I WRITE in support of Dr Jim Walker (Letters, The National, April 20) and his call for the SNP leadership to consider a change in strategy for the forthcoming General Election.

I think it is misguided to believe that the return of a majority of SNP MPs will be seen, throughout the wider UK, as “solidifying” the right of the Scottish people to call for ScotRef.

Theresa May’s government is clearly loved by the people of England. She is assured a landslide victory there. Corbyn and Labour are hopelessly out of touch and facing oblivion. The LibDems are still smarting from their recent demise.

Loading article content

Theresa May loves her “precious Union”, we are told repeatedly, although apart from that statement there seems little acknowledgement of the rights of the Scottish people. Indeed, she recently referred to Scotland voting to remain as being very similar to her own constituents – totally missing the point that Scotland is a nation, not a shire of England.

Like Edward Longshanks she sees Scotland as hers by right, and she sees the SNP as an irritation. Although the film Braveheart was fictional, there is a line in it which succinctly describes her view of us. “The trouble with Scotland is the Scots,” Longshanks said.

That’s how she sees us and far from being more inclined to agree to ScotRef if there is a repeat of the election of 56 SNP MPs or more, she will see this as a challenge that she will meet by taking draconian actions against the limited devolution that we have enjoyed since the creation of our Edinburgh Parliament.

She will use her “precious Union” concept to force through legislation in Westminster to curtail and over time reduce the powers already devolved, there will be no “new powers” coming to Edinburgh from Brussels, quite the reverse. The SNP and more generally the Scots will be portrayed as “rebellious”. Dr Walker is right to be concerned that any future vote on “Scottish independence” if it ever was conceded could be a vote throughout the UK.

So how do we who wish to see Scotland returned to being a “nation state” of Europe and the world best achieve that result given that we are now looking into the abyss of a English Tory Government into perpetuity?

Firstly, we need to assume that even with a strong showing of SNP MPs our demand for ScotRef will be ignored as it is at present. May’s comment that this is not the time is code for “ this is not the time nor will it ever be while I am PM”. There is no way she will ever concede the potential break-up of the “country” as she sees it on her watch.

Secondly, assuming you agree with that statement, you have to consider a different strategy, a strategy that returns us to the original position of the SNP from its early development in the 1970s. That is, if the vote for the party at any General Election exceeds 50 per cent and also returns a majority of SNP MPs then that, in itself, is the “mandate” for independence. There is no need for a subsequent referendum and therefore a dependency on an Article 30 order from Westminster. Thirdly, that should be in the manifesto for June .

Fourthly, timing it now will give an element of surprise that will grab the initiative from May. It would be an unexpected challenge to the very thing she holds so dear. It will no longer be about legitimising Brexit, nor the election of an unassailable Tory majority to rule by executive orders, it will be about Scotland. The world press will go ballistic and the coverage for our cause go global.

There is, of course, risk – risk that the Scottish people will fail and their courage shrink. Let’s be bold, let us hear from our elected SNP leadership that they will take us forward on a new strategy, there’s no better time!
Ian Stewart Uig,
Isle of Skye


Deporting families will not grow our working population

YET again I find I can barely contain my anger when I read of another family facing deportation for doing exactly what Westminster claims Scotland needs – growing our working population to increase the tax base that supports our elderly (Canadian family face deportation from Highlands, The National, April 19).

We have been told repeatedly that we need to grow our population. Yet when people come to Scotland, even from our supposedly valued and respected Commonwealth, at their own expense, and set up businesses, work hard, pay tax and bring up children to provide the next generation of taxpayers, they seem to be the first in line to be deported, as soon as they have succeeded and settled in as valuable members of their chosen community.

Frequently, we hear that they have failed to meet conditions which were not in place at the time of their visa applications, or which take no account of relevant local factors which may make such conditions unreasonable – such as seasonal effects on employment in the Highlands. Fighting these illogical decisions seems to cost more in both time and money than most folk could afford and the whole process destroys the very efforts to fulfil the Westminster demand of growing the population.

In this most recent case of the family in Laggan, we have a population increase of seven, with two taxpaying adults self-sufficiently raising five future taxpayers, with their own time, effort and money invested in their community. Yet here they are, for nit-picking reasons, being condemned to leave the home they have established, leaving all their investment behind without being given time to recoup it. Does this not equate to confiscation of assets, but without any crime committed? Surely there must be a human rights argument here? Are these people being picked on to reduce immigration totals simply because they are easy to find? Or is it a deliberate, though covert, attempt to ensure that Scotland does not manage to increase its population to a satisfactory level – like the attempt to limit families to two children? Will this treatment of their citizens help the Commonwealth react favourably after Brexit?

It is noticeable just how little of this situation is exposed in the mainstream media and especially on the BBC, so thank goodness for the compassion and alertness of The National’s reporters. But is it not time for some detailed research and compilation of reports into just how many similar cases there are, with results published and a positive, public campaign, in print and online, to put an end to this farce? Come on, The National, lead the way!
L McGregor

TODAY I was fortunate enough to read your newspaper in the local Co-op, and I’m interested in the plans for independence.

As someone who has lived abroad and in London, the prosperity creation by international companies is something Scotland appears to have become weak at. RBS and HBOS have suffered badly and have diminished in importance on a global scale. The merger of Aberdeen Assert Management and Standard Life has resulted in a billion-pound deal, however the benefits are likely to be cost savings in London-owned wealth creation.

If Glasgow/Edinburgh/Belfast/Cardiff could trade internationally through a shared stock market, we could begin to pull away from London and south-east control.

The devolved nations have comparatively low populations but need an international system to compete, rather than arguments over the funding the NHS or schools. With the nations of devolved powers, an international stock market would help generate and keep revenues in Scotland. Is independence required to fulfill this? Perhaps not. Greater international financial trade, probably done in English, would complement the excellent schools and universities of the devolved nations, continuing to trade in the pound and Europe transactions being maintained.

The forthcoming election is a chance for the independence-minded to create a new era of relationship interdependence within Europe and the English language business in the Commonwealth. We are a great little nation who can achieve even more, perhaps with a little International Monetary Fund lending and polite financial interactions.
Greg Hart
Address supplied