HENRY McLeish’s long article on federalism lays out in great detail all the points of an, as yet, imaginary UK federalism (The trouble with UK federalism is how difficult it is to achieve, The National, April 4).

Yet, the absolute sovereignty of Westminster is still the “elephant in the room” and will remain so.

Still, he poses a question on this dilemma and asks if the “traditional” parties at Westminster can deliver.

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The answer to that is obviously “No”. The three traditional parties from Scotland at Westminster have symbolically three MPs. One does not need to look far for other evidence as well. The Vow2 peddlers, Brown, Dugdale et al, from within Labour in Scotland, in their last outing to Wales, still accept the absolute sovereignty of Westminster and no separate English parliament.

After the shambles of Vow1, promulgated by Brown, the English House of Commons brought in EVEL. There is no desire, let alone mere whisper of federalism at the heart of the post-Brexit establishment.

The figurehead of that establishment, May, cannot even, within the present set up of the incorporating union of 1707 in its current minimalist devolutionary structure, engage in open dialogue with the other three nations over Brexit, let alone answer requests and respond to letters. Corbyn is almost stumm on the issue and he is mostly nowhere to be heard these days.

We are now beyond the either/or choice of independence or chimerical federalism for Scotland. The divergence of Scotland and England, the two signatories to the 1707 Treaty of Union, has reached the stage where independence is the only satisfactory solution for all.

It will enable England to drift on in its post-Imperial dwam to establish global Empire2 and Scotland to forge progressively ahead within the EU group of nations if it so chooses.

I often think Henry McLeish feels his old UK Labour background and ties are diminishing, yet this still keeps holding him back from making that leap forward towards independence. He still clings to the hope of a fading Labour establishment delivering, yet the signs are the opposite. Corbyn and co, despite protestations to the contrary, have caved into May and the Brexiteers.

Scotland, let alone federalism, is the last thing on the minds of the traditional parties. Even the shadow Labour Secretary of State for Scotland is not a Scottish MP! The key is “traditional”. These parties are thirled to the old way of the incorporated Union of 1707. Labour in Scotland have one MP and even trail the Tories. Not much clout there, not even lobby fodder any more for Labour down south!

Within Labour north of the Tweed “Labour for Indy” is a pointer to where there is a way for Labour in Scotland to survive and participate fully in the Scottish body politic unshackled from its dying Unionist party down south.

Go for it Henry!
John Edgar

“THE trouble with UK federalism ...” Henry McLeish answers his own well-written piece in the title, and without wishing to be too unkind, it is an exercise in semantics.

There is not a snowball’s chance in hell of federalism ever happening while we have this jingoistic right-wing government in power. And it looks like it is going to be in power for a great many years to come.

Labour worthies are queuing up to promote some form of federalism. Gordon Brown could have done just that at the stroke of a pen when he was Prime Minister and of course late to the show is Kezia who, ahem, has to say something.

There is undoubtedly a hollow ring to this clamour. They have all forgotten how Labour blocked huge chunks of proposed devolved powers during the Smith Commission.

The real answer to the UK’s constitutional question is quite simple: England should hold its own referendum on independence.

If yes, and at this early stage I would confidently predict that to be the result, it would free Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at a stroke ending the constitutional question.

There are smaller countries than Wales and Northern Ireland that are successful. The latter could choose to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland or be wholly independent, why not?

England could then pursue any Empire2 fantasies it wishes without having to mollify these annoying satellite nations.

It could sell off its public services to Trumps’ American corporate businesses who are no doubt salivating at the prospect and all without media scrutiny. It could be a tax haven for the same companies. It could pretend unchallenged that all is not only well but exceedingly good for everyone living in England including the poor, the homeless and the single parent families queueing at food banks.

It makes perfect sense.

Sadly, having sense isn’t likely to manifest itself anytime soon from this UK Government.

Theresa May can trumpet her stone-walling sound-bite diplomacy as much as she likes, it would be as irrelevant as food banks to an independent Scotland.
Mike Herd

WHY this fence sitter is allowed so many column inches in our news media beats me. One minute he turns this way then the other but never too far away from Labour policy to attract criticism. C’mon Henry make up your mind, get off the fence, back independence, you know you want to!
John Ross

WHAT a spectacular image of the Holy Loch and St Munn’s Parish Church in Kilmun in yesterday’s paper (William McKnight, Picture of the Day, The National, Apr 4).

And some history. There have been churches on the site since the time of Columba.

The previous church on the site was where Maighread Campbell (Heilin’ Mary) was baptised in 1763 when all of Cowal was in the parish of Kilmun.

Mary Queen of Scots visited the inn that was just below the church in the 16th century and the Clarke (MacChlerie) graves in the churchyard carry the inscription “Free For A Blast” in memory of the concession of ownership of the lands of Echside and Kilmun in perpetuity given to that clan by James IV when its leader had called off his dogs on a deer hunt up Glen Eck to allow the King’s dogs to get a couple.
Dave McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll