ANDY Burnham thinks “the North” of England is treated as second class and London gets everything.

Why do Labour, the Tories and the LibDems dislike anything SNP and wish Scotland would just stop whingeing?

Because, for generations, the SNP have made the same arguments as Burnham.

Just that, the loose Unionist support for the London-centric vitriol peddled by right-wing print and broadcast media, which has sought to demonise and create dislike and distrust of Scots and Scotland by trying to equate the SNP as “blood and soil” nationalists. Labour in particular still have those members and old hands who peddle that lie. This toxic mix has suited the “south” and its xenophobic news media for decades.

Remember the Scottish Mafia headlines during the Labour days? Which of course conveniently omitted that Blair was a Scot – because he talked posh.

Burnham’s party used Scotland and its bloc Labour vote to enhance the south east, but conveniently ignored Scotland. Scottish Labour will do the same.

Scotland has always been the “important” branch office for all the Unionist political parties – to give London more power and then ignore Scotland. The LibDems have no idea what they are, they just point at other political parties and say, “we’re no that”, all while showing their colours as mealy-mouthed Tories.

At last, Burnham sees the light ... but like his Labour colleagues and predecessors, conveniently ignores the fact that Scotland is north of Manchester.

Propaganda, slogans and childish point-scoring by figures such as Douglas Ross and Anas Sarwar is all that Scotland will get if these pro-Union parties once again get a foot in the door of Scotland’s representation at Westminster.
Alan Cameron

I WOULD like to thank Alyn Smith for his recent article in The National (September 27) on the EU and EFTA, which I found extremely interesting – especially the part in which he described the rules governing both EU and EFTA members. I quote his words exactly: “EFTA states participate in the EU’s Single Market and Schengen Area but are not part of the Customs Union. They must have a co-ordinated trade policy with the EU but have full rights to enter into third-country trade arrangements.”

I would like to ensure that I interpret those words correctly. If Scotland was a member of EFTA, and the remainder of the former UK was not in either ETFA or the EU, does that mean that Scotland would have full rights to negotiate particular trade arrangements with the US and the rUK as well as a great many nations elsewhere?

If that is the case, then my own preference would be for Scotland to first try to join EFTA (and I cannot think of any reason why any of EFTA’s existing members would have serious objections). Scotland could then enter a period of negotiations with the EU for full membership. If these negotiations could be concluded in a way that was judged (by the then Scottish Government) as being satisfactory, then (and only then) there could be a full referendum held in Scotland to obtain popular approval of those (potential) arrangements – i.e. when those arrangements were known in detail. That, to my mind, is the only truly democratic way for Scotland to become a full member of the EU.

If we were forced to continue to have only EFTA membership I (for one) would not be displeased – bearing in mind David Pratt’s cautionary words in The National the following day (September 28) about a worrying emergence of right-wing sentiment within certain member states of the EU.
Hugh Noble

“I’M a stranger To the land To this wilderness All Things are possible But happen less and less This Is my country These Are my reasons.”

Taken from the Deacon Blue song of 1989, Fergus Sings The Blues, the lyrics above might provide a platform for reflection on the recent treatment of a “man incapable of deceit”, a public servant whose conscience determines the choices he makes and the decisions he takes in the arena of policy and in wider political life. A man, harried for his integrity, and the forthrightness of his “reasons”, has been made a “stranger” cast out from, and not so much into, the “wilderness”.

Fergus Ewing, having dared to take a stand against the whip on the matter of the vote on Lorna Slater’s competence, has been unjustifiably suspended from the SNP parliamentary party. Fergus had no little cause to lament, to sing the blues. “Less and less” is the present administration pursuing – with the darksome and debilitating distractions of policy agenda engineered by the Greens – the cause of Scottish independence. Where there is a will, and right thinking among those elected to serve their constituents and further the common good, “things are possible”. However, in the present moment, befogged by the Bute House Agreement, that is doomed to “happen less and less”.

Wisdom, prudence and an appreciation of the nobility of public service grounded in truth and the recognition of the dignity of all are virtues much needed in “this ... my country”, for they are possessed by few.

It is a terrible pity so, that, with the exception of nine stalwarts, a public servant such as Fergus Ewing should be regarded as expendable. Do we not all of us have reason to sing the blues at this product of malice and bile?
Patrick Hynes

AGAINST all the odds, the agreement between the SNP and the Greens at Holyrood has brought certainty and helped greatly in passing government budgets and to govern effectively on all the issues of the day, along with promoting independence.

At this critical time, with by-elections pending and a General Election next year, the forthcoming SNP conference should be one where “unity of purpose” is paramount. It’s therefore utterly counterproductive to lose the active and articulate independence campaigner Angus MacNeil MP along with the sincere but in my opinion somewhat confused Fergus Ewing MSP – never good practice voting against your own party in office!

Against all other items of government business, however worthy the Greens may think, concentration must now be focused on combatting fuel and food poverty, alleviating the cost of living crisis, along with instilling confidence in a Scottish nation starved of hope. Only when Scotland is a fully independent country in control of all its many assets and economic and social leavers will progress, success and happiness be attained for all its people.
Grant Frazer

THE current desire by some to see increased conviction rates for rape has driven our leaders to consider robbing men of their right to a jury trial.

The crime of rape in Scots law is considered so serious that it ranks with murder, incest and others as a “plea of the crown”.

Yet here we have a suggestion that this crime somehow be relegated to a position where jurors can’t be trusted to come to the “right” decision. It is indeed political interference, and an infringement on the rights of the accused.

Why is rape the only complaint singled out for this experiment? Why not murder? Serious assault? It’s because rape is notoriously difficult to prove and the stats demand that politicians do something in the face of vociferous demands from particular groups. Do politicians care if anyone’s rights are trampled in the process?

We are living in an era where an allegation only has to be made for an accused to be deemed guilty regardless of the evidence against that person.

I only hope that if this misguided plan comes to fruition, the sitting judges demand from the prosecution the amount of evidence required by Scots law to prove a case.

Just in case we needed a bit of irony thrown into the debate, consider this – removal of an accused’s right to a jury trial is being mooted while the rapist of a child gets community service after being found guilty. He couldn’t be jailed after politicians decided that guilty persons under 25 should not be imprisoned.

Proof positive that politicians take neither the heinous crime of rape nor the rights of the accused seriously.

What a mess.
Jim Butchart
via email

ONCE again, the contempt for Scotland shines through in the language being used by Westmonster politicians. Watching the interview with Rishi Sunak, I was horrified to hear him say they were going to “squeeze every last drop of oil” from the Rosebank field.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers his keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at Manchester Central convention complex. the Conservative Party annual conference at the Manchester Central convention complex. Picture date: Wednesday
Typical of the attitude of squeezing Scotland dry of all its resources. When they have “stolen” everything valuable and useful, we will be thrown away like some useless old junk. Saor Alba.

John Johnstone

RICHT noo, I’m reading Clive Young’s wechty tome, Unlocking Scots, as featured in the Sunday National, fur ae review in Lallans, the magazine o the Scots Language Society/Scots Leid Associe. Wechty in volume, mibbie, wechty in content, maist certain.

This weel-research thesis covers ilka aspect o the Mither Tung, its chyave agin political neglect, social glaikitness an language propaganda. He’s nae feart tae grasp the thorny thrissle an screive o the need fur staundard spelling. Juist recent, I gaed a bit speil tae an Associe on Scots. Ane cheil aforehaund, gaed me his great delicht o his kennin o Scots frae his graunparents faw fairmed in Fife. Hooiniver after ma talk, he, frae his lofty poseition o ae retired dominie, wis able tae proclaim tae fit wis ae fell unsympathetic audience Scots wis nae mair nor ae dialect o English. This frae a man faw haed ner heard o Gavin Douglas! But then Douglas wis nae on the skule syllabus an ae guid obedient dominie wuid ner slip oot o the fank, loup the midden an luik ayont the dyke roun the inby park.

This is fit the Scots Leid is up agin, ae propaganda machine that haes bin an action sinsyne the Union o the Crowns tae ding Scots doun, an Scots are amang the worst at yon camsteerie darg. Yon cheil wis nae sib tae the fact at dingin doun Scots he wis dingin doun memmers o his ain faimly. Yon is the irony o it. Blin obedience aye haunts thaim faw adhere tae it.
George T Watt
Memmership secretar, Scots Language Society

I READ the article on single-width Harris Tweed with interest.

My late father had a jacket of Harris Tweed. It was made for him by his father, a tailor, in 1947.

Although it eventually had to be relined three times my father was still wearing it before his death in 2022.

It did look a little “worn” by then but it was still serviceable. (He had another made around 1988-1989 and that is still being used by another family member.)
Cat Gunn
Lower Mitcham, South Australia