YOUR Books article (The scene of the crime..., The National, March 6) about the Edinburgh beginnings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous detective was welcome.

Good that there is a new book out about this (Arthur & Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes, by Michael Sims). There is, as the piece says, a fine statue of Sherlock Holmes in Edinburgh’s Picardy Place, near the site of Doyle’s demolished birthplace. It was donated to the city in 1991 by the Edinburgh and Lothians branch of the Federation of Master Builders.

Sadly, while elsewhere others are currently making millions out of Sherlock, the best Edinburgh can do is ‘enhance’ the statue – tribute to one of her most famous sons – with a piece of broken down fencing. Also, the statue faces into the road, so the only decent view you can get of it is a fleeting one, through shrubbery, from the top deck of a passing bus.

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This statue should surely be replaced the other way around, facing into the wide pavement, where visitors passing by can see it and more easily take photographs. Some spotlighting wouldn’t go amiss. Come on, Edinburgh. Have some enterprise.

CS Lincoln



Every party needs a maverick or two, and for the past two decades, you fulfilled that role in the SNP like no other. You campaigned for independence well before I even moved to Scotland or indeed before I was born. But that alone doesn’t give you the right to hinder or set back the momentous progress we’ve made in recent years.
As democrats, the party respects a plurality of views, but we also recognize that sometimes we’ll be on the losing side of a debate. I accept that not every party member agrees with our stance on Europe, Nato or the monarchy and that is their right. what i cannot accept, however, is when party members actively seek to undermine the cause of Scottish independence.

You have now publicly stated that you will vote against independence if we retain the pro-EU policy (a policy which you created) while still being a card carrying member of the party. Your agenda is now both a hindrance to the cause and an asset to our opponents. But it is also a contradiction, given that in 2014 when you voted Yes, you voted for independence in Europe.

I refuse to believe that any Yes voter would enter a polling booth and put a cross on Tory rule instead of independence. But that is what you’re saying you would do, and your words could persuade others to do the same.

So my challenge to you is this. Instead of working against the party, be a voice for the Yes voters who voted Leave. Persuade them to vote Yes in the next referendum – and only after we have achieved our goal, take your fight to Brussels and campaign for EU withdrawal, if that’s what you believe.

If this is a compromise too far, forgive me if I question your membership of the party and your future commitment to the cause.

Toni Giugliano
Member of the SNP National Executive Committee


I FOUND it rather odd that Jim Sillars said he will not vote for Scottish independence if it meant an independent Scotland would have to rejoin the EU.

Mr Sillars, who as deputy leader coined the “Independence in Europe” slogan for the SNP, was a key independence campaigner in the 2014 referendum, when a major aspect of that campaign was EU membership for an independent Scotland.

Mr Sillars must also surely be well aware of the difference between the political union that is the UK, with sovereignty held at Westminster, and the EU, comprising a union of nation states that pull and share their sovereignty. He would sadly see us remain part of the UK, than join the likes of Denmark, Ireland, Austria and Finland in the EU. He would rather we remain part of the UK, than have full control over the levers of power currently held at Westminster, from nuclear weapons to social security.
Mr Sillars also comments that EU membership means handing over control to “unelected bureaucrats in Brussels”. As one looks at the 800 unelected members of the House of Lords, it seems surreal he would rather power continue to be held at Westminster.

It should also be noted that in the EU the Commissioners are appointed by elected national governments, the Parliament is directly elected, and the Council of Ministers is represented by elected ministers from national governments.

It is so sad that someone who has been such a strong advocate of Scottish independence over many years has decided to turn his back on this.

Alex Orr


I HAVE no great affection for Lord Heseltine, but I admired the way in which he has handled himself in his opposition to Brexit, and the disaster that awaits us. He, unlike most of his fellow Tories, had the courage of his convictions and voted against this tawdry Government in the second slap-down of May by the Lords.

It is indicative of Mays’ style of leadership that anyone who has the temerity to actually express what they really feel about an important issue is summoned to the whips office and sacked on the spot. Is this the new  “caring, inclusive” Conservatism we hear about or is it that the mask slipped to reveal how ruthless, selfish and mendacious they really are. It amply demonstrates that the establishment will not tolerate anyone who dares to go against it’s express wish on any given subject!
Now there will be other opportunities for any Tory with a conscience to stand up and say enough (and one might encourage a few of Corbyn’s mob to do the same), but I feel that May’s ruthless dispatch of Heseltine was her throwing down the gauntlet to anyone who may have ideas above their station so to speak, in the rare occasions where the Brexiteers might just be scrutinised in either House. It is a clear indication of the consequences that awaits anyone of her minions for rebellion.

I find this hard to stomach, as the whole debacle of Brexit is an inter party war in the first place, but the consequences will be felt for many a generation to come. 

It has shown just how easy it is to manipulate the population (thankfully not the majority of Scots) and, with the connivance of the right-wing press, erode true democracy for the ends of a few. 

We should be thankful that the SNP MPs have no constraints upon them in that House, and  that we have a Parliament in Holyrood that shows that Government and governance can be honestly and effectively practised. 

How anyone can now not see the urgency of ridding ourselves of Westminster rule is beyond me.

Ade Hegney