DESPITE the very warm feeling I hold towards our neighbours in Ireland, I could not resist a smile when I read the assessment of the chief economist of the Bank of Ireland as to the effect of a hard UK Brexit on his country.

He calculates with remarkable precision that it will impact unfavourably to the extent of 40,000 lost jobs and a loss of GDP of three per cent in 10 years’ time.

Such accuracy from an economist is extraordinary, given that profession’s total failure to anticipate the 2008 banking collapse and the biggest recession in 80 years, or indeed subsequently to explain it or to suggest how a similar event might be avoided in the future.

The truth is that, given the defective methodology of neoclassical economic theory that currently dominates central bank, political and civil service thinking, there is not the slightest chance of governments predicting economic performance in one year, let alone 10 years hence.

I only hope that the Irish Government does not make the mistake of the British Government and start believing its own propaganda.
Peter Craigie


ScotRef moves badly damaged SNP’s prospects

THE warning in The National’s editorial to the SNP leadership regarding the Tory surge at the council elections is very pertinent, and should indeed compel them to address key concerns regarding strategy and tactics (Victory for SNP, but with a warning that must bee heeded by its leaders, The National, May 6).

Firstly, the SNP grossly overestimate the affection with which most Scots hold the EU, as most Scots are Eurorealist rather than Europhiliac, which in practice means they value its commercial benefits but are still cautious about its relentless drive for political integration.

This matters because to predicate a second independence referendum on the basis of EU membership will not unite the Yes movement, quite the opposite. It could split the Yes movement asunder due to the 30 per cent of Yes voters who voted to leave the EU.

The timing of the announcement by the SNP of beginning the legal processes to hold a second independence referendum was extremely damaging during the local election campaign, and only had the effect of solidifying and strengthening the Tory vote in every council area across Scotland – hardly good tactical sense.

Is it wise to be wholly diverted into making the case for a second referendum when it is the principle and benefits of independence which should be sold?

On this, the SNP leadership are failing significantly. For example, on currency they hold tight to the failed orthodoxy of 2014 and should be having a major internal debate on this, and issues such as defence and pensions, to ensure the case is watertight.
Councillor Andy Doig
Renfrewshire Council

AS expected, the Unionist media and the Scottish Tories have outdone themselves in their reaction to a bad night for Scottish Labour in the council elections – it’s a disaster for the SNP !

The European hyperbole mountain has been severely diminished as hyperventilating Tory spokesmen masquerading as neutral commentators have read the runes and decided that finishing as largest party in every major city means that the SNP is in its death throes.

Having made independence her one and only “policy” for the local elections, Ruth Davidson, overcome by the emotion that she fails to show when faced with people facing benefit cuts, women exposed to the rape clause and “foreigners” being forced out of Scotland by the Home Office, has declared that this result has “sunk” a second independence referendum.

She made this election a proxy referendum on independence and accrued 276 seats to the SNP’s 431. Only in Theresa May’s galaxy does this represent a victory for her case.
James Mills

FOLLOWING the results of the local elections, I wonder if I am alone in wondering what magic arithmetical formula the Unionist press are currently adhering to whereby coming second can be clearly be interpreted as being the overall winner?

Judging by the gleeful and triumphant headlines, readers could be forgiven for thinking that Ruth Davidson and her Tories had trounced the SNP. Talk about smoke and mirrors? Somebody somewhere is badly in need of a reality check!
Bruce Maclachlan
Gavinton, Duns

WELL done the BBC for showing the SNP as losing seats as opposed to gaining them by introducing “notional results” instead of using the actual results.

I look forward to this being used elsewhere. Some of the Unionist community are no doubt unhappy about Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run, so could we not introduce a couple of notional results where the Hoops were not only beaten but hammered?

Were this notional counting system applied Biblically the BBC would be reporting the 11 disciples, the four foolish virgins and the two wise men.
Bruce Naughton

ON first reading Barry Stewart’s reference to EBC4 in Friday’s issue, I assumed your proof reader had overlooked a misprint.

It was only on a second reading that his meaning became clear and realised this was definitely not a typo.

Might I suggest that we now follow this up when referring to the election on June 8 as the General Election of the Untied Kingdom?
Brian Patton Foulden,

FOR many rainbow Tories, and not without help from the national and local press, all their worst nightmares have come true. It’s put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is time! For the rest of us, though, it’s great news: council tax and business rates slashed; previously empty city centre shops full of attractive stuff that can’t be bought online; pot holes repaired at a stroke; no more traffic pollution; no more parking restrictions; bins emptied every week; streets swept daily. Dream on.
Jim Clark

IF those who voted Tory on Thursday should find themselves in the unfortunate position of being on the wrong end of an unjust decision by the DWP in the near future, they should go to their newly elected Tory councillor, as they are sure to receive a sympathetic hearing.
Stuart Manson
via text