THERESA May and the Unionist media have made this General Election campaign about two issues: Brexit and strong leadership.

They, understandably, wish to curtail debate on the very harsh policies being enacted by the Tories throughout the UK and instead focus on these two subjects on which they believe they can defeat Labour.

No mention of the ongoing welfare attacks on the poor, disabled and disadvantaged people in our society; no discussion of the failing NHS in England and Wales; no examination of the growing inequality in the UK accelerated by the mollycoddling of the rich and powerful by successive Tory governments; no debate on the growing UK debt mountain which they have comfortably doubled since coming to power in 2010; no focus on the continuing deterioration in the effectiveness of our armed forces as they are run into the ground while the white elephant that is Trident is sacrosanct.

Ironically, in Scotland the Tories have had to resile from their UK campaign focus, as appealing to the Scots on Brexit and strong leadership does not have the same impact considering that the Scots voted 62 per cent for Remain, and leaders do not come much stronger than Nicola Sturgeon. Instead we have Ruth Davidson, reprising her one greatest hit from the past, recycling “No indyref2” as a campaign theme.

After two years of accusing the SNP of talking up another independence referendum, the Tories have spoken of nothing else in the local council elections and, now, in the General Election campaign.

Ruth Davidson will at any given moment speak endlessly on why we should not discuss another referendum and will continually tell anyone who will listen, usually an uncritical and compliant Unionist media outlet, that the Scots do not want another vote, and that if the Tories win another seat in Scotland then that trumps the 50 or so that the SNP are likely to win and that means the Scottish people do not want independence!

So we are a “precious Union” if not a “sacred Union” in Theresa May’s vision of the UK, but two very different countries when it comes to campaigning.
James Mills

THE obvious reason for Theresa May calling another election is to strengthen the Tories’ grip on government and to hold on to power. Current polls show the Tories would dominate the election and achieve a massive majority over and above their current 12.

However, perhaps she’s called the election to also strengthen her own grip. Smashing a General Election with a massive majority would give Theresa May the mandate and power to take control of her Cabinet again. She could easily get rid of the hard-line Brexiteers such as David Davis and Liam Fox. It would also provide her with the opportunity to rid herself of the bumbling Boris Johnson who has stumbled his way across the globe giving the UK the reddest of necks.

Theresa May, although being extremely harsh on immigration, supported Remain. If she does smash the election, then she would have more legitimacy and power to implement the type of Brexit she would want to see, free from influence of hard-line Brexiteers, which may include access to the single market. What will be telling is if she includes these people in her Cabinet.

If this is the case, this could throw the whole issue of a second independence referendum in the air if access to the single market is achieved. Although a second referendum is so much more than a question of the EU, it is the basis on which we are calling for one. Uncertain times ahead.
Rory Steel
SNP Youth Vice-Convener



Macron win would make Brexit talks much tougher

THE current favourite to become president in the French election, Emmanuel Macron, could spell bad news for the UK Government in talks on Brexit should he win.

If he succeeds in the second round on May 7, he is likely to drive a hard bargain in Brexit negotiations. The former French economy minister, who resigned to campaign for change, has been an outspoken critic of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

In his election manifesto he described Brexit as a “crime” that will leave the UK facing “servitude”. The centrist favours a hard Brexit that would leave the UK outside of the single market and has stressed the importance of “defending the integrity” of the EU’s intertwined freedoms of movement and trade.

Negotiations would undoubtedly be tougher with Macron at the table, as he has already warned that there can be no “caveat or waiver” to the EU’s “unbreakable” position of defending its own interests first.

As Macron himself has stated: “The best trade agreement for Britain ... is called membership of the EU.”
Alex Orr

IN the first round of the French presidential election, more than 40 per cent of voters chose candidates at the furthest ends of the political spectrum.

However, we may be misleading ourselves to think of various political opinion as a spectrum. It is probably better to think of it as a pie-chart where the extremes meet. There is quite a lot of common ground when ultra-nationalism meets ultra-socialism, as can be evidenced not so long ago in Europe.

For this reason, that chances of the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen winning against the independent centrist Emmanuel Macron in the run-off on May 7 shouldn’t be underestimated. If she wins, it would drastically change the dynamics of campaigning in the final four weeks of the British General Election on June 8.
Geoff Naylor

I TOTALLY agree with James Sinclair (Letters, The National, April 24) that the new logo which forms part of the rebranding of Yes2 to aYe Scotland is a piece of feeble, limp-wristed, graphic design, and an act of sheer folly.

There is a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The aYe Scotland logo breaks the first rule of good communication – it does not communicate the message in a simple, clear, bold and unambiguous way.

The Yes2 logo was simple, clear, bold and unambiguous – the product does what it says on the package, in a clear typeface on a solid blue background. The aYe Scotland logo looks like it was produced on the back of a fag packet or by someone dabbling in graphic design, with not a clue what they were doing.

We had this problem during the first independence referendum in2014, with people producing their own versions of Yes posters with disastrous communications results. Who produced the new logo? Why were SNP members not consulted? How much will it cost to replace the Yes2 material?

If the new logo is supposed to take us forward into the brave new world of independence, then God help us. The whole exercise looks like an amateurish attempt at rebranding. It is not just feeble and weak, it is pathetic.

I, for one, will not be using it and will continue to use the Yes2 logo. Why oh why can’t the powers that be consult the membership before making these crucial changes to communications material?

Again, we shoot ourselves in the foot at a time when we need to go forward boldly where no man has gone before. I despair.
William C McLaughlin

YESTERDAY, the Scottish newspaper-buying public were confronted with two reports indicating a drop in support for a fresh Scottish independence referendum.

One of these moderately popular newspapers reported support for a referendum on Scottish independence at 40 per cent. Another had support for the same at 26 per cent.

Given the statistical margin of error usual in such surveys, one might be tempted to say: “You couldn’t make it up.”

However, it appears that, on this occasion at least, someone did.
Name and address supplied