SOMETHING that concerns me, and which has yet (to my knowledge) to be covered by the mainstream media, is the process by which Ruth Davidson was appointed Honorary Colonel of 32 Signal Regiment of the Army Reserve.

It is true that the armed services act on the instructions of the government of the day, but it is not the British tradition that they are the creatures and instruments of the political party in power. Even Hitler’s generals resisted that role.

Who instigated and approved Davidson’s appointment? What was the justification given for placing an active, prominent and controversial politician as the figurehead of a military organisation?

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What message is the operational commander of that unit meant to receive?

Given the sensitivity of the role of communications in national security and control, the appointment seems to be a sinister straw in the wind.

Scott Allan
Haddington

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Prime Minister’s words smack of intimidation

THERESA May was accused of insulting half of the Scottish electorate when she said during her weekend visit: “We want to ensure that we build a more secure and united nation. That means taking action against the extremists who would divide us and standing up against the separatists who want to break up our country.”

But surely what is more concerning is the implied threat in her words. We know to whom she refers as “separatists” but who exactly are the “extremists” she talks about, and what does she mean by “taking action”? Is this not somewhat heavy-handed and intimidating? We do still live in a democracy don’t we?

Patsy Millar
Helensburgh

THE definition of extremist is “a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action”. So let’s look at two scenarios and see which one best fits the description.

1. A political party whose leader was elected in a fair and democratic election. This party’s aims have been clearly and carefully explained to the electorate.They have never tried to achieve these aims in any underhand way. This party have behaved in a civilised, respectful way towards opposing parties.They have treated the electorate with respect and have kept their manifesto promises.

2. A second political party whose leader was not elected in a fair and democratic manner but rather placed in a position of power by a closed and secretive cabal. This party’s aims have not been clearly or honestly explained to the electorate. This party have clearly defined aims that are kept secret from the electorate, and from the majority of the party members. They have tried to achieve their aims in any way necessary to achieve their goal. Nothing but disdain and outright hostility has been shown to anyone who dares to oppose their aims, and they will use any means, including the media and alt-truth, to wreck the person or group opposing. This party have not treated the electorate with respect, have U-turned on several election manifesto promises, have carried out a cruel and vicious campaign against those least able to defend themselves, and incite racism and xenophobia with their dissemination of  fake facts and information.

So tell me, Theresa May, which of these parties deserves the label “extremist”? Yes, that’s right, yours. So please don’t have the gall to come to my country and label as extremist the party I voted for – and by extension me – and which I believe is doing its utmost for its citizens. Please do us all a favour and stay down south in Little Engerland where your style of gutter politics is deemed acceptable.

Ade Hegney
Helensburgh  

THE Panelbase poll published at the weekend (Poll finds 51 per cent of Scots want indy, The National, May 1) reveals that 51 per cent of those surveyed favour Scotland’s independence while 48 per cent favour Scotland remaining in the UK. Furthermore, the poll indicates the figure of 51 per cent is comprised of 41 per cent who wish to see an independent Scotland inside the EU, and 10 per cent who wish Scotland to be independent but outside of the EU. What is notable by its absence is that the poll does not present a breakdown of the 48 per cent, but perhaps we can presume, based on our most recent referendum, that around 21 per cent want Scotland to be in the EU while around 27 per cent want Scotland to remain in the UK but outside of the EU.

This suggests that the pro-Union vote is significantly split and that there is apparently much less agreement on Scotland’s trading destiny than among those supporting self-determination.

Further analysis will likely be even more interesting when the details of Brexit and the “economic catastrophe” that awaits us, as predicted by Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie, are known. In the meantime, these same political leaders wish us to dutifully accept a different future direction for our country, dictated currently by only around 27 per cent of the Scottish electorate, a figure that is likely to reduce, perhaps appreciably, as the actual terms of Brexit become evident.

Is this what was meant as being Better Together? Is this why the Prime Minister appears to be running scared of any serious debate? Is this the future of Scottish democracy within the UK?   

Stan Grodynski Longniddry
East Lothian

THOSE in power have unleashed the big guns of their media to target Scottish seats at the General Election and spread ridicule, apathy, fear and confusion among the population. With the Green Party excluded even from an STV leaders’ debate and the BBC riding shotgun for the anti-EU, pro-Union parties, it feels frighteningly far from the reasoned debates and positive passions of 2014.

I was reminded of the importance of challenging the powerful and their messages by one of our great critics and writers, John Berger, who said: “Both military and economic strategists now realise that the media play a crucial role, not so much in defeating the current enemy as in foreclosing and preventing mutiny, protests and desertion. Any tyranny’s manipulation of the media is an index of its desperation.”

But Berger continued: “For us to live and die properly, things have to be named properly. Let us reclaim our words.” Or as the author and TED speaker Seth Godin remarked in The Icarus Deception: “Propaganda is what someone in power would like you to be.”

​Iain Davidson ​
Perthshire