ALTHOUGH Ian Heggie worries about being slated because he has spoken out against buying Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen, as far as I’m concerned he has seen clearly through the emperor’s new clothes. This painting has little to do with us, save – allegedly – being painted in my home area, and presents an outmoded, retrospective image of Scotland. Let’s look and move forwards!
John C Hutchison
Fort William

I NOTICED in The National (February 20) that bookies William Hill now have Scotland being independent by 2024 at odds of 8/11. As an occasional punter, I kept an eye on the odds for the 2014 referendum and noticed that although the polls gradually shifted to Yes, changing with more people deciding they would vote Yes, the odds on a Yes vote didn’t reflect this. A No vote remained the favourite. It seemed that the bookies knew what the result would be.

I was delighted, then, in late 2016 when I saw Paddy Power had a Yes vote in indyref2 at odds of 2/5, with No as a lowly outsider at 7/4. I hope the bookies have got it right again.
Andy Thompson

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Time To Scrap The Ferry And Link Cowal By Tunnel

I HAVE shared the frustration of many who live in Dunoon of waiting in vain, year after year, for a solution to the ferry issue and its knock-on effects on the local community. These include hardship for those who depend on reliable transport for jobs, education and hospital care, as well as the stifling of opportunity for genuine economic development and growth in an area blessed with tremendous potential.

Many seem to think that replacing smaller ferries with larger ones will provide significant improvement – it will not. We shall still be reliant on a solution which is slow, does not run 24/7, and will still be subject to occasional weather delays and cancellations.

In Norway, all ferry routes have been replaced, where practicable, with sub-sea or land tunnels. This was their solution to providing better connectivity to isolated communities and they have made considerable progress, with more than 1000 tunnels completed, of which 30 are sub-sea, and a further three under construction. They have also developed drilling skills and technology to allow them to reduce construction costs which are as low as £10 million per km, and so a road tunnel from Dunoon to Inverclyde might be completed for around £50m.

I am therefore encouraged to read of the support for a fixed-link solution to the connectivity issues in Cowal (Radical bridge, road and rail plans to boost peninsula, The National, February 18). While the plans are indeed radical, I would humbly suggest that the quickest and most cost-effective plan, delivering the greatest economic benefit, must involve the construction of a road tunnel between Dunoon and Inverclyde.

Another ferry solution would struggle to achieve any reduction in journey times compared to what was possible 100 years ago, and certainly will not address the connectivity requirements of the present-day society living in Cowal and beyond.
Alan Gerrish

PROJECT Fear is indeed alive and kicking, and pushing out false news and disinformation on Scottish independence. A story on the front page of an English Sunday newspaper announced that an independent Scotland would be the “new Greece”. In addition to insulting our Greek friends, the journalist used the wrong model for comparative purposes – however, Greece has none of the natural resources that Scotland has (except perhaps sun solar energy).

A more appropriate model for comparison would have been Norway. Both Scotland and Norway are oil-producing countries. Greece is not. In fact, in total oil/gas reserves terms, Scotland outperforms Norway. Scotland has the vast Scottish Atlantic Margin reserves, off its west coast. Norway does not. Scotland also has onshore and offshore wind power; hydro-electric power; wave power; thermal; solar; biomass. In addition, Scotland has a vast array of other industries such as whisky, gin, food, forestry, fishing.

Westminster should hand over control of all Scottish natural resources, with immediate effect, and we will see who will become the ``new Greece``. But they won`t, will they, because they lie continually about an independent Scotland being a basket case.

Any self-respecting Scot who still believes this Project Fear garbage, quite frankly, needs their heads examined. The laugh is that the Unionists in England and Scotland who peddle these lies about an independent Scotland, are about £1.5 trillion in debt at the last count is anyone seriously suggesting that we should allow these incompetent Unionist maniacs to continue to dictate to and destroy Scotland. We know an independent Scotland could do much better than remaining a Unionist colony would.

If Project Fear is suggesting that Scotland could not be as successful as other independent countries, some of whom would give their eye teeth for our resources, then they really have lost the plot. When Scotland becomes independent, and remains a part of the EU, it is England who will become the “new Greece” post-Brexit.

La-la land is located in England at a place called Westminster, complete with Mad May`s Tea Party, and a supporting cast of equally mad Unionists. This includes the Unionist branch offices in Scotland, who sup at the same mad table.
William C McLaughlin

AS THE prospect of indyref2 draws nearer, so do the attacks from the anti-independence media. The platform for most of these attacks is usually some report issued to explain the “basket case” economy of an independent Scotland. These reports afford the media an opportunity to create prominent headlines usually in the pejorative. Normally such “dry” material would be buried elsewhere.

The latest such report was issued by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). An English Sunday newspaper used the key word of Greece in its front page headline in order to attract attention. This reinforces the concept that the economy of an independent Scotland would be like Greece’s and Greece was the word that caught the attention of those browsing the newsstand.

To counter such attacks we need an appropriate response and I saw in yesterday’s The National that a spokesman for the SNP’s Keith Brown has hit back by providing a great amount of detail explaining why the CEBR report is flawed. A lot of readers will not have bothered to read either the CEBR report or the Scottish Government response but will have read the headlines only. There is no doubt that the headline attracts more attention than the response.

The SNP and others need to sharpen their game when dealing with the media. It is the headlines that will win indyref2, not endless detail, especially as the more detail given, the more questions arise.

This worked with Brexit (“Take back Control”). Returning to the CEBR report, the obvious initial retort should be along the lines of “dreadful isn’t it that being part of the UK should leave Scotland so impoverished, the oil bonanza has been spent by Westminster and we are left like Greece instead of Norway, time to get out before it’s too late, time to run ourselves before things get any worse”. It is clear from online sources that many pro-independence supporters are disheartened at the rebuttal responses to Unionist arguments and we need to address this problem.
Alan M Morris

I WONDER what makes the Centre for Economics and Business Research think it can predict Scotland’s future? After all, it, like every other economic body, completely failed to predict the UK’s 2008 banking collapse and the biggest recession since the 1930s.

The truth is economists cannot predict the future. With their current methodology they can barely describe the present or even explain the past.
Peter Craigie

CHRISTOPHER Bruce is right (Don’t let the Unionist Army meddle with your head any more, The National, February 18) when he says that the Unionist army is huge and extremely powerful. 
We underestimate this power at our peril, but already I see articles putting forward the view that the Better Together campaign has no stomach for another fight. It would be complacent to allow such talk to gain any traction. 
Sandy MacDonald