I don’t think I’m complacent, but I do think there’s almost no danger of IndyRef2 and Scottish separation from rUK for the forseeable. The SNP may have a majority at Holyrood after May, but there are big doubts about that and at any rate it is unlikely to be sufficient for them to say they have a mandate to call a referendum. And there are serious doubts that they would want to, because they can’t afford to loose it, and winning it doesn’t solve their problems. Scotland in limbo! See my letter in the Herald: SNP dead hand on Scottish politics; The Herald 09 March 2021

Various commentators are right to identify Nicola Sturgeon as a capable politician in need of comparable talent alongside her. But that’s not her only poverty.

Healthy modern democracy is an interplay between the best of collective endeavour and solidarity (Labour), the upholding of diversity, human rights and civil liberties (Lib-Dems), and wealth generation within the market place (Conservatives). All these principled positions apply at any level of government.

The SNP, in contrast, has no principle for government, only a single policy aim, which Alex Salmond called a “dream” after referendum day 2014. It has no interest in making devolution within the UK work well. SNP councillors have no principled purpose for holding office; they are there to support the party’s voter base and acquiesce to SNP legislation from Holyrood.

Furthermore, it seeks to bypass our long-established representative democracy by means of winning a simple majority of votes on a day, and tell us that a profoundly important and highly complex matter is thus resolved. Our voting procedures, with surrounding legislation, are designed to lawfully elect named individuals to office for a fixed period. Transference of these arrangements to the testing of an abstract idea renders the legislation irrelevant and ineffective. A referendum has no legal standing.

The days of the SNP being a welcome bit of pepper in a tired body politic in the 1990s are long gone. It has morphed into a dead hand on Scottish political life. Nicola Sturgeon, obviously a capable politician, is stuck with a poverty-stricken party and cause.

Tim Bell, Edinburgh

But the SNP is unlikely to go away. It’s a poor prospect for Scotland. A letter in today’s Herald seems to agree: SNP is a means to an end; The Herald 10 March 2021.

Tim Bell’s eloquent analysis of the Scottish political scene demonstrates an understanding of the logjam affecting the democratic position of the Scottish nation. He lists the clear policy choices offered by the other parties, concluding that the SNP is the exception inasmuch as it faces in no particular direction as a party of government.

While his conclusion is beyond dispute, the problem remains as demonstrated by the Brexit vote, that after the UK parties have presented their manifestos to the Scottish electorate, the result is imposed by voters south of the border, regardless of the votes of the Scottish nation.

SNP voters, include many former supporters of the various other parties, the only cement which binds them being a shared objective of self-determination for Scotland. If independence were to be achieved the SNP, to survive, would need to align itself more clearly within the political spectrum. Until that time the independence movement will continue to seek a vehicle heading clearly towards its desired destination.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie