THE comments by Penny Mordaunt regarding the English celebrating Burns Night brought a wry smile to me (Mordaunt ‘manifesto’ said that the Union could be strengthened by English celebrating Burns Night, July 17).

I have no doubt that she has no concept whatever about the politics of our National Bard. His great democratic song, For a’ That and a’ That ( the prose of Thomas Paine expressed in rhyme), is certainly well enough known; not so familiar are the lines, 44-58, from A Winter Night:

“See stern Oppression’s iron grip,
Or mad Ambition’s gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
Woe, Want, and Murder o’er a land!
Ev’n in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper’d Luxury, Flatt’ry by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o’er proud Property, extended wide;
And eyes the simple, rustic Hind,
Whose toil upholds the glitt’ring show,
A creature of another kind …”

The great English novelist DH Lawrence perhaps got it just about right about Burns when he wrote: “My word, you can’t know Burns unless you can hate the Lockharts and all the estimable bourgeois and upper classes as he really did – the narrow-gutted pigeons. … Oh, why doesn’t Burns come to life again and really salt them!”

In conclusion it is worthwhile to mention how the Bard felt about the independence, or rather the lack of it, for the Scotland he dearly loved: “Alas! have I often said to myself, what are all the boasted advantages which my Country reaps from a certain Union, that can counterbalance the annihilation her independence, & even her very Name!” (Letter No 397).

Norrie Paton

SO there we have it. Penny Mordaunt has the answer to reuniting the four countries that are this disunited kingdom. Simple! Let’s all celebrate St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day and even Rabbie Burns Night (nothing about St Andrew or St George, mind?)

Does she not know that Scots the world over celebrate Burns Night, even those Scots who bide in England for one reason or another. And there are plenty of Irish in the UK who celebrate St Patrick’s night. She needs to get out more before making absurd assumptions.

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Mordaunt also notes that Cornwall and Yorkshire might follow Scotland’s choice concerning independence. Again, she doesn’t realise that Wales and Northern Ireland both are contemplating similarly with the island of Ireland reverting to its former state.

Apparently Penny Mordaunt has a weird idea about democracy. Her new co-authored book refers to the people having a “residual feeling of pride, not because of the result [of Brexit] but because of the democracy that delivered it”.

For heaven’s sake, why does she not refer to the facts first? Both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU, with Scotland voting with a 62% majority. Mordaunt goes on to suggest that Brexit was a “testimony to freedom of choice and the strength of democracy by secret ballot.” So secret she never saw Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU.

Penny Mordaunt reportedly lied about her Royal Navy career. Now she lies about the existence of democracy and freedom of choice within the Tory party. A party that has never possessed a written constitution and which makes up rules on the nod only to change them the next day.

Of course, it will be the Tory membership which will make the ultimate vote as to who will be prime minister. Whether Mordaunt or someone else, it will still be a disaster for Scotland. Roll on Scotland’s independence, for heaven’s sake.

Alan Magnus-Bennett

THE suggestions quoted in your article on Penny Mordaunt’s book such as the English having a drink on Burns Night as a way of strengthening the Union can make us laugh. The other quotation from the book, however, reveals a more insidious manoeuvre.

The book says that “the Brexit vote showed that even if people thought they might be worse off afterwards, there were other things that mattered more.”

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This is not the first attempt I have seen of Brexiteers trying to rewrite history now that Brexit is being exposed as a disaster on every front you care to look at.

They are now trying to pretend that the people knew that Brexit might have its problems but voted for it in any case.

This is completely false. Those who advocated Brexit did not mention any downside. They argued that it would lead to a new dawn, new trading opportunities and, of course, £350 million extra for the NHS. Their case was founded on lies and distortions then, and they are still using these tactics now to try to justify it.

Gavin Brown