I REALLY enjoyed Mike Small’s piece in the Sunday National (September 24) headlined: “How the never-ending Murdoch empire polluted our discourse and our culture”. I must admit, Mike’s columns in the “Seven Days” supplement are always one of my main “go-to” ones. He is so on my wavelength it almost feels like having a political twin!

I was brought up being fed stuff by the UK media that folk in many far-flung, particularly Eastern European countries, were being brainwashed by their state media, and of course, in the main, they were! I was assured, however, that oor “free” press was a paragon of virtue because it was, well, “free”! Clearly, the UK press would never plumb the depths and try and brainwash the guid folk of Britain. Aye right!

Mike’s piece blows this assumption apart. It’s not just Murdoch, though. If I had a pound every time I saw someone picking up a Daily Mail, a Daily Express and Murdoch’s Sun, of course, from the news stand in my local supermarket, I would be a multi-millionaire! Unfortunately, none of their readers are likely to want an independent Scotland.

By the way, I’ve a wee confession to make. My guilty pleasure is to pick up a National and “mistakenly” plonk it back on top of one of those abominations at the supermarket news stand. I then watch and observe the confused faces of those trying to find their beloved rag! A ken, sad, juvenile behaviour for a 63-year-old! Totally priceless though!

These papers ruthlessly utilise their front pages with big, bold, brief headlines to relentlessly denigrate their political opponents. That way even if someone doesn’t buy them, a fleeting glance at them as they pass the news stand will be sufficient for the message to sink into their psyche.

For example, when Nicola was First Minister they would exclaim stuff like, “It’s official – Sturgeon is a she-devil!” and “Exclusive – Sturgeon ate my wee Johnny’s hamster!” Ok, I do like my hyperbole but I’m sure you get my drift. Of course, unsurprisingly, Humza is now getting the treatment too.

Funny though, I’ve been reliably informed that Alex Salmond, Fergus Ewing and Angus MacNeil are now the darlings of The Sun. No doubt the “my enemy’s enemy is my convenient pal” syndrome is in play here! Surely, though, anyone in the independence movement – no matter how high-profile they are – who gets the thumbs up by that filthy rag is going awry somewhere!

So the next time you see not just one but a few sections of the newsstand with Nationals at the top, you will know the phantom newspaper disruptor has been at work!

Ivor Telfer

Dalgety Bay, Fife

THE UK Government says developing the Rosebank oil field will provide energy security and lower prices. This is a lie. All oil is sold on international markets, so UK consumers will pay the going rate. Because UK energy is in private hands, the UK Government has little control over supply and prices – in contrast to Norway and France, where energy is largely state-owned.

Energy is legally recognised as an essential service, as are healthcare, water, education and transport. But the UK energy market is a fractured hot mess that started with Thatcher’s mass privatisations. The only service that hasn’t been fully privatised is the NHS (and water in Scotland). As a result, UK consumers pay the highest energy costs in Europe and Scots pay the highest in the UK. From October 2022, it is estimated that 35% of Scottish households were in fuel poverty, an outrage given our energy wealth.

Alistair Darling admitted in 2008 that “Scotland’s oil revenues have been underwriting the UK’s failure to balance its books for decades.” It’s why the UK Government buried the McCrone Report that confirmed Scotland would be a wealthy nation freed from the ruinous Union.

The theft is being repeated with Scottish renewables. Profits are flowing to private companies and shareholders who are Tory and Labour donors, while Scots are dying.

Scotland’s resources legally belong to the Scottish people who are the Scottish Crown. To reclaim our Crown jewels, we must end the Union.

Leah Gunn Barrett


I AM a Scotsman living in the US, and have recently discovered that following independence – of which I have been a fervent supporter since 1979 and will remain so for the rest of my life – I will lose my Scottish citizenship.

Let me explain. I was born in Argentina in 1963. My father registered me with the British authorities there to ensure that I would be recognized as a British “subject” (or whatever they call us). I have held a UK passport my whole life until its most recent expiration.

However, I derive my Britishness (specifically Scottishness) not through my father, who was born in Colombia, but, under UK law, through my paternal grandparents who were both born in Scotland. I lived in England from 1971 to 1982; I attended Fettes College from 1976 to 1981, and I spent my gap year after Fettes in Edinburgh. Although my grandparents lived in Edinburgh and as a boarder, I spent two-thirds of my life in Edinburgh, I gather this residency does not qualify as my having lived in Scotland – as my “home” was in England where my parents lived.

In 1982, I moved to the US (I am American through my mother), and I have lived here ever since. Until the most recent expiration of my UK passport, I have always renewed my UK passport. I decided not to renew it this time under the theory that I didn’t want a UK passport, and that I would renew my passport when it would be a Scottish passport. Now I find out that I will actually lose my Scottish citizenship when we achieve our independence because the citizenship rules in an independent Scotland do not cover people like me, even though the UK rules actually preserved my Scottish citizenship. What a horrible irony!

I refer to myself as a Scottish citizen – when such a thing is not necessarily recognised by the UK – because I’m neither English, Welsh nor Northern Irish. By default, I am a Scottish citizen within the UK, just as an exclusively English person is an English citizen within the UK. But, tragically, I will cease to be a Scottish citizen when my country wins its independence.

I am not only heartbroken that I will lose my Scottish nationality/citizenship, but baffled that the SNP (a party I support with a passion) would strip certain of their country’s citizens of their citizenship after having gained their country’s independence. Strangely, I am “more” Scottish in the UK than I would be in an independent Scotland. This makes no sense, and it is cruel.

I am desperately hoping that The National will take up the cause of my brother, sister, me and others similarly situated, and petition the SNP to review their citizenship requirements post-independence to include those of us who are currently Scottish, and not expel us from our country. All they have to do is acknowledge as Scottish citizens those of us with a grandparent born in Scotland – a common and normal requirement for citizenship.

Please help us not lose our Scottish citizenship, nationality and identity!

John McWilliam

Raleigh, North Carolina

I CAN understand why Fergus Ewing MSP was disciplined, he broke the party’s code of conduct – even though I have some sympathy with him as he seems to be the only SNP MSP willing to stand up to the nonsense ideas put forward by the Greens.

However, if SNP MSPs are to be disciplined for voting against the SNP/Green government, what about Green MSPs? Should they not also be disciplined (by their own party) for campaigning against the SNP/Green government?

Recently, Maggie Chapman MSP has taken part in protests at fire stations against Scottish Government cuts to the Fire Service and has also signed Labour motions attacking the Scottish Government (such as Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP’s motion on further education).

It seems a very strange coalition where SNP MSPs are disciplined for speaking out against Scottish Government policies while Green MSPs seem to have been given a free hand to do as they wish in supporting motions or taking part in protests against the same government.

It seems yet again that the SNP have no leadership at all and that the only conclusion is that the Greens are running the Government and the SNP are the poodles acting on their behalf!

Alex Beckett


THE gleam in Longshank’s eye as he contemplated the marriage of the Maid of Norway with Edward of Caernarfon, which would land Scotland into English hands without a fight, was soon extinguished by the news the poor girl had taken ill and had died in the ship on the way to Orkney.

At the invitation of the Scottish nobles, this admired wise old warrior – the most powerful of all Europe’s rulers at that time, and hitherto a friend of Scotland, linked by marriage – the late King Alexander was married to Edward’s sister Margaret, our Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland, so he was a fairly obvious choice for advice at that time.

However, with the ending of that plan, Edward now needed to double down on his efforts, and being someone who had always had his own way, remained thirled to the idea that Scotland was now HIS, just as soon as he made it so, by hook or by crook.

What followed in the next few years has placed in the English psyche the notion or the understanding that they actually somehow own Scotland – and evidence for that is everywhere today.

Which is why, if you are a good little nationalist, managing Scotland within the strictures of the shrinking devolution settlement you will be accepted and encouraged in your work. But if you are seen to be a nationalist who is looking for much more than this, then you are to be taken down as many have, far too many to list them all here.

So right now, anyone who calls themselves a “nationalist” must ask themselves, what kind of nationalist are you, and how happy are you with your present lot?

I was in the SNP all my life until I had to reassess a few years back.

Now is the time for all of us to do the same and unite the movement, and make sure those at the top understand how we feel and what we need from them.

Roddy Maclean


ONE of the excuses trotted out by the Prime Minister on Thursday for uncertainty surrounding the HS2 project was that Labour opposed the repeal of EU planning laws.

According to Statista, there were around 11,500km of high-speed rail in operation across the EU in 2020. In the UK, there were 113km.

Doesn’t look like it’s the EU that has the planning problems.

Cameron Crawford