IT was good to read John Drummond’s article criticising the BBC and its shameless contempt for disenfranchised viewers/listeners (Here’s a great job. The pay is excellent and you can simply ignore the customers..., Nov 28). The BBC bosses indeed have little interest in Scotland or Scottish affairs, an utter disgrace that is certainly reflected in Scottish opinion polls that are damning towards the BBC and the way it operates in Scotland. What surprises me is the way that BBC Scotland officials are quite happy to oblige in applying such an unacceptable broadcasting policy in a country that is not England.

I’m currently embroiled in a criticism of the BBC’s regular breach of its advertised times of broadcast for the Reporting Scotland programmes. For example, its lunchtime slot never starts at 1.30pm and never ends at 1.45pm as advertised. I’ve randomly timed a Scottish news period (excluding the weather report) of only six minutes and it has been apparent for months that the BBC national news coverage and weather encroaches into the assigned Reporting Scotland time slot.

Needless to say, the BBC has not replied to my query and courteous request to reinstate their own time slots as formally advertised in the mainstream press and other sources of such broadcasting information to the general public. Consequently my BBC licence will not be renewed and John Drummond’s article merely confirms the many other reasons why this action is fully justified.

Bernie Japs

NEIL Harrison’s otherwise excellent reminder (Letters, Nov29) of how England sabotaged the Darien scheme regrettably ignores one fact: the scheme was a mad idea, sold to Scotland by snake-oil salesman William Paterson.

One pre-commitment look at the terrain would have shown the huge risks involved in setting up a colony in a disease-ridden tropical hell and the difficulties inherent in the idea that goods could be easily transported across the isthmus. Had anybody from Scotland actually taken a look at the terrain and reported on it in honest terms, would the country have got involved to the extent that it did?

READ MORE: The Darien Scheme: 330 years since the farce that shaped Scotland

As a retired planner, puzzled by today’s planners’ reliance on Google StreetView or information supplied by applicants, the continuing resonance of Darien for me is the importance of doing a site visit before taking a decision. Had Scotland done its own reconnaissance mission in advance, would it have gone so wholeheartedly for the scheme? There is no substitute for establishing the “facts on the ground” in advance.

Andrew McCracken
via email

CHARLIE Kerr (Letters, Nov 29) is quite wrong about Whigs and Tories. Both began as derogatory terms. Tories were originally Irish outlaws who preyed upon English settlers; Whigs were Scottish Covenanters and were disapproved of by Episcopalians by the late 1670s. By then these people were known as Tories and they remained high Anglicans thereafter. They were supportive of James II and VII and they were not best pleased with the concession to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland at the time of the Union of 1707. Indeed, a few years later they tried, and narrowly failed, to bring the Union to an end.

The Whigs were indeed in power in 1707 and were strong advocates of the Union. Much later, in the 19th century, the term Whig died out and they became the Liberals.

Charlie is right in quoting the Speaker of the last English Parliament who gloated, “we have catched Scotland and must hold her fast”. Although the English Parliament also officially ended in 1707, the English have always behaved as if it did not and to this day English schoolchildren are taught from their history books how they generously allowed some Scots to join their parliament.

Andrew M Fraser

COULD someone please explain to me why we appear to continue to fall neatly into line with the Unionist chant of “now is not the time” and “you can’t campaign for a referendum during a pandemic”?

What is the difference between campaigning for a referendum and campaigning for a by-election or a local government election?

To the best of my knowledge there have already been several of each so far during the pandemic and I certainly haven’t heard any rumblings from the “Unionist Brigade” about not leafleting or canvassing for the two upcoming by-elections in Englandshire.

Are we simply just falling neatly into line and doing what we are told because life at Holyrood and Westminster has become just too comfortable, thank you very much? Come on, let’s start being decisive and push hard for what we know is right.

Robin Hastie
St Andrews

MARION van Renterghem skewered Bodger good and proper (Boris Johnson branded liar by French journalist,, Nov 30). Elle a de la classe – chapeau bas!

James Stevenson