THE English mainstream media is already ratcheting up incitement to hate stories about Nicola Sturgeon. This is extremely worrying. A similar campaign against Joe Cox ended with her death.

The steady, almost daily drip deliberately personalised hate is the classic Goebbels propagandist tool. Keep the message simple and dehumanise the target.

The result is a barrage of hate tweets that are mostly unprintable and of course all ignored by our free press. I was always under the impression that incitement to hate was illegal – maybe the law is different in England.

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What is the answer? Let’s have a number of spokespersons under an umbrella independence movement that includes the Scottish Government.

Let’s deny the propagandists an easy target. As for television news, they are already giving Unionist political parties considerably more airtime that the independence movement. One answer might be that if the playing field isn’t level don’t play the game.
Mike Herd
Highlands

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Time to find out what is behind the desperation to keep Scotland in the Union

IT is with delight that I look forward to the referendum campaign beginning in earnest in our next quest to gain our independence, and I am sure other readers feel the same.

I believe we are now ready to withstand and counter the threats and lies which will no doubt be about to start.

Finances or currency issues may be difficult at first, but our country has very capable people who will be working hard to make any new future for Scotland a positive one that will ultimately be successful.

As we start to examine finances, we should also look at the income, expenditures and assets etc of the other UK countries. We might then get to the bottom of why the UK Government is so unwilling to release Scotland from the Union. Our contribution could finally be uncovered. It’s time to know.
Marie McIlwham
Crookston

SCOTLAND will have another independence referendum – the question is exactly how long do we have to prepare? The Unionist side claims that Scotland has a weak economy. This claim is based on four figures – Scottish GDP, Scottish tax revenues, Scottish Government spending, and the Scottish balance of payments (imports v exports).

My contention is simple: all four are likely to be seriously inaccurate, in which case to base debate on them would be a serious mistake.

Why might the data be inaccurate or even deliberately false? Firstly, there simply isn’t enough data to reliably estimate Scottish GDP. We have no figures for where sales take place in the UK, for example. VAT returns are an utterly unreliable source for this – a UK company does not submit separate data on sales in Scotland.

Then there are tax revenues and that VAT point still stands. Scottish Revenue is struggling to be sure who is resident in Scotland and on corporation tax there is no way of knowing where revenues are earned at present. On spending, the allocation of government spending to Scotland will be arbitrary: how much defence should it pay, for example? Or interest? The arbitrary areas will be too great for this number to really be reliable. In which case what of Scottish imports and exports? Let’s be blunt – no-one has a clue what crosses the borders from Scotland to England and Northern Ireland. These numbers are literally made up.

There are two further issues, both serious. One is that Westminster could pretty much manipulate this data at will. And two, nothing will be the same if Scotland leaves – the government of an independent Scotland will have a very different structure to that imposed now. My point? Simply this: if there is to be meaningful debate on this issue then the SNP have a lot of work to do to produce best possible data. The last thing they should do is trust that from London.
William J Craig Senior
Lecturer in Law Robert Gordon University


THOSE of us who were naive enough to believe that the BBC would have been adequately chastened by the exposure of its bias during the 2014 referendum can just forget it. Within hours of the announcement of another vote, the BBC had hot-footed it over to Brussels to corner the most compliant Spaniard they could find and get the best “No entry for Scotland to the EU” comment he could muster. The BBC could have spoken people in ANY of the other EU member states, and received much more positive responses.

All indications from the different TV channels and newspapers so far are that the forthcoming campaign is going to be fought with even dirtier tactics than were employed by the Unionist media in 2014. Thankfully, we have The National on our side this time around.
Alasdair Forbes
Farr, Inverness-shire

PERHAPS now with a referendum proposed for Scotland and rumblings in Belfast and Cardiff, EU negotiators will feel obliged to consult with the devolved assemblies of the UK. Oh! Hang on a minute there isn’t a devolved assembly for England.
Richard Easson
Dornoch

I HAVE been struck by a number of commentators – many of whom should know better – stating that an independent Scotland would have to join a “queue” for EU membership.

There is, of course, no queue. Legislation in Scotland is already in alignment with the EU, a situation very different to that of EU candidate countries such as Montenegro, Serbia and Albania.

Turkey applied to join the then EEC in 1987. Austria applied to join in 1989, Finland in 1992 and Sweden in 1991. Those nations then joined what became the EU in 1995. Turkey is still waiting in the wings. We are clearly in the fast-track lane to EU entry, in a different position when compared with other candidate countries.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh

I FOUND your story about Artur Mas, the former president of Catalonia, very chilling (Mas banned from office over indy vote, The National, March 14).

Mas was fined $36,000 and banned from holding office for two years by Spain’s Constitutional Court for organising an illegal independence referendum in 2014. Former vice-president Joana Ortega was banned for 21 months, and former education minister Irene Rigau for 18 months. Theresa May must be eyeing that situation with envy.
Jim Lynch
Address supplied