so full of hope, that we make the fear-mongering lose its venom.

There’s no border problem if we adopt a system such as the common travel agreement with Ireland that has run successfully since their independence. No splitting families and friends.

Currency, yes it’s important, but let’s be honest here, money is money and all independence parties seem committed to a Scottish currency.As more and more transactions are carried out by card, I doubt very much that as long the public can buy the same goods for the same value, anyone will notice or care about the name of the currency. In the seventies we had decimalisation and everyone survived.

There are lots more questions, but honest, common-sense answers are always best.

Scotland will never be a utopia or the land of milk and honey that some laughed at us trying to achieve, but that perfect land was never promised by those arguing for independence, rather referenced by Unionists in their neverending tirade of belittling Scotland.

We can offer only what’s achievable but we can promise to give the people self-determination and the right to make their own decisions. Whether they are right or wrong, it’ll be our decision.

So, who do we support at the polls? An easy question – the independence party most likely to win in your constituency. It’s up to you.

Bill Golden
Forfar, Angus

THIS Monday’s article “FM tasks Foote with getting rebuttal unit up and running” has me wallowing in the depths of despair. The SNP has a new chief executive and this is the best we can expect from him? If so, then this explains why the SNP sits where it does in voters’ intentions.

Unless Mr Foote is somehow going to get statements out on every BBC, STV and SKY News programme, this strikes me as fairly close to a waste of his time.

An opinion poll earlier this month asked respondents which topics would most influence their voting intentions at a General Election. Swathes of folk plumped for the economy or the NHS, and the constitution featured way behind those two.

Meanwhile, with the Yes vote polling at 48% at best, and the SNP in danger of being overtaken by Labour as Scotland’s favourite political party, a rebuttal service strikes me as some kind of sick joke that will make Mr Foote and Mr Yousaf look like laughing stocks.

There is a message that needs to be disseminated urgently, a very positive message: that independence is best for Scotland, for its economy, for its NHS, for its education services, for all our futures.

Alan Adair

IF Alex Salmond is serious about the pro-independence parties only standing one candidate in the next General Election, then it would seem that the obvious choice of candidate in each constituency would be the SNP candidate.

In every single constituency, the most popular pro-independence party by a country mile is the SNP. Polling would suggest that while they may well trail way behind the SNP, the Greens seem to have double the support of Alba.

Alex Salmond is a shrewd political operator, trying his best to keep both himself and the Alba party relevant in Scottish politics. This “Scotland United” single-candidate ploy is just an attempt by Alex Salmond to keep himself and the Alba party in the limelight. I would bet my last penny that he will want the two Alba MPs to be the “Scotland United” candidates, as he attempts to detoxify his two MPs by temporarily distancing them from Alba during the election.

Iain MacEchern
via email

WHAT will count as wealth by 2060? “Taxing wealth makes sense – and Scotland can take the lead” says Craig Dalzell in Tuesday’s National. Is your concept of wealth a stylish house with a monster limo in the drive? A Landseer on your dining room wall? Such is the rate of planetary change, an assessment of what will serve in terms of human survival may well count as wealth before too long. It might not be a grand piano.

Long ago I heard my granny say that topping the assets for the folks of the Highlands were meal in the kist for the winter, seeds for the spring, and a bit of ground to grow them. How our sense of values has changed. A window box won’t feed a family trapped in a tenement. During the war people cycled to an allotment on the edge of the town and grew their own tatties. Now the nation is fed by multinationals and industrial farming methods.

There is much to commend about the benefits of a modern society with its freedom from the manual labour of growing your own food, but is it wise? A lack of practical thinkers in the corridors of power is today’s biggest political weakness, and Scotland, once the font of enlightenment, should know better.

Iain R Thomson