THOSE that shout loudest! That would be the business community who have forced the UK Government into a U-turn over NI contributions.

Why did the Government perform a U-turn on this issue? They claim it was because of a manifesto commitment and to that I say: when did that ever bother the government? Let’s be frank, also shouting loudly was their own back-benchers. So, I ask, where is the back-bench on the issue of women and the state pension?; women born in the early 1950s who are disproportionately suffering the consequences of an increase to their state pension age.

Those women have not even been afforded the government’s notice of an increase to one’s state pension age, currently 10 years. Yet those affected have cross-party support in the Commons and from campaign group, Women Against State Pension Inequality, but no U-turn for them as they suffer the devastating effects of the Government’s policy.

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Many are now forced into a life on benefits and poverty after working for more than 40 years, having fully paid their national insurance contributions.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk


Lack of an EU exit plan will only fuel indy support 

MANY thanks to David Davis for easing the path to Scottish independence. His admission to a parliamentary committee that he has no plan for the scenario whereby the UK leaves the EU without a deal eases the way for Scotland leaving the UK with or without a plan.

His encouraging words that “it’s not as frightening as some people think” will be echoed by independence campaigners when Unionists decry the problems of leaving the UK.

I look forward to Ruth Davidson accepting Davis’s wise words when next she uses economic arguments to undermine the independence case as these same arguments are eschewed by her own party when contemplating independence from the EU.

James Mills, Johnstone

WHEN I read Theresa May’s response to Angus Robertson in Westminster, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the bit where she said ‘we fought together’ over the years of union. Many years ago, I was canvassing for the SNP in Milngavie, when one of the doors I knocked was that of the late, great Oliver Brown. He duly presented me with two of his brilliant booklets, from one of which I have always remembered the following quote: “In the bad old days the Campbells sometimes fought the MacDonalds and a trickle of blood occasionally dyed the heather, there were border raids from both sides. After the Union with England, the Scots fought against the French, the Germans, the Americans, the Irish, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Afghans, the Zulus, the Boers, the Russians, the Spanish and the Maoris. That is what is called the Pax Britannica”

Wise words indeed.

Ian Baillie, Alexandria

THERE’S been a great deal made about how weak the Scottish economy is. They talk it down while talking up it’s so called deficit that’s distorted by GERS but how is the English economy doing?

We know about the GBP trillions of debt for the UK but what about the English national debt? A substantial and significant part of the English economy relies on the financial services in London. In 2014, over 700,000 highly paid people worked in insurance, banking, etc, in London. London’s GVA per capita is three times that of Scotland, so “Special Case London” will be an imperative at whatever cost to the rest of the country.

It will join Nissan’s secret sweetheart deal along with other exporting industries in the English economy. It will all be made clear when it is a fait accompli and we have left Europe. Expect Scotland’s assets to be traded in for the benefit of the English economy allowing special cases access to Europe. That is the price Scotland will pay, for being in the not-fit-for-purpose Union that only benefits England.

Mike Herd Via email THE commentary provided this week by The Daily Telegraph feature writer, Allison Pearson, presumably intended to be humorous or satirical, was headed, “Nicola Sturgeon is a liar and a traitor – off with her head!” This was later the same day moderated to, “Nicola Surgeon – another treacherous queen of Scots – has miscalculated.” The article went on to personally criticise the First Minister’s appearance and her policies.

I neither know nor care about Ms Pearson’s appearance but the abusive tone of her article is ugly in the extreme. Is this the way our politics is to be conducted where a once respectable broadsheet has descended to the gutter?

Ken MacColl, Oban

IN A week when we all probably thought it couldn’t get any better/worse, depending on your point of view, here we have it – the ruling party has just been fined £70,000 for failing to comply with the law relating to election expenses.

This is a very serious situation. In the past, this would have resulted in the immediate suspension from the House of Commons such members as represent the constituencies involved, followed by an immediate statement of apology from the Government – possibly even by a vote of no confidence in the Government itself. Can we expect this from the present Prime Minister? I think not.

George M Mitchell, Dunblane

REGARDING Jean Kemp’s letter (The National, March 15) I myself voted to leave the EU in the referendum, mainly because TTIP was still on the cards and I believed it would have been a disaster for Scotland. Every day I am amongst fishermen from Fife and many of them voted against remaining in the EU because they believed the waters around Scotland would be returned to Holyrood after Brexit.

Both these scenarios have turned out to be false. The EU along with Trump has ruled out TTIP. Theresa May has between the lines ruled out control over fishing coming to Holyrood as she talks about sharing and, going by the way she has treated Scotland over Brexit, I don’t hold out much hope for the fishermen of Fife, or anywhere else in Scotland for that matter, getting control over fishing.

After independence, if Scotland does decide to become a full member of the European Union it will not be as a spectator but as a full member at the top table helping to shape policy and that includes who fishes where. And, one key difference, Scotland will have a veto.

Walter Hamilton, St Andrews