I WAS most astonished at Michael Fry’s insistence that our First Minister must shift to the right in order to win over Scots in rural areas (The National, May 9).

It is in the nature of things that any nationalist movement must be a broadchurch organisation but any party that tries to be all things to all people is doomed to failure.

The fact of the matter is that Brexit will result in loss of trade, loss of employment, loss of income, loss of tax revenues and, of course, loss of financing from the various EU sources. There is no way a Tory government will have the ability to maintain or replace those essential grants and subsidies to farmers and their communities.

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It is so obvious that if our rural communities want to survive, they have no option but to vote for the SNP in order to elect a party which will give Scotland independence and thereby ensure our membership of the EU.

In other words it is for the rural community to draw the right conclusions and change their ways, as this is not the responsibility of the First Minister.
Hugh McLean
Newton Mearns

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May's 'industrial strategy' soundbite is just her latest empty slogan

TO paraphrase Herman Goering speaking about culture, when I hear the words “industrial strategy” I want to reach for my revolver.

Now Mrs May, of all people, says the Tories will create an industrial strategy, by which she means that the UK Government will in some undefined way identify those industries and companies worthy of government support.

The idea that politicians and civil servants can “pick winners” is of course a very old fallacy, though it is particularly curious coming from a right-wing government. The history of British economic management is actually littered with failed schemes of this kind, but mostly they have stemmed from a succession of Labour Party debacles.

To be fair, the Tories have also played a part in Britain’s long history of economic decline, notably during the Thatcher era. Companies like ICI, GEC, British Leyland and Rover, and ICL all vanished, marking the end of entire industries such as chemicals, machine tools and engineering, car manufacturing and computer products, while government mismanagement also helped to destroy shipbuilding.

In the much favoured financial services sector, British failure has been just as marked. Since the so-called Big Bang deregulation of 1986, a host of major firms, such as Morgan Grenfell, Barings Bank, Schroeders, Warburgs, Wood Mackenzie, Kleinwort Benson and Hambros, have been taken over or simply vanished. This was in spite of enthusiastic government support, including a strong pound policy which incidentally helped to kill off British manufacturing and exports.

So there is nothing in the record of British Government that would give me the slightest confidence in Mrs May’s competence to design an industrial strategy, were such a thing desirable or even possible. It is another empty slogan, intended to conceal the void that lies beneath her facade of “strong leadership”.
Peter Craigie
Edinburgh

IN February Theresa May and Ruth Davidson urged Scottish voters to vote Conservative in the council elections and send a message to Nicola Sturgeon.

The SNP however still won the council elections, with more votes and more seats, improving on the last council elections held in 2012. It finished as comfortably the largest party, returning 431 councillors, despite the Conservatives making gains to finish on 276 and Labour on 262 councillors.

The SNP is the largest party in the four main cities, replacing Labour as the largest party in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and maintaining its position as the largest party in Dundee, and is now the largest party in 16 council areas – up from 10 – and joint largest in a further three councils.

Despite the Tory strategy of making the council election a referendum on a referendum, while they have done extremely well, they did not win and are indeed well behind the SNP.

The General Election is being fought by the Tories using this same strategy. However, it is anticipated the SNP will still finish as the largest party in Scotland, both in terms of votes and will have more than half the MPs. If this transpires to be the case one hopes May will do the honourable thing and make arrangements for the holding of the referendum.
Alex Orr
Edinburgh

CAN I assure David McEwan Hill (Letters, The National, May 9), whom I have known fir over 30 years, that I have have no intention of turning against independence. Quite the opposite, as my concern is that via the SNP leadership placing caveats on the constitutional status of an independent Scotland it will fatally reduce the independence vote.

I have never believed that the SNP should be all things to all people, but a comprehensive debate amongst the broad Yes movement, including the SNP, on Scotland’s future geo-political options is vital, because the pro-EU status quo does not appeal to many long-term SNP voters.
Councillor Andy Doig
Renfrewshire Council

EMMANUEL Macron has vowed to “defend France and Europe” and not allow an easy Brexit since other EU countries may be so encouraged.

EU lawyers admit that Jean-Claude Juncker’s threat to enforce a £85 billion Brexit bill and force the UK to continue subsidising EU farmers long after we leave is legally unenforceable.

May has put up with the personal insults and the threats of a “hard Brexit” so she should now just walk away and immediately stop our £23 million a day payments to the EU.

Trade sanctions? I think not, the EU exports more to the UK – think Mercedes and BMW and French wine – than the reverse.
Clark Cross
Linlithgow

WHY should anyone vote for a party led by a PM who is the supreme opportunist – leaping from the Remain campaign to champion Brexit, switching overnight from “no need for an election” to a General Election, who will not take part in discussions, who avoids meeting people unless under strictly controlled conditions and talks only in soundbites?

Scotland’s own opportunist, Ruth Davidson is championing the cause in Scotland, where, lacking any semblance of policy acceptable to the voters nationally, the Tories are simply rushing in to target a dozen SNP MP seats in the hope that some disaffected farmers and fishermen will return a few rubber-stamp Tory MPs to Westminster.
Maggie Jamieson
South Queensferry