IF now is indeed not the time for Theresa May to allow a referendum, then surely she cannot under any circumstances call a snap Westminster election given that she’s busy with Brexit and neglecting her day job!

If there’s one characteristic that sums us Scots up, it’s thrawn! So the unelected PM’s condescending, disrespectful reply to Nicola Sturgeon is unbecoming of someone in her position and will only increase the hackles here in Scotland where you can imagine Nicola screaming “Oh you bloody think so do you?”

The PM’s little Englander mentality increases by the day.

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Is it not the case that she is only delaying to stop the near-200,000 EU citizens living here from qualifying for a vote? If that truly is the case then, surely every other home-nation citizen from the other three corners of this kingdom should also be excluded? Absolutely stupid, of course, but where do you draw the line? Wherever it is, we must make sure it is we who draw it!

May, along with her Scottish Better Together crew of Mundell, Davidson, Dugdale and Rennie, seem to be making it their job to try to ridicule the SNP for wanting to take power from Westminster and it hand to Brussels. However, even if this were the case, surely it’s better to be heard in a parliament of equal equilibrium than in a Westminster Parliament where there are 533 English MPs and only 117 from the other three parts of the kingdom? The United Kingdom is a democracy in name only, with these numbers representing us. Is it any wonder England gets what it wants?

Who can possibly stand up and defend that as a fair and equal union? If you think we are a respected partner of the Union, let me refer you to the Tuesday, March 14, issue a London newspaper where it suggested the beheading of Nicola Sturgeon. Its online comments towards Scotland were 99 per cent vile and hateful. Ironically, a few days later, the same rag criticised Google for failing to control online comments! Anyone sitting on the fence should watch PMQs and FMQs to see which Parliament has behaviour you would expect from such a body and which one is baying and disrespectful!

They say our fantasy debt of £15 billion would stop us joining he EU, but with England £1.7 trillion in debt, they are actually the basket case they like to describe the Greeks as being.

It is time to adopt some of the Leave tactics and slogans such as “take back control”. It would also be a good idea for our FM to highlight regularly the UK national debt and all the planned expenditure on Trident, Faslane, Buckingham Palace, the Westminster Parliament, Crossrail and HS2 and ask: “Where is all this money coming from?”

The Conservatives love to portray themselves as the party of fiscal prudence, but the national debt has doubled since they came to power! It is time that the FM started repeating this mantra in the Scottish Parliament and asked them how we can afford to be a part of the Union.

The Tories are happy to counter criticism of the national debt by telling us we have the world’s sixth-largest economy.

However, when that economy is held together by Joe Public and a million others on zero-hours contracts, suddenly the best-ever employment figures since the 1980s mean nothing, especially when in real terms we will be earning less in 2022 than we did in 2007 and probably will still have no holiday, sick or pensionable pay.

It would actually suit the PM for Scotland to get independence as she could blame us for the inevitable bad Brexit deal coming our way with world trading tariffs of 30-40 per cent and increases in our food shopping bills. Scotland should be using the fear of these tariffs to make people vote Yes, if that’s what it takes.
Steve Cunningham


When it comes to autism, it's the person that counts

THIS week marks World Autism Awareness Week, when campaigners will seek to raise further awareness of the condition and improve the lives of those affected by it.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. It is also much more common than most people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK living with autism – that’s more than one in 100.

Awareness raising, such as through World Autism Awareness Week, is to be welcomed as more and more people gain a better understanding of the condition and how we can support children and young people with autism.

However, there is much work still to be done. We are concerned, like many, at the level of cutbacks in services supporting those with autism and, while as an organisation we support a presumption to mainstream – that those with additional support needs such as autism be taught in mainstream classes – we have raised our worries over the amount of training and resources dedicated to this.

Teaching in a mainstream class may also not be right for every child, the alternative being to teach such pupils in specialist units within mainstream schools or in dedicated specialist schools. Ultimately, the focus must be on the needs of the child or young person concerned.

So, whether it’s a walk or cycle, a cake sale, a quiz or other challenge, use this week to make it a better world for autistic people.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Tom McGhee, Managing Director, Spark of Genius Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? Scotland Sophie Pilgrim, Director, Kindred Scotland Stuart Jacob, Director, Falkland House School Niall Kelly, Managing Director, Young Foundations Liz May, National Co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland

ON Sunday, once again, we experienced an unnecessary police disturbance in the early hours. Police cars passing here (A93, west of Banchory) seem to enjoy waking up the community by continuous use of sirens when there is no obvious need.

If I wanted to use my fingers to count local traffic movements per hour in the early hours, I would not run out of fingers. Ambulances and fire engines are obliged to use sirens only when there is traffic which needs to be alerted. Why police sirens are necessary on otherwise empty roads beats me, but maybe Police Scotland have a good reason. If so, they should let people know.
Ken Gow
Bridge of Canny, Banchory

GORDON Brown made an excruciating argument in favour of federalism in the FT yesterday. Otherwise intelligent people like Brown find themselves contorting over saving the Union. For whom? Particularly, and with eye-watering embarrassment for himself, Brown is a dyed-in-the-wool Scottish Unionist of the laughable kind.

England, or the British would never would have elected Brown as PM and indeed did not. A no-brainer for them, but something Brown failed to and will never grasp.

The British do not like or respect him. A tough lesson left unlearned.

Brown has again returned in order to ruin the Scottish desire for sovereignty. Get off the bus Gordon!

Will he ever appreciate the damage he does to his own country? Brown might say never, only the precious Union matters.
David Campbell
Address supplied

REGARDING Martin Hannan’s article (King facing an uncertain Ibrox future, The National, March 29) about Rangers’ EBT scheme, even if the Supreme Court goes against Rangers, nothing will have been done that was illegal or unlawful. Merely that the administration of a tax scheme was not correct, and that tax is now due.

Within football, the Nimmo Smith Commission has to be final, because it took its decision regardless of the facts of the tax case (it had to, as the case was still in progress). At least one other club in Scotland used an EBT, are we to say that any trophies it gained should be stripped?

At least Martin acknowledges that Rangers are still the same club, something that still hasn’t sunk in for others.
David Fleming