I’ve lost count of the number of times John Swinney has recited his “unite the party”, focus on delivery, social justice, economy, public services, people of Scotland, work with other parties, gain trust, make the case for indy” mantra this past week, giving the impression that the last item, the raw for indy, would naturally follow from surress in the other eight. If only Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon had believed and done that, on September 19 2014, or November 142014 when she took over, as they could have transformed Scotland to the point where in 2024 we’d either be gagging for separation because we’d pulled miles ahead of the UK, or wanting to remain, because we’d done it within the UK. Either way, the referendum result would not be a disaster for either “camp’: But, as has often been said, the nationalists preferred to build a case that relied a lot on grievance and proved unable to run the place well, get on with their rivals, rebuild the already shaky 2014 case, or have any succession plan for talented people when the 2007 generation left the stage. So now, very few people believe a word they say. And no wonder when we now have a retread with no tread in charge. Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.