NICOLA Sturgeon said in her closing conference speech ("Sturgeon: Brexit 'fog' must clear before new indy vote", The Herald, October 10) No that the SNP had to “persuade” No voters. So, can some SNP supporters try to persuade me as I set a few basic questions?

Why is Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission Report which confirms years of austerity if Scotland becomes independent being ignored and was not debated at the SNP Conference?

If independent, the report confirms Scotland would be carrying a massive deficit, how will this deficit be reduced without incurring substantial tax increases, a reduction in public services and no Barnett Formula payments?

Why is the democratic No vote of 2014 not being respected?

If there ever is another referendum and the result is again No, will the SNP insist on yet another referendum and another until they achieve what they want? Why do they not respect democracy?

The SNP marches appear to include supporters who would have us back in the Jacobite era, with Mr Wilson’s austerity, is that where the SNP want to take us?

The SNP detests Scotland being part of Great Britain, why would it have us become independent only to try to have Scotland apply to Brussels to become part of a larger, more expensive and more regulated body?

If independent, what sort of defence force would Scotland have? Would current UK Army, Air Force and Navy bases be closed with resultant massive loss of local employment and economic activity? How would an independent Scotland finance defence forces?

This is only a sample of questions which I imagine most anti-separatists would appreciate answers to, so I await with anticipation to any SNP supporter enlightening me.

If any SNP supporters have never really thought about these basic questions and don’t have satisfactory answers, perhaps they need to question their support.

Douglas Cowe,

68 Alexander Avenue, Kingseat, Newmachar, Aberdeenshire.

ALEX Dickson (Letters, October 11) asked what logic there is in the SNP wanting to leave the UK and remain in Europe. None of the nations composing the UK has a constitutional right to halt Westminster decisions, even if these are inimical to their interests, for example, Brexit. Major EU decisions require unanimity, therefore small nations are not only seen, heard and respected – they are empowered.

Colin Campbell,

Braeside, Shuttle Street, Kilbarchan.

CALUM Miller's claim (Letters, October 9) that a second European referendum would "shred the Brexit vote" shows remarkably little confidence in the determination of Brexiters south of the Border to get what they want. They voted, by a relatively small majority, to leave the EU. In a second vote they might make different choices, but then again, they might not. Nicola Sturgeon’s MPs will not stand in the way of giving them the opportunity, because barring a vote is unsustainable: "You shall not be allowed to vote again in case you change your minds." How would that represent democracy "taking back control"?

Observers of the recent SNP conference have sought to identify divisions (independence now, or in a while?). This is not division but discussion. Independence is increasingly seen as a historical inevitability; how the country moves towards it is a debate open to all. The Brexit fiasco has now sharpened insights into the democratic deficit that 20 years of a devolved Parliament has not been able to re-balance: Scotland has been transparently laid bare by Brexit-obsessed Westminster as an "unequal partner" in the UK.

Not as plain sailing as the Brexiters promised, the Brexit negotiations have enabled new comparisons to be drawn with Ireland. In 1973, 60 per cent of its exports went to the UK; thanks to trading as a member of the single market, Ireland now relies on the UK for only 11 per cent of its export trade. Ireland’s enthusiasm for the European Union has been rewarded with 100 per cent support from the EU family of nations and it takes pride in being a net contributor to the EU budget, an international obligation that – according to Irish Senator Neale Richmond at a conference fringe meeting in Glasgow ) "Ireland wears as a badge of honour". It is a badge of honour to which a prosperous independent Scotland might well aspire, taking its place on the global stage, proud of its values and paying its way like a grown-up country. Ms Sturgeon’s advice is to take time to ask ourselves not if, but when (when the country is ready); not so much how (a referendum?), as why (what sort of country do we want to be?). Big enough, rich enough, smart enough: Ireland first; Scotland next

Dr Geraldine Prince,

16 Victoria Road, North Berwick.

I NOTE to Tom Gordon’s article on Lord Heseltine’s comments at the recent Festival of Politics ("Heseltine: Thatcher blew UK’S North Sea oil windfall", The Herald, October 11). Given recent gas and oil discoveries off Scotland’s shores, this is a timely intervention.

There is however no evidence that Westminster governments have learned anything and have not the remotest intention of changing things in the future because for them, the future only goes as far as the next election, added to which party interests always come before country – hence our current Brexit mess. Norway, which sought to protect future generations by adopting a fiduciary approach to their oil bonanza, now has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund to show for their prudence. All Scotland is able to show from the oil bonanza and thanks to the Conservative and Labour parties, is a “black hole” of debt – something not quite right there?

For Scotland during these boom oil years, apart from necessary oil infrastructure jobs required to reap the benefit, Scotland’s manufacturing industries were being closed down instead of being modernised while large-scale infrastructure developments were built in London and the south-east of England. Both the Tories and Labour parties connived to keep the potential of the vast oil revenue hidden from Scotland. The British National Oil Corporation (now Britoil) with its Glasgow-based offices was quickly extinguished by Mrs Thatcher when it was privatised and moved to London.

All around the shores of Scotland there are oil and gas deposits waiting to be discovered as evidenced by the recent increase in discoveries and investment in exploration. Each new discovery is announced with as little fuss as possible and “quickly forgotten” as the revenues start to accrue.

There will be no respect for Scotland from Westminster, but will the people be taken for fools once again?

Alan M Morris,

20 Kirkhouse Road, Blanefield, Glasgow.