ISN’T it about time we Scots set the facts straight? Philip Hammond came to Scotland and declared that Scotland’s exports to the UK are four times the amount that we export to the EU. This is tweeted by the Scottish Office then used in statements by Labour in Scotland. So a half truth, twisted into political propaganda, becomes another fact brick cemented into the fabric of the pro Unionist wall. Another one which we will have to work twice as hard to dislodge because we have no mechanism in Scotland to set the facts out straight at source and preventing these distortions becoming established as truths simply by their being repeated unchallenged.

Where the Scottish Government or civil service are not in a position to do this, we will need to fund some other body to do the research and come up with an accurate conclusion based on a thorough research of the facts. Either Common Weal or Business for Scotland come to mind, with The National and the internet being ways to forward the conclusions to activists. We in the grass roots then need to ensure that an accurate picture gets circulated effectively.

We lament that the press is against us, yet discussing the success of Marie le Pen it seems that, being a non-establishment figure, so does she, though both she and the US President-elect are effective users of Twitter. Equally both, like the EU leave campaign, are delivering shallow negative messages which are well suited to short, emotive electronic sound bites. The message of a positive future for Scotland requires a much more considered, in-depth presentation to deliver it and we need not be afraid of using the full range of methods, including leaflets, to do so, but deliver it we must.

At present among many there isn’t a great appetite for another referendum, because there is no certainty that we would win it, and understandably nobody wants to expend a huge amount of energy, and emotion, on campaigning only to face the disappointment of losing again. We have a lot of work to do to deliver the messages that give the electorate in Scotland the confidence and eagerness to take charge of our own affairs. Until we succeed, can we claim to be ready to do so anyway?

Alisdair McKay, Inverness

THE shambolic response to Brexit, revealing that Westminster has not an inkling of a clue how to handle the situation, has been priceless.

However, Westminster’s farce viewed alongside the demeanour and diligence of Nicola Sturgeon has focus the minds of even our most obtuse politicos.

Nicola’s application of intelligent analysis to Brexit is so alien to Holyrood’s Tory parties that they have issued, apparently, a joint statement (Scotland will take soft Brexit – for now, The National, January 7).

Iain Gray revealed a strategy based on an opinion poll – you know those tea-leaf-reading kind of things which predicted Clinton would defeat Trump and the UK would vote Remain.

Willie Rennie informed us that Nicola Sturgeon is in danger of “inflicting economic uncertainty on Scotland”. Apparently Willie has the attention span of a goldfish and forgets his LibDem coalition with Cameron’s Tories which most definitely inflicted “economic uncertainty” and much else besides on Scotland.

Ruth Davidson reached into her bulging haversack of lovely policies coming up with – wait for it – she doesn’t want another indyref! She also reiterated her view that the SNP should respect the 2014 indyref result and presumably just go away.

If Davidson promises to respect the will of the Scots regarding her party over the last 60 years, fills up her tank and rumbles off into the sunset, we could have the basis for a deal.

Malcolm Cordell, Broughty Ferry, Dundee

THE intervention of the Rev John Nugent in support of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign should be welcomed by people of faith and non-faith alike (Minister: Don’t leave religion to the bigots, The National, January 6). As far as I am aware, Nugent is the first Church of Scotland minister to break ranks and support TIE, who are calling for teaching in Scottish schools to be made fully inclusive of LGBTI young people.

Why is this important? The Scottish churches retain a disproportionate and, as demonstrated by last year’s report into religious influence in Scottish life by the Humanist Society of Scotland, increasing role in our education system. The attitudes of the churches towards LGBTI-inclusive education will be of importance in how the Scottish Government proceeds with approaching the issue.

However, there are two factors at play here which are consequences of the secularisation of Scottish society. The ever rising number of Scots who identify as having “no religion” means that the influence of the churches, and consequently their involvement in the outside world, is decreasing. The Church of Scotland, which once dominated debates over social issues in our country, is increasingly inward-looking and absent from public discourse. Until Rev Nugent’s intervention, the Church has maintained a “siege mentality” over inclusive education, much as they show no readiness to engage constructively with the Scottish Secular Society and the issues we raise.

Secondly, the churches have retreated from involvement in public debates over sexualities. While in many ways a positive development, this also means, as Rev Nugent rightly points out, that the field is left to “bigots and haters” from the extreme fringes of Scottish Christianity. As long as the religious influence on Scottish education remains, it is essential that liberal voices from the churches engage in constructive dialogue with those seeking change, and nowhere is this more essential than with the TIE campaign.

Charlie Lynch Secretary, Scottish Secular Society

THE Highland minister Rev John Nugent wants to “seize back the faith agenda from the bigots and haters” opposed to LGBTI inclusion. This poses a number of questions.

First, what evidence does he have for the existence of these “bigots” outside of Christianity?

Second, the Bible contains at least three references forbidding male homosexuality (Leviticus 18:21-22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27) and at least one reference forbidding female homosexuality (Romans 1:26). Doesn’t the Bible also say something about beams and eyes (Matthew 7:5)?

Finally, what does it take to make the good Rev Nugent and his faithful realise that the Scottish people have long ago weighed his religion in the balance and found it wanting?

Doug Clark, Currie

IN gearing up for another go, there has been much searching as to the reasons why Yes lost in 2014. Here are the reasons: BBC, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily ‘The Vow’ Record, Daily Telegraph, London Times, The Scotsman (so-called), etc, etc.

When the enemy regime has total air superiority over your country and is free to bomb you at will, poisoning your own people against you, you will have little strength beyond fighting a rearguard action.

I remember last year at a meeting in Dundee when Angus Robertson was asked what can be done about the racist, Scotland-hating trolls of the media. His reply? Ignore them. A ripple of exasperation went round the chamber looking for a senior SNP spine to crawl up. This revealed that the SNP are still woefully unprepared to tackle the prime reason why Yes lost.

Unless the Scottish broadcast media is brought under our domestic control, and more print media are established to give the pro-independence viewpoint, then our enemy will retain almost total freedom to lie, omit, and remain unchallenged.

In the face of that it won’t matter a jot how good your economic, social or other propositions are for a free Scotland.

As good as it is, The National cannot shoulder the burden alone.

Linda Horsburgh, Dundee