WHERE are our leaders? We have a crisis in Scotland, the UK, the world. Nothing highlights more the absurdity of what is going on and the lack of leadership than pages nine and 10 in Friday’s paper. One page a full-page advert from NHS about isolating yourself and the following page, TRNSMT to go ahead!

We have London tubes continuing to be packed, we have incredibly selfish people bulk buying perishable goods, stocking up on loo roll as if they must eat them, shops then profiteering from such shortages. We have people trying to put a positive spin on this, as in saying 98.2% of people survive (popular Facebook share at the moment), which is a noble sentiment but it makes people think this is not serious and yet it is very serious.

This is where we need the decisive actions and authority that was seen in places like South Korea. Dithering and mixed messages gets nowhere. On one hand Mr Swinney says all schools should shut, but when asked should East Dunbartonshire be forced to shut as they wish to remain open, he evades the question! Why? Boris gave recommendations not enforcement, so one business shut shop, and the one next door remained open! It’s all or nothing. Dragging out the process is going to cost us more.

Dithering is why Italy now has more deaths than China and only a fraction of the population. Don’t meet up, don’t do crowds, just do the essentials. Sooner people do that, the quicker we can get this over with.

We need scare tactics. We need people to get a sense of the numbers, we actually need fear. But at the same time we need a leader to put in place measures to stop the fear becoming unmanaged such as panic buying. Some shops have said they will only let in NHS workers and similar during certain hours, they need support from the Government to make this happen. Our elderly neighbour went out to a shop during their elderly hour, and guess what – the selfish usual still turn up, then bump the old out of the way.

A small number of people really need to take a look at themselves. Unfortunately they won’t and the state needs to take control. I do not like even saying this, but it’s the only way for the rest of us, that are respectful of others, to get through this as quickly as possible.

Kenneth Sutherland

AT a time of unprecedented disruption, with public events being shut down and social contacts restricted everywhere, it is good to know that some things can still be relied on. Cost what it may, Trident will still prowl the oceans 24/7 ready to bring hell on earth to millions of people and environmental catastrophe to our long-suffering earth. And we will eagerly blow billions on its replacement, Dreadnought.

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Leonardo and others will continue to make eye-watering profits out of selling new machines for killing people. Britain will still be the second largest arms manufacturer in the world.

And in exercise Defender in summer 2020, Nato will hold the largest deployment of forces to Europe in more than 25 years with 20,000 soldiers ready to deal with the so-called Russian threat.

But is all this frenetic militarism not beginning to look irrelevant? It is surely time to reconsider our priorities and concerns. We must ponder the glaring anomalies and unjust structures that have created the unhappy world we see around our (for now) affluent bubble. Should the gazillions we spend on killing each other not now be diverted to helping each other? Shouldn’t we place humanity before profit?

This plague has biblical resonations, appropriately. We think we are incredibly sophisticated with our dazzling technologies. The truth is – morally – we are right back where we started. In Deuteronomy (30.19), we read: “I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both you and your children may live.” Up till now, we have chosen killing to solve our problems. Religious leaders have pleaded we recognize the essential unity of the human family – in vain. We simply can no longer do this. As Martin Luther King said: “We must live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.”

Our choice is stark. We face speedy extinction in 12 years through environmental catastrophe, or instant oblivion in 12 hours through global nuclear suicide.

Our only hope lies in metanoia, or a change of heart. Christians used to be very keen on this. They called it repentance. Maybe now, at the 11th hour, we should try it. We can still build a better world.

Brian Quail

IT is said that everyone fears time and that time in its turn fears the pyramids. If this is the case then it shows that there is very little under the sky that is fearless and certainly it conveys that all things have a nemesis. As far as the woefully educated, pitifully lead supporters of the Union goes that nemesis is the Yes movement.

The Union has for years broadcasted our demise and that all is well with the imperial plan. The broadcaster of course is sparse when giving details of our departure and even less forthcoming as to the reason why we manage to get so many people onto the streets, nor have so strong a footprint on social media.

Such continued propaganda by the Union of course will be its downfall. They will realise too late that their ramblings, their lies and even their misbegotten self-importance counts for nothing when the voters of Scotland next cast their vote.

Once we get through the pandemic that grips the headlines and quite rightly focuses our Scottish Government’s attention we will once more take to the streets, the highways and byways of our great and resultant nation.

We may lose some weeks of marching and rallies but we will never lose our desire. We may for these months seem more muted than at anytime since before 2014 but I would like to think that when the clarion call comes and once more we unfurl our flags, unroll our banners and get our marching boots on we do so with renewed vigour. For sure we will have survived the pestilence of disease and the plague of imperial propaganda. We will let the Unionists know with no uncertainty that we did not go gentle into that good night and once more we stand shoulder to shoulder, we stand united, we stand tall. Not for ourselves nor for fleeting glory do we do this but for our children and their children and also for countless generations yet born.

Let us get them a independent, socially just country to be proud of.

Cliff Purvis
Veterans For Scottish Independence 2

IT has started already. Expect to see the headlines soon claiming Scotland has been saved again by a UK handout. This is the battle we face and we better be pretty quick on it.

It didn’t take long for the coronavirus to bring the wee Scottish mice out. Squeak squeak, the cap-in-hand Scots are the only people in the world too stupid and too poor to deal with this pandemic. Unlike the Danes, the New Zealanders, the Norwegians and the Irish to name just a few.

Do our people understand that, in the face of this crisis the UK, after years of austerity which has destroyed the social service and health infrastructure, many of our neighbours have maintained, has had to invent – yes, invent – an absolutely vast sum of money to cope with it.

It had no choice and Scotland of course will get its share – and share the future burden. The UK national debt is in the trillions and devaluation of the pound accelerates.

So when we get out of this the same question still remains. Do we wish to continue down the path of the failing UK state or do we wish to build a new and better nation for ourselves?

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

IN the midst of the rightly important consideration of the dreaded Covid-19 epidemic, is it possible to give a slightly different topic as a subject for debate?

I am sure that I couldn’t have been the only Scottish voter to have been considerably cheered by the promotion recently of Kate Forbes to the position of Finance Secretary.

This seemed to be a excellent move forwards for Scottish politics in general and for the country as a whole. It has appeared to me over a long number of years that when a goodly number of young ladies get into these positions of responsibility the amount of aggro around the world is considerably reduced. I think you only have to look around the world at the moment to see the effect which that has.

There was of course one notorious exception to this, around the late 70s, but we wont go into that. Let’s just say that was the exception which proves the rule!

Not long after the appointment of our new Finance Secretary came the equally unwelcome news that two of our MSPs, Aileen Campbell and Gail Ross, would not be seeking re-election at the 2021 Holyrood elections. This appears to have been brought on by their apparently impossible task of combining their political life with their totally understandable need to have a worthwhile life with their young families.

Surely the huge upheaval in everyone’s lives which we are currently experiencing will, as it recedes eventually, give some breathing space during which a complete rethink could be carried out regarding the functions and modus operandi of the whole Scottish Government system.

Surely it is possible to restructure the way in which it all operates to make it possible for parents, both male and female, to find a way through to make it possible for both requirements to be achieved. This could also include provision for changes to the way in which members’ constituency responsibilities are met. This is particularly important for the large geographical areas which some members presently have to cover.

With all the technological wizardry, which I don’t pretend to understand, now available, surely a way could be found to greatly improve the quality of life of people like Aileen and Gail. Maybe they could then reconsider their intention to cut short their parliamentary careers. None of this has any bearing on the question of independence. Any improvements to the system would merely enable us to be even more efficient after that Yes vote. As a final aside – has anyone considered the possibility that the 2021 Holyrood elections might have to be put back from their intended date if this virus lingers ?

George M Mitchell

AN interesting article on The English Game in Friday’s National but wrong in one respect. Renton were not the first “world champions” as Hibernian had already won that title the year before by defeating the FA Cup champions Preston North End.

Indeed that victory prompted Brother Walfrid and moneyed Irish Catholics in Glasgow to copy the Hibernian model. Hibs were invited through to Glasgow to play in a fundraiser to get the new Irish team started.

Hibs were rewarded for their altruistic efforts by having some of their finest players “tapped up” (a tradition which carries on to this day) and offered financial incentives to play for the new club, Celtic.

At that time Hibs paid no money to their players as all funds received were distributed to the poor Irish community in Scotland. Hibs were left so bereft of players that they actually had to cease playing for a few years.

Cal Waterson