I RESPOND to your correspondents Peter Craigie and G Foulis (Letters, The National, April 12 as follows: I agree with Peter Craigie that the UK, US and other Western powers have been, at times, duplicitous in their dealings with Arab and Middle Eastern leaders and governments.

The Sykes-Picot agreement is a good example, but one could also point to the failure to establish a Kurdish national home when this was possible, the intrigue against Mossadegh in Iran and, indeed, Suez itself. However, the recent war in Afghanistan was fully supported by the UN.

The problem is that the Middle East has, with the notable exception of Israel, no tradition of democracy or rule by anything other than force. Russians, Turks, Germans, Persians and Arabs were just as ruthless as ourselves.
William Ross
Via email



WHERE does a baying and often inebriated mob legitimately meet these days to conduct business? In the House of Commons of course. Honesty and decency used to be its by-words and resignation the only course open to any member found to have transgressed. Now Westminster has a PM who lies biblically.

The cock didn’t have to crow thrice before Theresa May broke a series of solemn promises, starting with a blatant lie that the House was divided and that she needed a full five-year term to complete Brexit negotiations.

What was obvious, but withheld from the House, was the fact that more than 20 of her MPs could shortly be up before the beaks on charges of electoral fraud with a looming possibility of her losing her slender majority. What she has blatantly announced is her cynical plan to dodge that issue by calling a General Election that is almost guaranteed to increase her majority due to Labour’s electoral fragility.

Another point that struck me was her insistence on the possibility of Brexit negotiations running on until the middle of 2022 which carries the threat of no independence referendum until three years after she has already dragged Scotland out of the EU. What is wrong with forestalling her malign intentions by, following the election, calling a convention in Edinburgh of all Scotland’s elected representatives to vote on a Scottish declaration of independence?
Bruce Moglia
Bridge of Weir

NOW that Theresa May has flung her Tory cat among Labour pigeons, amidst their English country gardens, perhaps Nicola Sturgeon could outdo her and set the heather on fire by declaring for a Holyrood election.

Not only would this boost her party’s fortunes by becoming global news, Scottish issues, for the first time, would actually become the predominate issue in an English-led election. At one fell swoop, by refusing to split the list votes, which cost them a majority Government last time, the SNP could increase its majority in Holyrood and rid itself of the Tory rump in Scotland. Yeah. Let’s go for it. We have nothing to lose but Tory chains and everything to gain with freedom’s reigns.
Donald Anderson

THE situation presented by May’s announcement of a General Election is now critical for Scotland. It is clear Scotland does not matter to Westminster. How else can we interpret recent events in Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for Scotland to have a choice in the Brexit shenanigans?

May has been so anti-democratic that it calls for mass outrage on the part of voters in Scotland. This can only mean, if you are a Labour supporter who is agnostic about independence, or if you are Green or socialist, you should vote on the basis of getting the Tories out and the best way to do that in Scotland is to vote SNP.

As for Alasdair Carmichael, the motivation for voting him out is somewhat different but a Green/SNP alliance would do it. He deserves his comeuppance for his lying.
Bill McDermott

WHAT an incredible sight, Scotland’s last Labour MP begging for Tory support in order to hang on to his seat (Ian Murray backs tactical voting for Tories to keep SNP out, The National, April 21).

Better Together has worked in favour of the Tories beyond their wildest dreams, Labour was briefly allowed into the inner sanctum of the Tory Party as, with the backing of the UK Government, they unleashed everything in their power on the SNP and Yes movement.

Labour were so traumatised by what they knew would be coming their way if they aligned with the SNP that they opposed almost every proposed transfer of powers to Holyrood and renounced any possibility of forming a coalition before the 2015 and 2017 General Elections.

If the result of the election is as it is now, with a substantial majority of SNP MPs returned to Westminster, Scotland will be in an incredible position. A Tory victory with an overall majority will almost certainly ensure that any Scottish Government request for a Section 30 Order will be refused.

Labour will not even consider a coalition with the SNP even if a Labour/SNP majority would form the next UK Government after the election. Scotland will be in a unique situation for any nation that is said to be an “equal partner” in a Union where an alliance of the Unionist parties will neither allow Scotland to leave nor participate in their precious Union.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I READ Lesley Riddoch’s April 20 column with interest, as she called this “a groundhog day election”. I absolutely agree with her that it can be, but it would seem that this could be entirely in Scots hands – for, should we choose, the focus of this election can be largely dictated from north of Hadrian’s wall.

Scots can use this election as a force for good by simply changing the frame of the debate by announcing that if Scotland elects a majority of SNP MPs, then it will be declaring that its populace has vested in Holyrood the right to amend the Act of Union. After which it will be up to England to accept or reject those amendments.

Holyrood could then announce that they’ve no intention of rescinding it, just making it fit for purpose and suitable for the present day. Scotland should only ask for a bare handful of items to be written into an amended act, all in line with the 2014 “Vow”.
Ashley MacGregor
Via email