A RESPONSIBLE political party articulates the policy it believes to be best for the country and the people in it regardless of the transient popularity of that position at any time.

The SNP believes that Scotland’s best future is served as a full member of the European Union and a significant majority of Scotland’s population – and a growing majority, I believe – agree with that position.

Vive the auld alliance, indeed, today.

Loading article content

We all know also that an independent Scotland would be able to make its own decision on membership or otherwise of the EU when we reach that independence.

Most supporters of independence that I know who voted to leave the EU concede this point and have no intention of turning against independence, so Andy Doig (Letters, The National, May 8) is in my opinion completely wrong. On the contrary, our opposition to Brexit is gaining us support and members we could never have imagined a couple of years ago.

And God help us if the SNP ever becomes like the Labour Party, wandering off lost into the desert trying to be all things to all men.

Dave McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rise of the robots must be viewed with optimism

THE recent Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) report on the impact of automation and robotics on employment in Scotland, reported in The National (Robot revolution set to wipe out 46% of jobs in a decade, The National, May 8), makes shocking reading. But I am very pleased that someone is at least drawing attention to how technology is revolutionising the whole concept of work in society.

Most of us have been brought up in a culture which largely defines individuals in terms of their employment, from which financial and social status as well as personal satisfaction has largely stemmed. Lack of success in the job market, for whatever reason, has long been regarded as a sign of failure.

In response, society has slowly evolved an evermore complex and expensive system of social benefits to try to mitigate the worst effects of such failure, be it short-term or long-term in nature. Fortunately the market economy has generated enough wealth to provide such benefits.

What the IPPR report is highlighting is the fact that as large businesses find it cheaper to use robots rather than people we are rapidly approaching the point at which there will be no paid work for humans to do. And robots don’t even need pensions!

At that stage those societies based on market economies will find it necessary to pay everyone an unconditional basic income. This is currently being tested in the Canadian province of Ontario on a four-year trial basis. Such a provision will leave individuals free to fulfil their lives as they see fit, without the need to find paid work.

Some may feel able to accept the risks of business entrepreneurship; some may opt for more education or do unpaid charitable or community work. Some may even retreat to an attic to write the great Scottish novel. The point is that life will no longer be defined by work. We can leave that to the robots!

The implications of such change for society are obviously immense and it is remarkable that our politicians seem oblivious to what is happening around them. You can be sure big business is not!

Peter Craigie
Edinburgh

WE have enjoyed and appreciated The National since its inception, with great articles, and letters from the previously unheard voices of those of us who believe in Scotland’s sovereignty.

So it was a joy to find the Bella Caledonia insert in Saturday’s edition, with Irvine Welsh exploring our future relationship with technology being only one of the thought-provoking articles included.

As a woman I was encouraged to see the excellent pieces by Sarah Glynn and Tilly Gifford, amongst others, showing that women’s voices can be heard too.

Moira Cochrane
Address Supplied

AS was wholly predictable, the Scottish branches of the Unionists and their pet propagandists in the Yoon media have gone into full Kellyanne Conway “alternative fact” mode following last week’s local council elections.

Accordingly, the extra eight seats and 100,000 first preference votes received by the SNP compared to 2012 is proof positive that the independence bubble has burst.

Forget the inconvenient fact that the SNP have nearly the same number of council seats as the Tories and Labour combined. Forget the fact that the SNP have unseated Labour as the ruling party in Glasgow after nearly half a century of dominance. Forget the fact that the SNP are the largest party in more than half of all councils and the four major cities in Scotland.

Don’t mention the 56 out of 59 Scottish MPs won at the last General Election and the dominance of Holyrood by independence-supporting MSPs. And especially ignore the fact that the last few opinion polls have shown a majority in Scotland now supporting independence.

Let’s see how things play out on June 8, and see whose bubble is burst when the actual facts are available.

John Murphy
West Lothian

IN 2012, the SNP won 425 seats, with 31 more than the second-place Labour. In 2017, it was 431 seats, with 105 more than the second-place Tories.

In 2012, the SNP were the largest party in Dundee. In 2017, the SNP were the largest party in Dundee, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Apart from The National, was this reflected in the media? Of course not!

Instead we were inundated with messages of Ruth’s emphatic Conservative victory, and told that if the SNP won 50 out of 59 seats at the General Election then this would be in fact a resounding defeat!

So let’s now battle against the “I’m alright Jack brigade”, the ongoing and increasing austerity programme, and the "if you can’t be right be wrong at the pitch of your voice!” ruthless (or useless) rhetoric, thus ensuring that June will bring on the end of May!

Robin Maclean
Croftfoot and Fort Augustus

AS always, Carolyn Leckie has totally delivered in her column (Let’s not fall for the spin surrounding this election, The National, May 8). But praise too for Selma Rahman’s brilliant letter (Letters, May 8).

Well done both, along with all the other amazing input from your numerous regular contributors. I feel a lot better today than I did yesterday, having filtered out the Unionist spin!

Ian Baillie
Alexandria