I’M so pleased that I am one of the 800 or so who has a ticket for the Scottish Independence Convention, this coming Saturday (Former digital chief warns ‘hard thinking’ needed on where Yes campaign fell short, The National, January 7). I have subsequently heard there are more than a few “disappointeds” out there, ticketless.

Such an event is definitely required, not least since it transcends any one political party, thus giving hope to those of us of working for independence, but party-less. The very last thing we need to see is the fracturing of the drive for independence into forms of “my vision/my party/my group is better than yours”, and just recently it has felt like that, especially if you have to declare your credentials every time.

Let’s not take anyone, any group for granted, pro or anti. Let’s neither assume nor label, since the opposition shouldn’t be between us. The opposition is out there, and not too hard to find. Look no further than the current Westminster Government. At least our Government comes with detail, plans, a willingness to listen, and most of all, compromise.

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I’m not for labelling Unionists, Brexiteers, Nos and all the rest. After all, we’re going to need them, well some of them, to change their minds, their points of view, their vision of the future. I believe this time we should be in the position whereby it’s up to the opponents of independence to defend the indefensible: a rudderless UK state that has chosen to leave a single market of trading: rights, responsibilities, profits and potential. And a UK set to lose that 60 million-people market, with no firm alternatives. What future for sterling then?

Let’s not forget the UK Tory Party HQ, at odds with itself as ever but more so with its Scottish subsidiary. The latter espouse difference at every opportunity, but revert to HQ dictat the moment they are so instructed. This UK Tory Government (looking likely to win the next UK General Election, too) continues to pursue its policies of such harshness that can only mean more ruthlessness set within its few policies. That would then rebound on Scotland at every turn – after all, we are all in this together according to them, with their Scottish lackeys doing no more than forelock tugging, looking for interesting photo opportunities and decrying everything as “bad”.

This time, we have the time to investigate and produce our own papers, thoughts and suggestions; the economy, pensions, our relations with Europe and the wider world, with contributions from both across parties and non-aligned.

So if labelling is redundant, let’s take the case for independence to everyone in Scotland, not just some. Yes, it will be a changed case because time, circumstances and the challenge of achieving independence have changed.

But that’s a challenge we can rise to. And to paraphrase ... don’t make the mistake of thinking we’re bluffing.
Selma Rahman

I AGREE with Carolyn Leckie that a main focus of the upcoming Scottish Independence Convention should be on engage positively and constructively with No voters (Chance to clear the path for a bold future, The National, January 9).

It it, of course, important to ensure those who were Yes in 2014 are still on board, but the required approach is the same: make a clear, well-argued case for independence.

The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s future relationship with the EU is both a blessing and a curse, as there is no guarantee an independent Scotland will be offered a route back into the bloc. However, it demonstrates one thing clearly: the Better Together promises have been broken.
Kelly McDonald


NHS failings in England are nothing to do with Scotland

MANY sections of the UK media have reported on the latest “crisis” in the NHS and the intervention by the British Red Cross, but by and large they fail to make one simple distinction. There is no British NHS as such. Lazy UK journalism like this creates the impression that there is a UK problem, which may or may not be the case.

Surely it’s time that the Scottish Government took a deliberate line of rebranding NHS Scotland to the SNHS or SHS so that there is less chance of health issues in other parts of the UK being confused with Scottish ones. Why should Scotland’s performance be held up to scrutiny because England’s NHS is failing miserably?

James Cassidy Address supplied IT is good to see increased healthy discussion from all sides on the surprising role that the Christian churches still play in modern Scottish education.

The Scottish Secular Society has been actively campaigning to challenge the presence of the three mandatory church representatives who make up a significant proportion of every schools education committee in Scotland. Not to have them removed I might add, merely to make the process democratic so that parents and councillors can have a fair say in what role the gods play in children’s development!

My own view as a parent and grandparent supports this, and I would substitute philosophy or even religious philosophy for the sometimes dubious merits of biblical mythology in education.
Malcolm Macqueen
Address supplied

MR Clark from Currie seems a trifle confused (Letters, January 9). I was speaking about bigots within the institutional church, not outside of Christianity as he put it. He quotes the well-known clobber verses. In that sense, and using his hermeneutic, does he wear clothing of mixed fibre? Does he eat whelks and clabbie doos? All of these forbidden.

The fact is that he reads holy writ through a literalistic filter. In doing so he condemns many spiritual and Christ-like people to a life outside the community of faith. In condemning the outsider, the bigot condemns Christ, who takes the side of the outcast, the victim of human ignorance, the poor, the homeless etc. Maybe he might consider reading Matthew 25 alongside Leviticus.
Rev John Nugent

REGARDING the story ‘Unite leadership: Len McCluskey calls for economy boost in Scotland’ (The National, January 7). Unite would need to concentrate its efforts on the UK Government, as the Scottish Government has no devolved powers of the kind needed to replicate the bank bail-out for the oil industry.

Unite stood in a neutral corner during the lead-up to the independence referendum and in the Smith Commission his Labour Party did everything possible to prevent more powers being devolved, so his call for the Scottish Government “to play its part and demand it has the powers to defend the human and employment rights of the people of this country” has a very hollow ring to it.

John Jamieson South Queensferry IT irritates me when the weather forecasts from the BBC use distorted foreshortened maps of the British Isles. It does though remind us of a south-east/south of England bias, even if it is done unconsciously by the producers of these maps.

It is important that we are aware of these kind of “biases” even when not done intentionally. So please look at the satellite image that accompanies the article Road Map Towards a Nation State for Scotland in The National yesterday. It has completely missed out two parts of Scotland while showing all of Northumberland, most of Cumbria and a wee bit of Ireland. I would not be pleased if the part of Scotland where Glasgow is was missing.

Have you worked out yet what parts of Scotland have been missed out of the picture? Yes, the many islands of Orkney and Shetland. Not good, you agree.

1) Sad lack of knowledge on someone’s part, and 2) possibly some unconscious central belt bias as well. Please make sure when you show maps or satellite images of Scotland that you include the whole.
Maureen Carroll