BACK in the 1990s, the Labour Party, under Tony Blair’s leadership, came up with their solution to the rising interest in Scottish independence – a devolved parliament for Scotland, but a restricted one. This project was then sold to the Scottish people as putting power into our own hands while remaining part of a benevolent Union – the best of both worlds. We fell for it hook, line and sinker.

In the first Scottish election, as expected, Labour won the lion’s share of seats but had to share government with the LibDems and then the plan went belly up.

A voting system designed to allow no single party to gain overall power failed, as the SNP threw the rule book out of the window and eventually won overall control of Holyrood. But Labour’s plan could still work. It’s my belief that the Scottish Parliament was purposely designed to fail and in doing so persuade Scots that independence is a non-starter.

The restrictions or reserved powers were always there to stop the Parliament from being successful, because if it had been, then the case for full independence would be there for everyone to see.

After the referendum in 2014, Westminster magnanimously allowed Scotland some more powers over the likes of tax and some other reserved matters – not full powers, but just enough not to worry Westminster. Labour, along with the other Unionist parties, voted against anything that would make Holyrood function better and help Scotland.

READ MORE: Tourism champion claims short-term let restrictions are 'sexist'

Basically, Scotland was given a length of rope just long enough to hang ourselves, long enough to make us look incompetent and long enough to make independence into a pipe dream thought up by fools.

Now we come to today, where, every day, “Scottish” Unionist parties use the might of the media to belittle the efforts of the Scottish Government which has to work with restricted powers, cash and a Westminster which only wants to see Holyrood fail.

As pro-independence parties, MPs, MSPs and supporters squabble among themselves, Blair and company must look back with a satisfied grin at their Scottish legacy. The constant Scotland bad, SNP bad, coming from the Unionist supporters must and will have an effect on voters, one that could end the dream. This must not happen.

Bill Golden


I THINK all those grumbling about a reduction in the number of properties in the short-term lets market are rather misunderstanding the aim of the legislation – which is to have exactly that effect!

We may lose some STL but I would be confident that the majority, where permissible, will suck up the additional costs to a lucrative business, making slightly less profit but still retaining hefty gains from their investment.

Those who saw it as a cash cow will either accept the reality of housing rules with extra charges and admin or, if that’s not financially viable and they can’t be bothered with the extra work involved, move to long-term lets or leave, hopefully freeing up homes for long-term residents and stability for neighbours.

READ MORE: 'Cannibalised' Royal Navy warship sets off a year later than planned

Owners of long-term lets have been subject to many extra costs over recent years, including raising the standards and safety of their properties. Tenants residing in

short-term lets should be entitled to the same protections without dissent. Over time the rules for long-term rentals have become accepted and I am sure this will be the case for short-term lets once the dust has settled.

Christine Smith


SNP parliamentarians John Swinney MP and Pete Wishart MP are entirely right to question the US-based Discovery Land Company about their plans to build a development for the ultra-rich in Tayside. But the proposals raise issues on land ownership in Scotland which extend far beyond Tayside and indeed which impact on the current consultation on a new Land Reform Bill.

In no other European country would a foreign-based commercial entity be allowed to grab up large amounts of land such as DLC appears to want to do. What is disgraceful is that after decades of devolved control by both the SNP and the Labour Party, the break-up of the large landed estates in the public interest, underpinned by the need to both combat climate challenge and create economic development and jobs, has not happened.

I believe the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, is a decent and genuine person but to make his mark on the job and take the fight back into the Tory/Unionist camp, the SNP/Green Government has to introduce a land cap into the bill, as well as a legally enforceable public interest test, with powers of compulsory purchase as well.

READ MORE: Review: Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton’s AirBnB

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the John McGrath play the Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, which toured the community centres and village halls of Scotland and did so much to energise the SNP upsurge of the

mid-1970s. The national movement as a whole has to put its weight behind radical land reform and the SNP government has to rediscover the spirit of the Highland Land League and demand land justice. In politics, attack is often the best form of defence.

I urge Mr Yousaf to strike a blow at the heart of the Tory landed establishment in Scotland. The people will respond with strong support for that objective, as they did half a century ago.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent) Renfrewshire Council

I SUGGEST Ciaran Jenkins applies to stand as a Tory candidate in Westminster ASAP. I listened to his extremely rude questioning of Humza Yousaf on Saturday night’s Channel 4 News.

He cannot hide his distaste for all things Scottish and appears to have taken his cue from the now departed Boris. Unbiased journalism would be such a delightful change.

Jane Bullock