BORIS Johnson’s comment that devolution has been “a disaster north of the border” and “Tony Blair’s worst mistake” should hardly come as a surprise to anyone.

The Tories have never been great supporters of devolution, vehemently opposing both the referendums in 1979 on establishing a Scottish Assembly and in 1997 on the Scottish Parliament. Most recently, the devolution power-grab highlighted in the Internal Market Bill reinforces this stance.

The 2019 Scottish Social Attitudes survey on constitutional preference found that only seven per cent favour abolition of the Scottish Parliament. It found that trust in the Scottish Government sits at four times that of the UK government. This points to it hardly being a disaster.

For those accused of scaremongering that there is a threat to Holyrood, Mr Johnson’s comments are clear vindication. The irony of all this being that devolution has given new life to the Scottish Conservatives after their wipe-out in 1997: they are now the opposition in the Scottish Parliament.

Be under no doubt, the Scottish Parliament, which was hard fought for, is under threat and we must do all in our power to defend it.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

THIS illusion that blinkers Unionists, as to Scotland’s independence being at their own behest, has neither historical nor moral basis.

As for Unionists transforming a throwaway remark by former First Minister Alex Salmond into some kind of fealty oath, this beggars belief – as is the accusation, often put about, that harking back to the Treaty of Union is proof that backers of Scottish independence are simply living in the past.

If there is any country in the UK that adorns itself in the accoutrements of its past, it isn’t Scotland that should spring to mind. Are we not made aware of this by all the ceremony, costumery, language, decor, and mannerisms that – were it not for us witnessing this Westminster, London panoply on television – we could well be back in Elizabethan times?

Such bogus constructs to bear argument against a small country like Scotland are maybe flattering, but they are not meant to flatter us. They tell us that we should accept being dependent rather than independent, that we will always be told what is in our best interests, and that it is in our best interests to be thus told.

Yes, perhaps this has been our recent past, but Unionists should realise that the issue we are engaged in is not so much the past as the future. If they want to inhabit their past, that is their business; but we are, in this instance, looking forward, not back.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.

BORIS Johnson has rattled the cage of the SNP. What the SNP fail to acknowledge is that they don’t actually want devolution to work. If devolution were a success, their argument for independence would be weakened. The last 13 years under the nationalists have seen them doing all they can to show devolution as ineffective.

They have had the powers to improve life in Scotland, in our education system, health system and local authorities, yet they have failed to do so. Without devolution, who would the SNP blame for their own failures?

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

HAS devolution been a disaster? It’s a godsend for the SNP, but education and local government have declined, we now have a huge housing crisis, the NHS struggles to cope with illness caused by obesity, and Scotland’s 3,280 Covid deaths compare terribly to other countries with populations of around five million, such as Denmark (757) , Norway (294) and New Zealand (25).

If it’s a disaster it should either be fixed or scrapped. Neither will happen. Welcome to devolved Scotland.

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.

DEVOID of his two cunning Machiavellian advisers, our increasingly dysfunctional Prime Minister has said “devolution has been a disaster north of the border” - acknowledging at least there is a border.

Later he compounded his comment by blaming Tony Blair, separatists and nationalists. This has dismayed even my most ardent unionist friends.

Westminster’s Internal Market Bill is now exposed as the dishonest “power grab”, in ignoring democracy, dismantling devolution and breaching an international agreement with the EU.

Now, with British beef, British lamb and BBC Union flag-waving and even English whisky, Scotland feels like the last British colony. We cannot allow this to happen and see the nation of Scotland humiliated further. Democracy will shine by a massive vote for independence in the Scottish May election.

The blustering, egotistical, self-seeking Boris Johnson and his Tory right-wing nationalists must be abandoned to their imperial Brexitannia fate. It is now inevitable that Scotland will become a fully independent nation again, followed soon by Wales and a re-united Ireland.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

BORIS Johnson was simply highlighting the failures of devolution.

The biggest failures in Scotland have come at the hands of the SNP, admirably demonstrated today by another disastrous attack on what is left of the Scottish economy. Scotland is being faced with a choice but the option offered by the SNP is not one of runaway successes rather more of just spinning anything negative from Westminster that suits its cause.

An independent Scotland would need an extremely healthy economy right from the start. There is no need to say any more.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

IN 2016 the country voted. Did we want to leave the EU?

Two of the four nations of the UK voted against Brexit. Result: Brexit. Fifty-two per cent of the UK electorate who actually voted, voted for Brexit. Result: Brexit will happen at the end of next month.

In Scotland voters in all 32 local authority areas, from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway, voted against Brexit. Result: Brexit.

In 2019 the UK electorate voted to elect 365 Conservative MPs. Result: the current Conservative Government. Scotland elected only six Conservative MPs. Result: the current Conservative Government.

In Dumfries and Galloway there are two things we all believe in, no matter what our political beliefs. Firstly, we want the best future for ourselves, our family and all around us. Secondly, we want to live in a democratic country.

So, what do you think all this tells us – and where do we go from here?

Carole Williams, Moffat.

I ALWAYS think it a bit absurd that when the Prime Minister makes a statement we seemingly need an army of apologists telling us what he really meant to say. This should not be necessary as the PM is still available to tell us what he meant by calling devolution a disaster.

However, as usual, it seems we have had Tory clarity on this remark. So as per the Tory Party, when he said devolution was a disaster what Johnson meant was it was the vote for the SNP which was a disaster.

The SNP, however, only enjoys the votes it does because the democratic will of the people is largely exercised in its favour. So for the sake of clarity what Johnson really considers to be a disaster is democracy. He seems to be echoing the same rationale as his mentor, Trump.

George Kay, Burntisland.

ACORDING to Johnson, devolution has been a “disaster”. Who knows, maybe he is being consistent and saying what he has always thought since the concept was brought to life.

We have had Tony Blair, under one of whose administrations devolution was introduced, pondering last year along the lines of – if we hadn’t had devolution, Scotland might be independent by now.

It is hard to check out the appositeness of that retrospective remark.

We had George Robertson, his Labour colleague, once saying that devolution would kill nationalism “stone dead”. I bet that he wishes that he could take back those not-so “bon mots”.

Moreover, we have had the change of position of the SNP , who did not take part in the Scottish Constitutional Convention; and, at one time, the Scottish Conservatives strongly opposed to the formation of a Scottish Parliament. I consider that, from the point of view of the ardent unionist, and those following the school of thought of George Robertson, devolution can be shown to have become something of a disaster.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

WITH the myriad of calls during the pandemic, from politicians and commentators in your paper and elsewhere, logicality would now dictate that we undertake a referendum as soon as possible.

Independence has become the “settled will of the Scottish people”; therefore, independence is now the clear means of avoiding divisiveness. It is time for the Scottish media in general, and the BBC in particular, to respect the majority view. Otherwise, why pay for the BBC?

Ian Hiddleston, Dundee.

JOHNSON is clearly not just living in a different country, he is living on a different planet from the vast majority of Scotland’s voters if he considers a democratically elected parliament in Edinburgh to be “Tony Blair’s worst mistake”.

Most of us would label Mr Blair’s worst mistake as the illegal invasion and bombing of Iraq which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, their country left devastated, the Middle East plunged into turmoil, and the rest of the world a far more dangerous place.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.