IT was intriguing to hear Ruth Davidson claim that a recent YouGov poll indicating the Tories are on 28 per cent support in Scotland was a sign that Prime Minister May was apparently “more in touch with the people of Scotland than Nicola Sturgeon”.

This is odd, as one would have thought to be “more in touch” you would have to be leading the polls. Yet the poll says the SNP are on 41 per cent and set to retain just shy of 50 out of their 59 Westminster seats, while the Tories will have a handful of MPs in Scotland.

Indeed, Mrs May and Ms Davidson’s strategy of claiming that in Scotland the General Election is effectively a referendum against holding a second vote on independence has the potential to backfire spectacularly, unless it, of course, triumphs north of the Border.

If it fails to do so, clearly the door is now fully open to the holding of another referendum and Mrs May would have to do the honourable thing, remove her current unwarranted objection and immediately hold discussions with the Scottish Government to name the date.
Alex Orr


Scotland’s gain is a loss to our EU neighbours

IN the wake of Brexit, the Scottish Government has opposed restrictions on EU workers in Scotland. This is good for Scotland. But is it right for the countries concerned?

A recent Scottish Parliament report shows that there are 181,000 EU nationals living in Scotland. That is 3.4 per cent of the total population. Of these, 86,000 – or almost half – are Polish, 6000 are Latvians, 6000 are Lithuanians and 6000 are Romanians. Half of Scotland’s population growth between 2000 and 2015 is accounted for by EU nationals.

There is no doubt that EU nationals have been good for Scotland. But what about the other side of the coin? Poland, Latvia and Lithuania all report depopulation, especially in rural areas, and especially losses of young, qualified, working people who pay tax. The Financial Times reports that Poland’s young people are heading for UK, Germany and Italy and staying there.

Despite an unemployment rate of 11 per cent in Poland, major international companies cannot find qualified labour. Maybe they have gone to Scotland? Latvia’s population fell by 8.7 per cent in 2015 and Lithuania’s fell by 11.3 per cent in the same year.

And the reason? Migration of young, working people to France, Germany and the UK. And they do not go back.

The Economist reports that in one Lithuanian city, Panevezys, foreign investors who went there for low-cost labour cannot find any at all. The local labour force has moved westwards, usually for good, leaving only pensioners and children, and, of course, declining services.

So although migration from the EU may be good for Scotland, should we not spare a thought for Poland and the Baltic States which are rapidly losing their youngest, brightest people?

As migrants are settling permanently in UK and Scotland they are lost for good to their home countries.
Mike Fergus

JEREMY Corbyn may be critical of Theresa May but it is more surface dressing than substance (Theresa May accused of ‘running scared’ of voters ahead of trip to Scotland, The National, April 29).

On Saturday, he was in London delivering an appeal to young voters extolling the benefits of Labour government, describing how he was aghast at the conduct of the Tory government in support of the South African regime, in contrast to Labour’s support for Nelson Mandela and the South African people, at the time he became an MP 37 years ago.

Corbyn appears to be totally oblivious to irony of the situation that 35 years later he led a Labour Party that voted consistently with the Tories in Westminster against every proposal made by the SNP for additional powers to be devolved to the Scottish people in the Scotland Act that followed the recommendations of the Smith Commission.
Maggie Jamieson
South Queensferry

MY amiable Tory councillor, now a candidate for re-election in Edinburgh’s Southside-Newington ward, heads his election address “Send a message that we don’t want a second referendum ... ” Since David Cameron lost his position as prime minister last year by rashly calling the second referendum that Scotland has had to vote in in recent years, the message seems a little confused. However, I gather that the “Scottish Conservatives” have abandoned local policies in favour of opposing a second referendum on Scottish independence. If by that they admit that the election on June 8 of a majority of MPs in Scottish seats who back independence will be decisive, then I entirely agree that no further vote will be needed.

The “British Constitution” is notoriously said to be unwritten and, in practice, it seems to be made up on the hoof by Westminster politicians to suit themselves. So who can deny that, logically, my view is sound?
Robin MacCormick

IT’S Saturday evening and I’ve just watched the national news on BBC1. Mrs May’s election speech in Scotland not surprisingly led the coverage from London. It was then immediately followed by a clip from Mr Corbyn’s remarks in England, and then we got views from both the LibDems and Ukip.

Not a single mention was made of the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon’s speech today. The position of the third-largest party in the UK Parliament was totally ignored. If this was an unwitting omission, it was deplorable; if it was deliberate, it constitutes outrageous bias.

Richard Allison Edinburgh THE latest economic figures showing a downturn in growth have been received with mixed comments. The Chancellor appears upbeat, despite the downward trend since January. Yet, even many TV interviewers forget to put in the key response. The downturn is here and we are still in the single market and the customs union but not for long. When Brexit kicks in, the downward trend is likely to accelerate. So delusion continues.
John Edgar

THERESA May’s fondness for using soundbites and slogans that say nothing is the oldest trick in the political book. Strong, stable government and strong stable, leadership, repeated at every opportunity and in an almost iambic pentameter, works in the same way as hypnotism does.
Terry Keegans