IT was clear that for many people those local elections were voted on the constitutional question. The “Tory surge” was simply brought about by the hollow promise of “sending a message” to the SNP and “saying no to another divisive referendum”.

In their attempts to derail a referendum, which already has a mandate and was voted through Holyrood, they have voted for the most right-wing Conservative Party we have seen in a generation. The most important point about the Tories’ marketing ploy during the local elections is that councils have absolutely no authority when it comes to a constitutional referendum; even Holyrood must seek a Section 30 order to hold one.

Can you believe that Unionist-supporting traditional Labour voters are voting for the Tories? I mean talk about cutting your nose of tae spite your face. This makes it pretty clear that any type of election will be voted on the Yes/No divide regardless of how right-wing the policies may be. Scottish Politics will not develop until after another referendum; regardless of the outcome. The responsibility is on us to push Conservatives we have representing us, including newly elected councillors or any regional MSPs. Some of you may live in a very unfortunate situation and be represented by David Mundell or another constituency Conservative MSP – get the pen and paper handy and get expressing your opinion.

I intend to send a letter to my newly elected Conservative and Unionist councillor to ask, in detail, what his plans are to send a message to the SNP and what levers he and his colleagues will use to prevent another independence referendum. I would encourage everyone to do the same. The increase of the Tory vote, albeit not a ground-breaking success, was won on the back of a lie and those elected politicians must be held to account. The attitude of the Tory Party towards the electorate shows complete lack of respect and the calling of the General Election was entirely in their self-interest. The overt lies and attack mentality was successful in the Leave campaign and it seems, merged with British nationalism, is all the Scottish Conservatives have to offer. Today I saw a tweet from the Scottish Conservatives launching their General Election campaign with stopping ScotRef at the heart; not a mention of policy or differentiation from the UK party.

This is a party that has capped welfare for working families, introduced a rape clause, that continues to dismantle protections for workers’ rights, slashes benefits for the vulnerable and disabled, that pushes the NHS and social care to breaking point, that picks fights with EU presidents and cannot face a leaders’ debate at the fear of being scrutinised in an unscripted press conference scenario. The feeble and erratic leadership of Theresa May is one of the most unstable we have ever seen but this is particularly concerning when she is negotiating with EU leaders. These hollow and distracting soundbites need to be challenged and constituents actively attending hustings and highlighting these controversial policies will expose them for what they are. The Scottish Tories always try to distance themselves from the party at Westminster to make them more palatable to the voters in Scotland; aided by the distraction on opposing another referendum.

Whichever party you support, get out there and become an active member and really contribute to your local branch’s campaign. There are activities to suit everyone and generally accessible times, get out there and get active. I know politics has been a long slog in recent years but this is the last big push for the next four years and the most important election. Collectively we can all make a difference.
Brian Finlay


Indy is the only way to ensure we deliver skills of tomorrow

IN the 1970s, the LibDems, along with the mainstream media, railed against the pressing tide of the “electronic office” which they said would decimate jobs. Today, nearly 50 years later, we hear the same warning cry (Robot revolution, The National, May 8).

I pointed out then, as I point out to all politicians today, that nobody was crying for the death of the enormous horse-related industry that was virtually killed off by the motor car. No, those with foresight (and so rarely are they politicians) concentrated on training the skills necessary to design and build motor cars for tomorrow, not yesterday.

They weren’t very good at it and the management was a continuation of the class system, so in time it declined. Good workforce, bad management. No lessons were learnt. The e-office came and jobs were lost. Why were we not the ones leading the world with dedicated computer and software supply and design?

It’s happening again but our politicians live in preparation for the next General Election and give no thought to the requirements of the people over the next 20 years. There is no forward planning; there is no forward thinking. A five-year plan cannot get you prepared for a shortage of nurses, doctors, teachers, engineers, or indeed anything needed to run a country properly except the next General Election.

Why aren’t Scots leading the world in robotics? Well, the truth is, they probably are but not here in Scotland. Scots engineers are spread out across the globe. We have not had a government with foresight since 1945 and we will not get one unless we achieve independence.
Christopher Bruce

VONNY Moyes’ article (AI brothels are the latest example of eroticisation of power, The National, May 8) was a thought-provoking read. However, could the same logic not be applied to the bewildering variety of sex toys available, not just to women, in high street stores?

Looking at this from a male point of view, this allows the selection of the perfect function, speed and dimension of the appliance all without the cumbersome attachment of a male body. Other benefits are texture, colour selection and absence of entanglement with body hair, not to mention absence of the voice. Appliances can be stored discreetly in a drawer or even handbag for when the need arises, all without the fuss of a male partner!

Vonny is right to highlight the issues she raised, but the commercialisation of sex and eroticism applies to women’s gratification as well as to men’s.
WJ Graham
East Kilbride

IN her article (The problem with Catholic schools, The National, May 9), Cat Boyd makes reference to the days when Scottish banks, newspapers and industries barred Catholics from jobs. I agree with her that this religious-based ban was totally wrong.

Is she aware that there is a similar ban operating in our schools today? Only this time against non-Catholic teachers who apply for certain promoted posts in denominational schools. When I was applying for promoted posts in biology and also in guidance (now referred to as pastoral support) I could not apply for these posts in denominational schools as I could not support my application with a letter from my local priest – I am not a Catholic. The bar did not operate in the other direction and indeed I have worked with many Catholic teachers in non-denominational schools in promoted posts in biology, science, guidance and senior management posts. Surely Cat Boyd would agree that this religious-based ban preventing non-Catholic teachers from the opportunities to apply for certain promoted posts in denominational schools is equally wrong?

Since I started my teaching career in 1979 I have wished for schools in Scotland to be integrated. Schools should educate children about different religions and encourage tolerance. What better way to do this than integrated schools, learning from one another?

I do hope that there may be opportunities to consider this religious divide in our schools and have considered debate. For the record, I do not support extremist views nor the Orange Order. However, perhaps their views on the religious-based segregation within our schools are worth debating.
Gwendoline Highet