ALTHOUGH it would be beneficial to have a more balanced media it is highly unlikely that the devolution of broadcasting or any form of media control will ever happen. The UK establishment is well aware of how to use the media for their benefit. For those who haven’t read the excellent book London Calling by GA Ponsonby, either grab a copy of it or watch the superb documentary of the same name which can now be found on YouTube. Both provide an analysis of the methods used by the BBC to twist and manipulate the news to suit their own agenda. BBC Scotland’s news team no longer report the news – they create it.

Only last week we saw how the BBC manipulated a comment by the FM to stir up discontent within the independence movement. We have to be aware of such tactics and not fall for it whenever the BBC (and others) use this approach. If you’re not sure of what was said then look to the original source – whether that’s an online interview or even the original press statement from the Scottish Government or the SNP – don’t take at face value the headline from the Unionist supporting media. Creating strife within the indy movement is one of the key aims of the Unionist media – if we’re too busy fighting each other then we won’t be fighting for independence.

Project Fear has never really gone away. We still have Unionist parties working in collaboration with one another and the mainstream media to ensure that there is a constant bombardment of negativity about Scottish independence.

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We have two options – accept defeat and moan about how unfair it is – or do something about it.

I’m not ready for accepting defeat. I supported Scottish independence before the September 18, 2014 and I supported it just as much, if not more so, when I woke up on September 19, 2014 and realised there was still more work to do.

Let’s be our own rapid rebuttal service when the Unionists put out their outlandish tales of woe that would follow independence. It’s in our hands to do that but keep the message positive, refer readers to alternative avenues of information including Wings Over Scotland, Common Weal and a whole host of others. You don’t have to buy certain anti-indy papers to send in letters promoting an independence message. If all Indy supporters did this on a regular basis – even just one letter per week, it would create an avalanche of pro-independence material in the letters pages of Unionist inclined media. They will print these letters, especially if they start to fill their mailbags with positive messages about independence.

Prior to September 2014 on quite a few occasions I received cheques from the Daily Record for their star letter of the day – on each occasion I donated this money to either my local SNP or Yes branch, I loved the irony of using the Daily Record’s money to promote a message of hope and positivity for independence against the drivel the were promoting.

Also, remember that the circulation of most Unionist supporting papers is falling and according to a recent blog post by former media professor John Robertson so too are the audiences prepared to put up with (mis)Reporting Scotland and Good Morning (or should that be Moaning) Scotland.

Let’s not sit back and moan. Get out there, spread the message of hope that independence can bring, talk to family and friends, share positive social media links and counteract the Unionist Project Fear.

There’s no point in talking to ourselves – we need to reach out to those who haven’t yet made the move to Yes. Instead of waiting for someone else to act, pick up your pen (or keyboard) and start firing off letters.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren



THERESA May says one thing (her sharing society) and does another. Most women care mostly about education and health.

What is she doing for education? Grammar schools.

What is she doing for health? Jeremy Hunt, cousin of the Queen. Hunt is killing the NHS. He is demoralising those now training to be doctors – even those in Scotland who fear the worst and are not applying to the training schemes for paediatrics as an example. This will mean huge shortages in highly skilled professions (paediatrics takes 10 years) and soon. Young people must be thinking: “why bother?” Or they will leave to work abroad. The NHS already relies on foreign workers – who feel unwelcome after Brexit.

A crisis is not only looming… but it’s already here!

Will Brexit ruin the economy, apart from those businesses (such as Nissan) allowed special treatment? What 2016 told me more than anything was those in Westminster don’t have a clue what they are doing.

Time for Scotland to move on!

Pauline Keightley
Address withheld

IT has been extremely encouraging to note the talks taking place in Geneva to end the partition of Cyprus between the predominantly Turkish north and Greek south, so that the whole island has a unified – if federated – political structure.

At present only the south is recognised by the EU, and UN troops oversee a buffer zone across the island. Any agreement would have to be sanctioned by the UN and put to a referendum on both sides of the island, probably in the late spring.

We have of course been here many times before, with a proposed UN solution in 2004, overseen by the then Secretary General, Kofi Annan, accepted by the Turkish community, but heavily rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum. However, this time seems different and we are tantalisingly close to an agreement being reached on the future of the island.

It has always been agreed that some of the territory controlled by the Turkish Cypriots will be ceded to Greek Cypriot control in any peace deal. The debate over how much should be handed over and its location has hampered previous talks. Encouragingly, we seem to be close to establishing this, and the UK has offered to give up half the territory of its sovereign bases as part of any deal.

We face a real moment of truth here and will soon find out whether the east Mediterranean island nation can finally be reunified after decades of failed attempts and dashed hopes.

Alex Orr

I SHARE Gordon Keane’s impatience for the “long march” to Scottish independence to be completed and our goal achieved (Letters, The National, January 11).

However, to continue the Chinese analogy, I recommend to your readers the kind of strategic principles contained in Sun Tzu’s treatise The Art of War. These principles have been successfully applied by military and political leaders from east to west and from 500 BC to the present day. The current Chinese commercial and diplomatic strategy is said to draw on Sun Tzu’s ideas, as do the US military and many business strategists. There are quite a few of these principles – too many for this short letter. But the one I would pick out to offer Gordon is a simple one. Never engage in a battle until you know you will win. Instead use deception to keep your enemy wrong-footed and fighting shadows until they have almost defeated themselves. Then strike! As in most things, timing is all.

Peter Craigie Edinburgh WALKING past the Inverurie Limp Dem office I was appalled to see in the window Saltires tarnished with the addition of the Union Jack in the upper left quarter, similar to the Australian flag but only bigger. What this amounts to is an attempt at diluting Scottish identity. It is a disgrace that a so-called Scottish party should even think of such a smear, but that is what the LDs and the Tories want, to wipe out any real Scottish individualism, for Scotland to be nothing more than a colony, a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country.

Roy Bertram Inverurie