I UNDERSTAND Mrs May has been up from England talking to the Scots. Well, we’re all aware of the difficulties of mutual understanding between the English and Scots leids, with the English often requiring subtitles for Scots speech. As an Irish outsider, let me provide the same service in the opposite direction.

Mrs M says “at heart we are one people”. Translation: “You know the Tory way is the right way.”

She says “There is no case for a second referendum”. Translation: “Westminster knows best.”

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She says “proud shared history”. Translation: “You’re better off without the clan system, without farmers and their families cluttering up our proud grouse-moors, without renewable energy, without an oil fund, but with nukes on your doorstep and with the first opportunity to test out every unpopular Tory policy.”

She says the SNP should be “taking care of the Health Service” and are neglecting public services. Translation: “Ha ha, we’re demolishing the NHS and the rest of public services about your ears! And we’re blaming austerity!”

She says that after Brexit “More powers will be repatriated, but...” Translation: “But...”
Derek Ball


THERESA May at her party conference in Scotland had a go at Nicola Sturgeon not as First Minister but as SNP leader, yet it was as First Minister that Nicola Sturgeon published the paper which is awaiting a response from Theresa May’s government. The Scottish Government is asking for a response from Westminster.

If Nicola Sturgeon wishes to be treated by Theresa May as First Minister, with the diplomacy expected between governments and expected to be absent in relations between political parties, she could consider taking her foot well off the independence pedal and biding her time. She could consider saying to people in Scotland that we should wait and see and weigh up more cautiously the offering from Westminster for Scotland in a calm and not a shouty way. Could we ask Theresa to favour the Scottish Government with a timely response to the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Place in Europe discussion paper published in December 2016?

The paper’s style is in places constructive and helpful. It puts forward the areas in which Brexit will necessitate changes in a “This paper argues...” style, expecting a response to the paper’s arguments. However not all of the paper is as easy going. It says: “The stark divergence in the democratic will between the different nations of the United Kingdom (UK) demands a reappraisal of how political power in the UK is exercised.”

That is a different kind of talk altogether. Talk of the kind that will wind up Theresa May and Phillip Hammond and Boris Johnson. Could I express a preference for the discussion approach? It’s the wiser tactic in the current state of constitutional play, and much more civilised.
Willie Snooks

IN readers’ letters exposing Westminster mendacity and chicanery, several variations of a theme regularly appear, eg: “The Tories must think we are stupid if they think they’ll get away with this,” etc.

Now even our estimable First Minister appears to share this questionable view of reality. The National carried a statement from Nicola Sturgeon containing the following: “increasingly this Tory government seems to think it can do what it wants and get away with it” (Don’t come to Scotland and sermonise, Sturgeon warns May, The National, March 3), Sorry Nicola, but the Tories and also Labour don’t just “think” Westminster can do whatever Westminster pleases regarding Scotland; they know it can. There are hundred of examples to support their belief, due to politicians from Scotland who have for generations ensured that whatever London wants, London gets.

I suspect that if Westminster announced that a Trident missile was to be launched at Scotland tomorrow a large section of our population would give a resigned shrug and sigh, “ah well, we must have been asking for it”.
Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry, Dundee

WELL, that’s us tellt! Do what WE(stminster) tell ye because we are going to use you all as Brexit bargaining chips. Your fisheries, your agriculture, your whisky, your oil ... they all are ours to play with and we’ll close you down as a nation when it suits us! Aye right! Come on Scotland. Be all we can be! Free from verbal bullying by hot shots who fly up here with their Project Fear messages and a media that “toadies” to them! Our forefathers had the courage to stand up to them – so should we.
Eleanor Ahern
East Kilbride

IS Theresa May saying that the future viability of the UK depends upon ensuring it maintains its current territories? ie the UK needs Scottish oil, power, whisky etc to be viable? We really should add water to that list.

Surely as a nation its our duty to ensure our country’s viability. That doesn’t come by subsidising our larger neighbour.

We can only do that by taking full responsibility for our actions by being independent. No doubt at that time we can decide what and where development aid is most needed.
Catriona Grigg

WITH staggering effrontery and breathtaking hypocrisy, a number of shamefully biased SNP commentators rushed in to trumpet the news that the SECC, during the Conservative Party Conference, was half empty.

Impartial observers have since pointed out, correctly, that the hall was in fact half full! How much longer must we tolerate such half truths from brazen SNP supporters?
James Stevenson

DAVID Mundell has told me that I don’t want another referendum on Scottish independence, Kezia has told me I don’t want one, Ruth has told me the same, and now Theresa May has told me that I definitely do not want another referendum .

Well, who am I to argue with the sole Conservative MP in the whole of Scotland; the leader of the opposition at Holyrood with a massive 22 per cent of the vote behind her; Kezia Dugdale, who leads the only people’s party famous for being beaten by the Tories in Scotland; and the accidental PM who got the job when no-one else wanted it and who does not have the nerve to face the country in a General Election, even when faced with an opposition which defines unelectable.

Yes, these are politicians with their fingers on the pulse of Scottish opinion, so listen to their every word.
James Mills