I WRITE in wholehearted support of the views so clearly expressed by Linda Horsburgh (Letters, January 9) regarding the Yes movement lost in 2014.

The anti-SNP, and indeed anti-Scottish bias, of the UK-controlled media was surely the principal reason.

She rightly names the BBC, Daily Record, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, London Times and The Scotsman. I would add STV and several “local” publications to that list. However, it is what can be done about this issue that is of more concern to me. It is clear that, if anything, this bias has intensified.

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Nicola Sturgeon gave a very balanced, thoughtful and honest interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday. It was a keynote articulation of the position we in Scotland are now in, faced with Brexit and our removal from the influences of the wider continent of Europe.

The substance of the First Minister’s detailed position was by and large ignored by all the UK media. Only her call for indyref2 as a last resort to keep Scotland in the single market and customs union got a nationwide airing, with that position being presented as a “spoiling” manoeuvre by the Scots.

The bias, however, is not just overt. It is also clear that any Scottish “good news” story – like The National’s reporting of the fact Scotland achieved four consecutive days of generating enough green electricity to meet our needs (Record-breaking wind power generated over the festive period, January 9) – is totally ignored by the UK media.

I suspect there has been an instruction from Westminster to “starve Nicola of the oxygen of publicity” as she is simply too good when it comes to her TV appearances.

My daughter, who lives in London, and her friends, were all bowled over after seeing her take on Cameron in the 2015 election TV debate. Such an honest, straightforward and personable politician just cannot be allowed on the UK political stage.

The only people who can challenge the bias of the BBC, and other UK media are our elected members of the Westminster Parliament. This should be their first, second and third priority and well ahead of indyref2 if we are to get anything like a fair hearing and chance of success.

It is worth remembering that during the Second World War, Germany employed the English traitor commonly known as Lord Haw-Haw to broadcast misinformation from Germany into the UK with the intention of demoralising the British people.

The endless SNP/Scotland bad bias being beamed into Scotland by the UK media strikes me as not too different and designed for the same purpose. I would like to hear Angus Robertson, and the rest of the group of 56 SNP MPs at Westminster, challenge this bias, at every TV and radio/press interview opportunity. Prime Minister’s Questions would be a good place to start.

Ian Stewart Uig
Isle of Skye

LINDA Horsburgh hit the nail on the head when she said indyref 2 will still be a competition between the SNP and the English-owned media.  I regularly watch The Papers on the BBC News Channel. Last night a Tory MP, Esther McVey, stated that a vote for Scottish independence would never happen because everyone knows Scotland would be bankrupt without the subsidies from the rest of the UK and that the cost of decommissioning North Sea Oil installations is the final nail in the coffin of independence (my interpretation of her words).

These are the accusations that the Yes lobby must challenge positively. It is not good enough to say that we will do it better if we have control of the economic levers. Jam tomorrow will not convince the Nos.

Mike Underwood


Ruling out indyref2 in 2017 sends the wrong message

EVEN if it was not a realistic to hold a new independence referendum this year (Nicola Sturgeon confirms there will be no independence referendum in 2017, The National, January 10), due to timescales etc, I think it has been a mistake to rule it out completely.

It will do nothing to stop the likes of Ruth Davidson ranting about “the uncertainty” of another vote and I think it will not go down well with a lot of independence supporters.

In one way , I suppose it gives a bit of clarity, but in another, it allows Westminster to do as it pleases. I am thinking of things other than Brexit, such as social security matters, where the Westminster regime is waging an appalling war on anyone who requires a benefit of any kind, with even the United Nations’ condemnation being dismissed out of hand by London. How can we expect any other state to treat UN with any relevance if the UK doesn’t?

Things like this are just as important as the EU for a great many people. I think on these important domestic issues, the SNP Government is being a little too timid. It should be demanding its voice be heard, and concerns acted upon, or that in itself would be cause enough for independence. It will now be closer to mid-2018 before a new referendum could be held. I think this will be seen as a kind of victory for the pro-Union side. I really think a new vote should have been called after the EU vote back in June.

I also consider this SNP “olive branch” of a special deal for Scotland taking independence off the table for a while at least, to be a bad move.

Of course, it could be counter-argued that the SNP can now sit back and watch as Scotland is totally ignored, and in due course it will becomes obvious that independence is the only way forward. But as we already know that, it should not have to wait until well into next year at least for a second referendum. The SNP must realise that the goodwill of their supporters is not unlimited, and a new political grouping could well emerge in due course!

Gordon Keane via thenational.scot

WHILE I take Tom O’Hagan’s point that many British expats move abroad and expect to be able to get by with no knowledge of the local language (just shout louder?) this does not mean that we should simply copy that. The only way to integrate in the community in which one lives is to be able to at least get by in the local language.

Having lived in Germany for nearly 30 years, folk I meet are often surprised to learn that I came here with “school German”. This, however, is not just a problem with British expats but also with other nationalities. So it is justifiable to expect folk to learn the language, even if many British expats don’t do so? We really shouldn’t make them our benchmark.

We do, of course, have many examples in Scotland, such as Christian Allard, where the opportunity is there to play a full role in the community, when one has knowledge of the language. That is the way forward. But as Tom is called upon to translate official forms I presume he holds a similar opinion.

Colin Macpherson
Straubing, Germany  


I WAS very interested to read about Common Weal’s proposition for the development of Scotland’s governance and institutions post-independence (Road map for independent Scottish nation state created by think tank, The National, January 9) .

What a wonderful vision to develop our newly-unshackled country.

Inspired by this vision of a new inclusive Scotland, I moved my eye to the large satellite map of the country which accompanied the article – and my brow began to furrow. The map included as much of northern England as it did southern Scotland and the central belt, and County Antrim, too. Worst of all, Orkney and Shetland were missing!

Is there a secret plan to annex Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham, and to repatriate the Ulster Scots? And should we Orcadians and Shetlanders start applying for our Norwegian passports?

Thorfinn Johnston


DID anyone else notice the striking resemblance between Buffalo Bill Cody in yesterday’s National (Buffalo Bill Profile, January 10) and the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn?

Keith Halley