I BREATHED a massive sigh of relief that Emmanuel Macron won the French election. Not because if I was French I would vote for him, but that it means, for another five years anyway, the abomination that is Marine Le Pen, won’t be in power to put into practice her policies of hate. The 41.5% share of the vote for her was, however, extremely worrying for the future.

It is shocking that due to their electoral system, many French people had such a Hobson’s choice to make. This analogy might not be quite on the money but maybe it would be like giving voters at a UK election the choice of David Cameron or Nigel Farage. Yes, I know, totally ridiculous!

No sooner, however, had extreme right wing politics in France been defeated than it was reported that wholly unlovable individual, Elon Musk, is about to buy Twitter. Apparently this guy supports less moderation on opinions being shared on social media sites and wants folk to have the freedom to say what the hell they like.

Ask anyone out there that has already been subject to serious abuse on Twitter related to racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, general bullying and harassment, etc if they reckon less moderation is required. You would quite rightly be told to go forth and multiply!

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon congratulates Emmanuel Macron on French election win

Just a few examples of why many Twitter employees reportedly reacted to Musk’s takeover with “shock and dismay”. Musk has previously:

  • Claimed in March 2020 that those concerned about Covid were “dumb”
  • Likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler
  • Written to Bernie Sanders, who along with Elizabeth Warren, thought he, as the richest man in the world, should pay more taxes – “I keep forgetting you’re still alive”
  • Baselessly accused a British cave diver instrumental of rescuing a trapped football team of being a “paedo guy” because he, like others, said Musk’s idea to send in a submarine wouldn’t work
  • Provided a very dismissive reaction to his company Tesla being ordered to pay nearly $137 million to a former black employee who said the company ignored repeated complaints that he was called the “N” word and that his colleagues had “drawn swastikas and scratched a racial epithet in a bathroom stall and left drawings of derogatory caricatures of black children around the factory”.

In response Musk sent the following e-mail to Tesla factory employees. “Part of not being a huge jerk is considering how someone might feel who is part of a historically less representative group. Sometimes these things happen unintentionally, in which case you should apologise. In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologises, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology.”

With someone like that at the helm of Twitter, the Putin loving Trump will win the next US election with a landslide, no problem. Who is a big fan of Trump? None other than the guy that masquerades as the UK Prime Minister and more pertinently many of his cronies who might replace him.

If that prospect isn’t enough to sway undecided voters on Scottish independence we have a big problem.

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

IT was heartening to read Hamish MacPherson’s article on those robust Bishops who supported Wallace and Bruce against a very powerful invader (The National April 26). The learning and integrity of those early Churchmen was impressive.

Although Rome was so far away, an astonishing number of them travelled there by foot. St Ninian (fourth century) walked to Rome and stayed there for 15 years, studying under St Jerome, the great translator of the Bible, before returning to the wild coast of Galloway, later making his way up the East Coast, preaching to the Picts.

These early Celtic monks were by no means illiterate (Columba is said to have copied out the New Testament 300 times) and they carried their manuscripts with them wherever they went. Religious concerns were not solely about Heaven, Hell and Purgatory but were practical to the daily life. Celebrations were around the seven sacraments which the Catholic Church still has: these being Baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.

The early Celtic Church in Scotland and Ireland made two contributions to the practice of the Catholic Church throughout the world. The first was the choosing of an anam-charaid, or soul-friend in a confessor, who would be able to give wise advice.

At a synod in Rome, this was appreciated and the practice recommended to the whole Church, as it is to this day.

A second significant contribution was Adomnan’s Law. This was promulgated by St Adomnan at the Synod of Birr (697) by which the use of women and children in battle was forbidden, though it had been common practice until then. This was later taken by the monks to Europe where it became known as “The Law of the Innocents”.

When the Reformation came to England, the English did not pull down all their old churches and cathedrals. The iconoclastic element in the Scottish Reformation destroyed St Andrew’s Cathedral and the churches up and down the land. Only Kirkwall and Glasgow survived unscathed, they being owned by the townspeople who protected them.

It is interesting that two appeals to Rome made by the Scottish Catholic clergy were not taken on board before the tsunami of the Reformation swept through Europe. They had recommended more use of the vernacular in the liturgy, and that the laity be encouraged to receive Communion more often.

Since the second half of the 20th century, Rome has greatly encouraged frequent communion, and use of the vernacular has been widespread. Perhaps the concerns of the pre-Reformation Scottish clergy can be said to have been answered!

Lesley J Findlay

Fort Augustus

I DO not agree with Boris Johnson often,but in the transfer of patients out to hospital into care homes, I find both the UK Government and the Scottish Government were right to transfer patients from hospitals into care homes in March and April 2020 to protect these patients from Covid.

Also it was necessary to give room for beds to those who were suffering from the Coronavirus infection. At that time the infection was coming into the community and as these patients were in hospital and possibly had been for some time ,the only way they could have picked up Covid, would have been from the nurses,doctors and other staff working in the hospitals and therefore to transfer them out to care homes was appropriate.

It was entirely likely that they did not have the infection.

Also once they were at the care home in March 2020, they should have been shielded as care homes locked down on March 12, so how can they have spread anything unless by the staff in the care home?

No, despite the ruling in England, it is most likely that infection within the care homes was spread to the residents by the care home staff and the only concern I would share with them was the lack of PPE available to the care homes.

I hope that the decision is appealed as I worry that this will lead to further court cases,

Allan Merry (retired GP)


WITH reference to Charlie Kerr’s long letter “I am no fifth columnist…”

I read the letter and can relate to much of what was said about delaying of our indyref2. I read all the letters from disgruntled Alba party members and supporters and as said can relate to some of the valid points.

However, each and every one of the contributors, including Mr Kerr, either mention or imply divisiveness yet each and every one of them ends their letter with an attack on the SNP! Mr Kerr’s final sentence hopes they will fail in the local elections!

Please have some self-awareness and understanding of what is being said and how divisive it sounds.

We are on the same path undertaking a complicated and challenging journey.

Jan Ferrie


THE High Court has ruled Tory incompetence caused the deaths of up to 20,000 people in the first wave of Covid-19. This is because the Tories in England decided to discharge Covid positive patients into care homes without testing them.

This is social murder. The guilty people are Boris Johnson and his whole cabinet of Tory ghouls. They saw the pandemic not as a national health emergency but, as an opportunity to enrich their obscenely wealthy donor class even further.

As usual when the Tories have been found to be grossly and criminally incompetent they pass the buck. Greasy used car salesman Matt Hancock tried to blame his officials. The Tory Cabinet are utterly stupid people of no known ability. Liz Truss is now calling for heavy weapons including war planes to be sent to Ukraine to attack Russia. This half-crazed Dr Strangelove is threatening China too. All to satisfy her vanity to become the next Tory leader.

This is a woman who once claimed barking dogs could deter drones flying into prison.

Tory rule has been imposed on Scotland for 12 years. In that time and since the independence referendum not one thing has improved for the vast majority of the population. Only a small clique of very wealthy donors and political cronies with Peerages have become better off. These are the only voices the state media allow to be heard.

All the Tories have to offer is a North Korean style propaganda to “celebrate” 70 years of an ageing Monarch. A life of privilege and wealth is somehow turned into one of sacrifice and duty. Flunkeys and brown nosers will be wheeled out. As will her dysfunctional family waiting to take over.

The “highlight” of the Jubilee “celebrations” will be an open top concert by Cliff Richard. All so the political class can bask in nostalgia for an empire land that never existed. This rotten spectacle best sums up the advanced state of rot within the UK today.

Alan Hinnrichs

via email

EASY to miss amongst the claims and counter claims about an increasing number of Tory politicians, are the recent passing of bills at Westminster, which will curb freedoms and make life easier for the ruling party there.

READ MORE: UK Tory voters back far-right Marine Le Pen for French presidency, poll finds

Take the Elections Bill 2021, which will shortly become law. This includes measures purported to solve a problem of potential fraud at polling station. Given no evidence that this is a real issue (one prosecution over two elections in which 40 million votes were cast), perhaps other motives apply.

What could these be, other than seeking to ensure the continued dominance of Tory power? For example, pensioner bus passes will be acceptable ID, while student cards will not; could the explanation be that younger folk tend not to vote Tory? Looks like voter suppression from the Trump playbook.

Then, there is the attack on the Electoral Commission. Much to the displeasure of many in Cabinet, the Commission fined the Vote Leave campaign for infringement of election law, and referred them to the Met. So, a body, which was set up to be independent and impartial, will now by subject to the “guidance” (ie control) of Mr Gove.

And, if you protest in public about this in England, be careful, as another bill, about to be enacted, gives police the power to shut down protests they deem to be disruptive.

Democracy – the power of the people, as long as you support the current UK Government.

Roddie Macpherson