AFTER watching BBC Question Time last Thursday I reached the conclusion that some of our Scottish politicians appear to have developed severe memory lapses.

Examples to support this conclusion were clearly evident, particularly when matters related to the Scottish Government’s proposal to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) into Scottish waters were being raised during debate. The Scottish Government and the SNP were severely criticised by the Unionist politicians on the panel over their proposals – which I believe are the subject of a full consultation.

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While I fully support the entitlement of every opposition party to criticise the Scottish Government and the SNP, I had to admit to some surprise when I read that in their respective manifestos for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections, both the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour stated that they would introduce HPMAs into Scottish waters.

Page 41 of the Scottish Tory manifesto was very clear on the matter. It stated: “We will review the current Marine Protected Areas in Scottish waters with a view to expanding their extent and pilot the introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas”. Page 137 of the Scottish Labour manifesto was even more specific about their intentions when it stated: “We will support a plan for ocean recovery with at least one-tenth of Scotland’s seas fully protected and a further 20% highly protected from destructive and extractive activities by 2030”.

Without wishing to be cynical, I have to ask if the Unionist politicians who were criticising the SNP over the issue of HPMAs on Question Time were either ignorant of their own parties’ stated manifesto commitments on the matter, or was it simply significant memory lapses on their parts?

Unfortunately, however, the outbreak of amnesia on Question Time was not solely confined to Unionist politicians. During debate about how the SNP could obtain a Section 30 order for another independence referendum, Alex Salmond voiced the opinion that the referendum route to independence was not the only option and that the election route was another.

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He stated his view that if a majority of independence-supporting members were to be elected in Scotland at an election it should be considered as a mandate for the parties concerned to open negotiations on independence with the Westminster government.

While I personally support that particular opinion, I was rather surprised to hear it being expressed by Alex Salmond. The reason for my surprise was because what Alex stated had, until March 2000, actually been the SNP policy on the matter for several decades.

Should his memory return, Alex might recollect that at a meeting of the SNP National Council held at the Mitchell Library in March 2000 it was he, supported from the podium by Kenny MacAskill, who persuaded the National Council to vote to change the policy in favour of the Section 30 referendum route.

For the record, I and several other SNP members who were present at the National Council that day voted against the proposal to alter the long-standing party policy. Alex’s return to it after all these years is welcome. I hope, however, that his memory does not take as long to recover.

Jim Finlayson

SUDDENLY I understood the behaviour of Fiona Bruce on Question Time. Her world is a happy one, involving fine art, antiques, visiting old buildings and being in front of the camera carrying out a role she loves. She is at peace with it.

Then, like a goblin from her past, her Scottish background appears in the shape of the SNP. Within the scope of the medium she is involved in, she strikes at this threat which she will never understand. Why cannot everybody live as she does?

READ MORE: Question Time reminded me of politics lessons I teach my children

In Scotland there is a similar cohort, the Unionists. They are completely satisfied with their world; the privately educated, with private health care, owning land and property, inheriting money or making it from the profits of business.

They do not understand the craving of those who wish to be independent. Least of all do they understand poverty. This we must all figure out how to deal with as the ecological collapse of our civilisation gathers speed. We will not survive divided into rich and poor.

This is the first point of independence. Our government must tax the Unionists for the benefit of the poor. This is the cure for hunger, homelessness, addiction, depression and feeling left out of society. The SNP, Alba, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialists must take in this fact, because Fiona Bruce never will.

Iain WD Forde

A SENTENCE in the third paragraph of Mike Small’s Sunday article sticks out like a sore thumb: “In general, the response has been disinterest”. From the context it is clear he means “lack of interest”.

“Disinterest” of course means “without prejudice”. This is an increasingly common error , particularly in the press. A prestigious organ such as the Sunday National should check this usage does not creep into writing.

David Cole