DAVID Pratt’s column marking the 20th anniversary of the Labour government’s decision to go to war in Iraq was spot on (Iraq anniversary a reminder not to always believe what governments tell us, Mar 16). For me what jumped out was the reference to former Labour armed forces minister Adam Ingram, who continues to insist that back then the “intelligence coming through was solid”.

This is the big lie. Politicians like Adam Ingram who voted in favour of war peddle the line that “everybody, the US, the UK, France and Russia, all believed that Saddam Hussein still possessed an arsenal of WMD”, thus suggesting that they shouldn’t be singled out for blame if everyone else had got it wrong too.

Not only is this untrue, but it conveniently omits the fact that Hans Blix, head of the UN Weapons Inspectorate, told the world at the time that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I heard Hans Blix speak to a packed McEwan Hall in Edinburgh in February 2004, and I still have the notes I took. Blix reminded the audience, in unequivocal terms, that he had reported to the UN that 700 inspections across Iraq had found nothing and that no WMD had been found after 1994. That was why, in March 2003, the UN Security Council was not convinced that Iraq posed a current danger and instead urged that inspections and sanctions continue.

The 100,000 Scots who attended the Stop the War rally in Glasgow in February 2003 knew there were no WMD and that Blair was lying. Members of the Labour government suspected this too but still voted for war. Unforgivable.

David Williamson


IN his long letter in Thursday’s issue of The National, A Wilson writes: “When will SNP members and politicians realise that only Westminster is sovereign?”


1. In 1689, before the Union in 1707, it was decided that in English constitutional law, the Parliament of England was sovereign.

2. On May 1, 1707 the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain came into being in place of the separate Parliaments of England and Scotland.

3. The Treaty of Union in 1707 specifically preserved Scots law and therefore by inference English law meaning that there were separate legal jurisdictions.

4. It was never specified in that treaty that the Parliament of Great Britain was sovereign and it has never been so specified at any time since – it has only been ASSUMED to be so.

5. “The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law” – MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1953 (1953 SC 396).

I have never read such an attack on the sovereignty of the Scottish people since reading the blog comments, a number of years ago, by a pro-Union commentator with the handle “sm253”.

Michael Follon

via email

GEORGE Kerevan and other correspondents have recently commented about the fall in cost, in recent weeks, of wholesale gas to the energy companies. That said, why has this not been passed on to consumers as a commensurate decrease in their colossal fuel bills?

Some three weeks ago, I received a pleasant communication from my energy company, which assured me that my monthly payments for dual fuel were “spot on” as they put it, further encouraging me with the cheery “Good news, Mr York!”

I was already paying £250 per month, more than double what I had previously paid just over a year ago. Reading on, I learned that I had accrued a deficit of £316 notwithstanding, which, of course, would even itself out as we used less gas in the forthcoming warmer months – probably becoming a credit as well. So, not a lot to worry about there. I was not altogether surprised, though, as, being retired, we have had to have recourse to a lot of heating since December, as this has been a long, cold, winter. But we have deliberately pegged the thermostat down to 15 degrees all of this period.

This “comforting” news was illusory, however, and short-lived. Several days ago, I received a three-monthly account from them, informing me that although my deficit had increased by only £36 to £362 total, it would now be necessary to increase my monthly payment by a whopping £85, to £335 per month! This translates as more than £1000 per annum!

How on earth do you understand that? Well, I did not. I telephoned their helpline and, struggling to be civil, I explained the whole thing to a very understanding young lady who actually agreed with me that, viewed against falling wholesale prices, this rise was totally unjustifiable. She kindly arranged to freeze my monthly payment at £250, which was a little bit of cold comfort, I suppose, although, of course, going nowhere to answer the serious questions that underpinned this whole episode.

I wonder if any of your readers have experienced anything similar? I should very much like to read of their experiences through your columns.

Brian York