SITTING in the café in Stirling Castle today, I considered the situation Scotland presently finds itself in. After a while, I repaired to the rooms called The Castle Exhibition and came face to face with 1000 years of history.

This is an extensive series of displays featuring mainly monarchs and major military figures in Scotland’s long history, but also significant events.

My visit there was made to check one detail, and my memory served me well: every display case is dated, but the sequence jumps from 1671 to 1715. In other words – in this castle, which so often changed hands between the fighters of England and Scotland – the 1707 Union of the Parliaments is not acknowledged to have happened.

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A wee bitty eccentric, I think, and, retrospectively, not best evidence for the notion that nations united with England are treated as equals!
Michael F Troon



DURING a family holiday to Devon in the late-1970s, we met a lady and her two children from Berwick, she had a distinct Scottish accent and I assumed she meant North Berwick. I was surprised when she informed me she came from Berwick on Tweed. I said: “You are English then” but she replied a bit irately that she was Scottish and I replied that Berwick-on-Tweed is in England. “That’s just a formality I’m Scottish”, she replied.

Later on we met her husband who was working on motorways being built down there at that time and he was of the same opinion as his wife regarding his nationality. I wondered for a long time if they were the exception to the rule or if more than a few people in Berwick-on-Tweed think of themselves at Scottish. Could the time be right for the SNP to test the waters and see if Berwick-on-Tweed could be repatriated?

And, if so, what about the Scottish Government doing something about consolidation – I’m referring to the Shetlands the Orkneys and the Western Isles? They are as much a part of Scotland as the Borders, the Lowlands and the Highlands. The Scottish Government build toll-free bridges and roads for us on the mainland, so what about giving islanders passes that allow them free travel to and from the mainland?

Repatriation and consolidation could be the new solidarity.
David McKeen

I NOTE that substantial oil reserves have been discovered 60 miles west of Shetland. I don’t know the current feasibility situation of winning this oil as I thought Michael Heseltine had placed an embargo on using this resource in favour of protecting submarine-access routes during the Cold War.

You see, by 1981, the MoD had become fully involved and instructed the Department for Energy that no drilling rigs should be allowed in the area. This lead to BP abandoning its plans for further oil and gas exploration.

There seems to have been a change in Westminster’s heart and it is now beginning to allow a little exploitation in this area.

I’m afraid that the reason for this is that Westminster is simply going to greed our resource from us again.
Harry Schneider
Newton Stewart

THE reasons for some of the arrogance and impertinence currently displayed by Westminster can be found in the works of Scots historian Tom Nairn. Nairn argues that the great revolutions of the late 18th century were not revolutions at all but merely the replacement of an absolute monarch by an absolute parliament. The medieval power of the king is now held by a social and financial oligarchy and pouring scorn on the mother of parliaments becomes a dangerous thing to do.

Several journalists and correspondents of this newspaper should therefore expect to find themselves incarcerated in the Tower within the next few weeks.
Alan Clayton

SOME media refer to the recent billion-barrel oil discovery in Scottish waters by Hurricane Energy as being located in the “North Sea”. This is erroneous, unless the Atlantic Ocean has suddenly become the North Sea. The new billion-barrel oil discovery is in the Shetland/Faroese basin, located geographically in the northern Scottish Atlantic Margin (SAM) – and not the North Sea. So, the next time a yoon states that the Scottish North Sea is finished and therefore Scotland cannot become independent, point out the billion-barrel oil find in the “North Sea”, to use their own erroneous geographical description.
William C McLaughlin

LIKE recent contributors to your letters pages, I leave copies of The National in places where members of the public looking to pass time in train, bus or waiting room can come across them and we hope, see another point of view from that given by most of the daily newspapers. I also have a two-foot-by-one-foot laminated blue and white placard, which reads: “Look what they are doing to Scotland. Read The National.” I display this when parking at supermarkets or High Street.

I confess to a feeling of anger, despair and frustration at the pro-Union bias of TV and most newspapers, and wonder if this makes me fear that my attempts to have a voice might be seen as desperation and so might not achieve my intention. However, what other option is there?

My local newspaper regularly carries my letters and those of other supporters of separation. We manage, courtesy of the fairness of the paper, to make our arguments heard.

I actually dislike opening my local paper on Wednesdays, when I find detractors stating that I am confused or muddled. However, I tell myself that it is my duty to speak up, and in the impressive words of John Major – ex-Tory PM talking about something similar – expose the fact that, “What is most striking is, that amid all the noise they make, they comprehensively fail to address any argument put to them.”
Victor Moncrieff

ACH, Rab, it wisnae John Keats who referred to poets as “the unacknowledged legislators of the world” (Rab Wilson: Weird glamorie compels us Scots tae write poetry, The National, March 30). You will find the quote in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s In Defence of Poetry, published posthumously in 1841.
John Bruce
Corrie, Isle of Arran