FIRST Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Humza Yousaf said in his recent address to the party’s much-vaunted independence convention at the Caird Hall in Dundee: “We will seek negotiations with the UK Government on how we give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent nation.”

The Alba Party website says: “Thus, preparations need to be done on what to do when an election is won. The focus should then be on how the Westminster government can be forced into independence negotiations.”

To coin a phrase, would you look at the state of them! Pathetic!

Make no mistake! Both statements refer, however obliquely, to the Section 30 process. Both statements defer to Westminster. Both statements are casually contemptuous of the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. Both statements say in essence, AFTER the people of Scotland have voted for independence, we will ask the British government whether and how we might honour that democratic choice.

Both these statements come with a preamble littered with bold, assertive rhetoric. Both these statements represent the point at which the posturing cannot be maintained and the faux courage evaporates. Both these statements amount to an admission that both these parties – and therefore the vast majority of nominally pro-independence politicians – put Westminster above the people of Scotland. The people whose sovereignty they find it expedient to proudly proclaim when they are appealing for votes, but which they obsequiously deny rather than risk the ire of imperious Britannia.

As well as demonstrating the tenuousness of their commitment to the principle of popular sovereignty, the Alba Party statement is also an admission that they have absolutely no idea how to proceed to the dissolution of the Union and the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Not a clue!

Angus MacNeil, in his letter advising that he will not be rejoining the SNP’s Westminster group when his suspension expires, has this to say about his erstwhile colleagues in Edinburgh: “The Scottish Government went to the Supreme Court a year ago utterly clueless about how to pursue independence, left the Supreme Court utterly clueless about how to pursue independence.”

While we should welcome such uncommon honesty from a politician and the not inconsiderable bravery required to speak this truth aloud, we must lament the damning verdict Angus delivers on the SNP Scottish Government.

In summary, one lot doesn’t have a clue; the other lot is clueless. These are the politicians and parties we have selected to fight Scotland’s cause on our behalf. These are the people to whom we have entrusted Scotland’s future. These are the people we have chosen to rely on for the defence of Scotland’s democracy; Scotland’s distinctive political culture; Scotland’s identity as a nation; Scotland’s very existence as a nation!

What kind of fools are we to tolerate such contemptible timorousness; such pusillanimity; such treachery?

What kind of people have we become?
Peter A Bell
via email

BOTH the Supreme Court of the US and that of the UK are sub-committees of undemocratic ruling-class regimes. The main difference between them is that the American one is a couple of centuries older. The UK court emerged blinking into the light of day on October 1, 2009. That’s right, it’s 13 years old.

A verdict by this disreputable teenager, that Scotland had no right to self-determination, was based on flawed reasoning, and went against widely recognised concepts developed by the United Nations since its founding in 1946. Nevertheless, it was welcomed with relief by corrupt Westminster politicians.

For those of us who had campaigned for a new, non-party-political referendum, on a strictly non-party-political basis, the UK is now a dictatorship. Oh, there are worse regimes; but pointing to worse places doesn’t alter the fact of dictatorship. There are still elections? We who campaigned on a strictly non-party-political basis for a new, properly conducted and internationally observed self-determination referendum have no reason to accept dodgy UK party-political elections as an acceptable alternative.

A national forum of the Radical Independence Campaign, held in Stirling, unanimously agreed the motion from our RIC Angus & Mearns group that, in October, we should denounce the UK, internationally, as a dictatorship.

The enemies of democracy will try to change the subject. We won’t let them. It doesn’t matter what problems the SNP may have. All that party-political stuff is completely beside the point. There was supposed to be a non-party-political self-determination referendum on October 19, 2023. That date, and the same date in 2024, and in every subsequent year, so long as the dictatorship lasts, now becomes Democracy Is Banned Day, when we denounce UK ruling-class dictatorship to the world.
Dave Coull

SINCE the Tories came to power in 2010, millions throughout Scotland and the UK have become far poorer and there is no doubt among anyone of an impartial persuasion whose fault that is. OK, I can already hear those raving Unionists and their pals in the “Scottish” press, screaming, “Aye, wee Jimmy Krankie herself, Nicola Sturgeon, she’s tae blame!” (Twas forever thus!)

Seriously, not only have the Tories effectively stamped on the poor, the vulnerable and disabled, etc, for the past 13 years and beyond – Liz Truss and her chums have even managed to alienate loads of natural Tory voters by sending mortgage interest rates through the roof. This week, 10 months after the infamous mini-Budget, the average cost for a two-year, fixed-rate deal is now 6.66% – the highest rate since the 2008 financial crisis.

The National: Picture: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

So many, throughout a wide spectrum of society, are understandably incandescent at this state of affairs. However, this letter is also about the flip side of this coin. When pure honesty (ie nae bullshit) comes into the equation, there are loads living on a different planet. Maybe pretending to be hard done by, knowing deep down they aren’t. Maybe others that know they definitely ain’t hard done by, so are keeping their heids doon and staying shtoom.

As someone now retired from a job with a salary well below the threshold for the higher tax bracket, I don’t mind acknowledging I’m not “down on my uppers”. A typical “baby boomer”, I guess. Mortgage paid off, so these interest rates dinnae affect me. Some might say, “you’re aw right Jack, so what’s the problem?” Well, the problem is, it’s no aboot me, ye selfish git!

Naw, it’s no aboot me or millions of other “I’m alright Jack’s” that are far better off than me. We should aw be shouting fae the rooftops that we have been dealt a decent set of cards and it’s payback time. That means we need to tell politicians they are welcome to take much more from us, on an incremental basis of course, to help those less fortunate than us.

Let’s face it, do we want to pass through those Pearly Gates or do we want to be subject to eternal damnation, along wi Elon Musk, Donald Trump and of course, last, and certainly least, Douglas Ross! I couldn’t cope with rubbing shoulders with them three, so it’s a nae brainer!”
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

NOBODY seems to call it this anymore. I spent my first five years in a “Store” house – i.e. owned by the local co-op, known as “the Store”. It was above the fruit and veg shop – owned by the Store, of course.

We had a room and kitchen with a toilet under the outside stairs leading to our house and the neighbours’ one. There was a shared drying green and wash house. Around 1951, when I was five, mum and dad got a council house. Two beds, a bathroom, living room and kitchen with reasonable-sized gardens at the front and rear. These were new builds. We had a brick house, others had Crudens. Don’t ask me the difference.

That house was ours for as long as we needed it. We treated it as ours. There was no stigma about it. Then came the “right to buy” in 1980. Introduced by the Tories under Thatcher who wanted to break up the welfare state, it offered the bribe of a discounted price to tenants. And then the rot set in.

We see the results on the TV news. The mould-ridden flats which the landlords think of as fit to bring a child up in. Repairs which seem never to get done.

It’s time we turned back the clock and set civilised standards. Steve Arnott’s ideas about amalgamating a land tax and local income tax could well be the means of raising sufficient funds to enable councils to start rebuilding houses. What is it about Britain that makes it think that renting is second best? There’s a different mindset in Europe. Let’s get our priorities straight.
Catriona Grigg

SHORTLY, the UK Government will sign the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-tip). Egg products are being undermined by this.

It permits egg products like dried powdered egg to be manufactured from hens in cages, which were banned by the UK and EU in 2012. Ordinary citizens cannot determine if these products contain these types of egg product or not.

The UK Government says that importing of this egg product is minimal. What does that mean?

It would appear that the UK Government is allowing the import of what the UK has legislated as illegal.

The EU also does not permit this material to be used, so does that mean products containing egg from the UK would be banned until they could be proven that they did not contain this?

Eggs produced and sold in shells are not affected and are still good to buy and consume. It seems that we should support our local producers and protect Scotland the Brand.
Alistair Ballantyne

THERE is an increasing failure of our GP practices to offer appointments on time in Scotland that cannot be ignored any longer.

NHS Scotland’s latest performance plan states GPs are “to provide 48-hour access or advance booking to an appropriate member of the GP team for at least 90% of patients”. This could not be further from the truth.

According to a BMJ (British Medical Journal) report, ending performance-related payments for NHS GPs in Scotland was associated with a decline in the quality in some aspects of care. I’d have to agree with them.

Personally, as someone with long-term chronic illness (epilepsy, depression and autism), I’ve needed to use my GP several times to sign-post me to other agencies, which has often been fruitless.

I’ve instead found the need to call services like the fantastic “Breathing Space” in which the listening service has been a life-saver for many.

Despite the high demand, 6pm to 2am, Monday to Friday, and 6pm Friday till 6am Monday, it’s still not enough for the current mental health crisis brought on not just by Covid-19, but by the lasting effects of it.

Westminster’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic has left us with a lasting legacy that would see the NHS founder, Labour’s Aneurin (Nye) Bevan, turn in his grave.
Jill Ferguson