IT is sometimes enlightening to check out old press reports. In January 1959, The Times published the following: “Malta cannot live on its own ... the island could pay for only one-fifth of her food and essential imports; well over one-quarter of the present labour force would be out of work, and the economy would collapse without British Treasury subventions. Talk of full independence for Malta is therefore hopelessly impractical.”

Too wee, too poor! Where have I heard that before?

Malta, with a population of around 400,000 (smaller than Edinburgh), held an independence referendum in May 1964, and the result was 54.5 per cent for and 45.5 per cent against. Since independence, Malta’s economy has grown. It joined the EU in 2004 and adopted the euro in 2008.

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By 2015, Malta was classified by the IMF as “an advanced economy”, while the World Bank quoted it as “a high income country”. Its unemployment rate stood at 5.4 per cent (compared to a UK rate of 5.6 per cent in August the same year. When we hear the Unionist cry that Scotland is too wee and too poor to be independent, remember Malta.

Keith Scammell Inverness

WHAT do Ruth Davidson and Nigel Farage have in common?

They have both succeeded in putting a cosmetically acceptable face on parties which have at their hearts deeply unpleasant policies and people. Farage, with the not inconsiderable help of the BBC, portrayed himself as “the kind of bloke you would meet down the pub”.

He persuaded many disillusioned voters that his party was not the second coming of the BNP but was really just trying to put forward the views of “everyman”.

So we got Brexit, after a disgraceful campaign of no facts (“don’t trust experts, said Michael Gove), Project Fear from the Government (well, it worked in 2014) and lies and disinformation on immigration and the NHS.

Ruth Davidson has, in the wider UK, portrayed herself as a genial, laughing-policeman-type figure on TV shows, always conspicuously avoiding any mention of her hardline stance on Tory policies.

This has paid off for her as Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll of UK politicians puts her on a 38 per cent approval rating, just ahead of Nicola Sturgeon’s 32 per cent.

However, contrast this with her standing in Scotland in the same poll, where voters are au fait with her policies when she eschews her TV persona and returns to her “day job”: Sturgeon had a 52 per cent rating while Davidson trailed behind with 40 per cent.  Nigel and Ruth have beguiled the public furth of Scotland, almost entirely due to their appearances on popular TV shows. But when exposed in Scotland, as is Ms Davidson, to real scrutiny of her principles and her party’s policies, she is seen for what she is – the nasty party’s Scottish leader. Nothing to laugh about there!

James Mills, Johnstone 

THE yoon parties in Scotland are outraged and insulted that anyone should question their Scottishness. These will, of course, include the Tories in Scotland whose leader made the hilarious joke at her UK conference speech to the effect that Scots are thieves and vandals.

Meanwhile, Labour warmly welcomed to their Perth conference the London Mayor, who claimed that to support the SNP was no better than being racist. Slurs which they clearly think enhance their “Scottishness” in the eyes of who exactly?

Maybe if these “proud Scots” didn’t take every opportunity to run down this country and its people, we would believe their claim of pride in this nation.

I think it’s more likely Donald Trump will win anti-misogynist of the year before that ever happens.

John Murphy, West Lothian

MANY people had serious concerns about the complete lack of policy and any apparent planning Theresa May and her Government displayed in the wake of the disastrous outcome of the Brexit vote, but it appears our fears were unnecessary. Some preparations have been made after all, and the important things are being sorted out.

I had moved house and needed to update my driving licence. When the new one arrived it had a Union Jack displayed where there had previously been a European Flag. So there we have it.

No flies on Theresa when it comes to sorting out our future post-Brexit. We will have a Union Jack on our driving licences in Scotland even if it makes you queasy to look at it.

Denise Docherty, Fife

LIKE Laura Anderson (Letters, April 11), my husband and I were extremely disappointed in the coverage of the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge/Arras on both BBC and ITV. Having visited both sites – and been underground in Arras – there is so much to see and experience that would have made the basis of very interesting programmes for so many Scots.

Two minutes of coverage was not enough. If anyone would like to see much more detailed film of the ceremonies which took place over the weekend, they should visit www.france3.fr/. Scroll down to “LES JT” and then to Nord pas-de-Calais and keep exploring.

Audrey and Malcolm Richardson, Thornton, Fife

READING about the indecent level of Scottish casualties at the Battle of Arras/Vimy Ridge, I was reminded of the excessive mortality rates within Scottish regiments during the First and Second World Wars.

I was also reminded of the statement in 1757 by the prime minister at the time, William Pitt: “The Highlanders are hardy, intrepid, accustomed to rough country, and it is no great mischief if they fall ... how can you better employ a secret enemy within than by making his end conducive to the common good.

Frederick Stewart Portlethen, Aberdeen IF people are interested in finding out more about the way Scottish troops have been sacrificed during war, they should read the story of the 51st Highland Division in France in 1940.

Mari McKinlay, via email

I WONDER if all those brave men would have voluntarily gone over the top if they had known that 100 years later their descendants would be queuing up for food parcels, even though they are in work, and the donkeys are still in charge?

Joe Wallace, via email