IT’S not surprising that Unionist politicians have jumped on the news that Scottish economic output has shrunk by 0.2 per cent to rubbish a second referendum and talk down Scotland.

Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, said the figures provided “further compelling evidence that the last thing Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum”. She added: “With Scotland’s economy flatlining and Brexit creating unprecedented levels of uncertainty, it is time the SNP Government in Edinburgh started taking some responsibility for its failures and acted to address them.”

Despite Jackie Baillie acknowledging the damage that Brexit is causing, she sees the actions taken by the Scottish Government to prevent it as equally harmful. A perfect example of the Orwellian doublespeak we expect from the Scottish Labour branch.

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Ruth Davidson has said that it is of course because Scotland is the most taxed part of the UK. The Scottish Chamber of Commerce has unsurprisingly parroted these claims. I thought we’d passed the days of believing in fantasy trickle-down economics where allowing the upper classes to hoard a nation’s wealth is seen as sensible or beneficial to the working classes.

We can’t be surprised to hear Unionists using the opportunity to talk down our economy and economic confidence. So many of them love to use this to show how reliant we are on resting on the broad shoulders of the Union when, in fact,, it has been the UK Government’s hands causing damage to Scotland. The Scottish Government does have control of some economic levers, but for the vast majority, that remains London. It makes no sense to place the blame at Holyrood.

The decline in the oil and gas sector has been put down as a factor in the shrink. However, it’s no secret that the Tories have done nothing to help the ailing sector due to their obsession with free market economics – unless you are a bank of course!

If a UK government, Tory or Labour, had had the sense to start an oil fund to draw funds from to invest in the economy when the oil price falls, then we would potentially not be in such a bad position. Instead, our nation’s wealth has been used to fund tax cuts for the rich, illegal wars and nukes on the Clyde to massage the imperialist egos of Westminster.

Claims of getting back to the “day job” obviously overlook the fact that the First Minister only this week secured more than £6 million of investment during her trade trip to the US. The claim also overlooks the great efforts the Scottish Government went to to secure the iconic steel industry in Lanarkshire.

Instead of undermining the case for a second referendum, it only strengthens it. Scotland’s economy isn’t being damaged by being independent. It’s being damaged because we’re in the Union. The fact Scotland’s economic output is shrinking while the UK’s increases only shows where the UK Government’s priorities lie.

The question we face is whether we’ll allow it to continue or wipe the froth from the mouths of Unionist politicians who, overcome with Stockholm syndrome, manically seize the opportunity to call us too wee, too poor and too stupid.
Rory Steel
SNP Youth Vice-Convener

IF the Scottish economy is stalling, it’s mainly due to Brexit which is holding firms back and causing uncertainty. If we were independent we could start employing more people. Sadly, this gives Unionists a stick to beat the SNP with, but, as everyone knows, Scotland is a vastly resourceful country. Unfortunately we have Westminster choking growth with needless austerity and job cuts.
Stevie Kelly
Motherwell

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MEP Martin's words must give hope to Labour For Indy

IT is reported (Top Spanish MEP attacks UK over Scotland, The National, April 6) that the long-standing Labour MEP David Martin stated in the European Parliament he would consider voting Yes next time round because of Brexit. He also spoke about consideration for the Scottish Government’s proposals for flexible border solutions. “Stay tuned for similar moments of revelation,” to quote Lesley Riddoch.

This must be an encouragement to Labour For Indy. At the time of the last indyref, the Labour ranks were full of MPs from Scotland who are no longer in the House of Commons except one. Labour down south is a party riven by disagreement and in crisis as it sinks lower and lower. The Labour bastion in Glasgow was stunned when the city voted Yes! An indication of things to come no doubt. And finally Labour at Holyrood trail the Tories.

Why does that party still dabble with toxic UK Unionism? Perhaps we can expect more “moments of revelation” from the existing silent Labour supporters as they scan their party’s lowly position in Scotland. They must ask themselves why this has come about. Fraternising with the Tories, their opposition to maximum powers for Holyrood during the Smith Commission and the hostility of their English counterparts when these proposals were discussed at Westminster.

Then, finally, Gordon Brown’s faux pas, the phantom devo-max Vow which was followed by EVEL, instigated by Cameron and a disaster for Brown. He was hoodwinked there, no doubt!

There is a trail of events and bad judgement by Labour in Scotland which has brought about this critical point for Labour.

Perhaps David Martin’s comments are the start of a realisation that Vow2 federalism is unrealistic given Westminster’s lack of interest and the demise of Labour which has made it dysfunctional for government. Independence brings more than devo-max and more than “fedo-max”, if one can pardon the coinage.
John Edgar
Blackford

I BELIEVE new material is necessary from BBC Scotland’s news department, as some is showing signs of age.

In particular, the word “claim”, the BBC epithet of choice when describing statements from SNP politicians. For example, Nicola Sturgeon’s Stanford University speech in which she stated an independent Scotland could make a positive contribution to the world. BBC Scotland’s reporting of the speech closed with: “Nicola Sturgeon claimed.” As is customary, the opposition parties’ response was described as “said”, not “claimed”.

Another well-worn example of BBC Scotland’s semantic jiggery-pokery is the use of the words “defended” or “defending”, used to describe Scottish Government spokespeople issuing policy statements, no matter how innocuous or uncontroversial.

Incidentally, the BBC’s reported response to Nicola’s speech from “the opposition parties” was: “She is trying to increase support for another referendum.” What, in California?
Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry

MANY IndyScot supporters have been some of the worst offenders, perhaps unwittingly, when it comes to the belittling our nation.

An “independent Scotland” needs to rely upon the EU to best succeed? That sounds to me like Scotland can be “independent”, but only if all of our most important political issues of concern are deferred to an appointed, unaccountable, oligarchy. Contemptuous defeatism!
James Andrew Mills
Renfrewshire

I COMPLETELY agree with John Edgar (Letters, April 5). When I was chairman of the Peterhead SNP branch in 1968, I attempted to get a definition and timescale of federalism from the late Jo Grimond, at that time the leader of the Liberals.

It was a public meeting for the adoption of a Liberal candidate for East Aberdeenshire. I asked Mr Grimond, three times, and three times he sat down to rapturous applause – from the Liberals.

He had no answer, and the same applies to the concept today.

I have noticed over the last 50-odd years the tendency of timid Scots to vote for anything but independence, but the times they are a-changing.
Jim Lynch
Edinburgh