IT is not often that a political party continues to win elections after 10 years in government. In fact, it is almost unheard of. Yet that is exactly what happened last week as the SNP swept across the country, becoming the largest party in 19 of 32 councils and increasing the total number of SNP councillors.

The people of Scotland have had 10 years to observe what we are capable of in the SNP and they have decided once again that they like what they see.

The SNP won 431 seats to the Tories’ 276 (almost all of which came from hardline Unionists abandoning Labour) and have become the largest party in the four biggest cities in Scotland.

Glasgow, which has been voting for Labour for 80 years, saw the fate of the that party sealed. A humiliating collapse of their vote to the Tories and loss of the council to the SNP have consigned Labour in Scotland, and their horrendous mismanagement, to the history books – where they belong.

Now the city of Glasgow, like most councils in Scotland, will have a tremendous team of SNP councillors fighting to empower local communities and build the self-belief and trust that will help lead us towards independence for Scotland. We have made history once again.

As always, though, there is another election round the corner and some of the results in the council election show that we cannot afford to be complacent.

With the self-inflicted demise of Labour, the race is now between the SNP and the Tories. It is a straight fight between a progressive, optimistic and internationalist SNP who will stand up for Scotland, or the regressive, fearful and insular Tories who will dance to whatever tune Theresa May plays.

It is a choice of baby boxes or rape clauses. A choice of hope for a better future or the brutality of more austerity for our poorest and most vulnerable.

The upcoming General Election will have a huge impact on how protected the people of Scotland are against the Tories' austerity and how well placed we are to win another referendum when it comes.

Let’s make sure we grab this opportunity with both hands. Let’s get out there and make history again.
Alex Kerr
SNP Youth Glasgow Convener

WE live in interesting, if not confusing, times. The “surge” of Labour voters to the Tories in the council elections, seemingly to voice their discontent at the prospect of another independence referendum, is, according to Ruth Davidson, to be encouraged during the General Election campaign.

Who in Scotland who lived through the Thatcher years could have envisaged Labour voters ever contemplating, never mind doing, such a thing? Genuine Labour voters may be disillusioned with the current state of their party, and with Kezia Dugdale and Anas Sarwar leading the Scottish branch, who can blame them. However, caveat emptor!

Supporting the Tories is not a painless exercise. Putting an X on your ballot paper against the Tory candidate has far reaching repercussions.Voting Tory simply to stop a referendum is ignoring the small print in the contract you are signing: more cuts like the two-child benefit limit; more motability vehicles taken from disabled people; poorer pensions but rises in National Insurance; more tax increases for ordinary people and more tax relief for the rich; removal of health and safety protection in the workplace; return of prescription charges return (£9 an item?); student fees (£9000?); the privatisation of the NHS; and the first moves to end devolved government in Scotland.

And when you protest that you don’t want these things, Ruth and Theresa will say “But you voted for them by voting Conservative”.
James Mills


Only one way to top Celtic's heroics in Lisbon

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed reading Martin Hannan’s article (Heroes of ’67 remind us of all we’ve lost, The National, May 9). As a part of my local team’s Football for Life project, our football memories programme has been in overdrive.

There have been, and will be, many celebrations of the greatest victory of all – in Lisbon when Celtic, at the first time, of asking became the first British and first non-Latin team to win the European Cup. The remarkable European exploits of Rangers, Kilmarnock and Dundee United were also correctly applauded as outstanding achievements.

However, there were other heroic and occasionally sad tales during that year. Clyde FC were only defeated in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup by the mighty Celtic after a replay and they also came third in the league. However they were deprived of going into Europe for the first time by the Fairs Cup’s one-city-one-team rule.

On the sad side, Ayr United were relegated from the First Division a year after being promoted, and one of Scottish football’s greatest losses was the liquidation of Third Lanark – the once mighty Hi-Hi’s.

And then we had Baxter’s Wembley when Scotland became the unofficial world champions after thrashing the auld enemy 3-2, with goals from Law, Lennox and McCalliog.

As Martin stated on this golden anniversary, we should remember and celebrate ’67 and look to devise a new Scottish game to allow football in Scotland to prosper again.

However, there is only one year which can surpass the triumphs of 1967 and that will be the year Scotland achieves it final match-winning goal – the Year of Independence. Saor Alba.
Gordon Ferrie

IN his acidic letter, commenting on Vonny Moyes's article (A.I. brothels are the latest example of eroticisation of power, The National, May 8), WJ Graham hits on, if you’ll forgive the slight pun, the nub of the issue: “all without the fuss of a male partner”.

Precisely. All without the fuss of exploiting a woman who may well have been trafficked, or sexually abused as a child, therefore believes she deserves no better; or a woman who has been pimped by a man who swore to love her till hell froze; or a vulnerable young girl, preyed on by criminal gangs; or a woman driven on to the streets by poverty, in order to feed her children, or her addiction.

Mr Graham, there is nothing erotic about brothels, or prostitution. They are places where bodies are bought and paid for, and, therefore, the goods can be used and abused, being mere commodities, or vessels, for the gratification of weird and bizarre predilections.

In the grand scheme of things, I would suggest the items he describes are vastly preferable, in terms of lack of harm done to another human being, and, frankly, as described by him, performance. He manages to read like an advertising rep for “sex toys”, albeit a somewhat embittered one.
Morag Lennie

THE increasing level of illiteracy among Scottish school pupils is surely the fault of teachers (Letters, The National, May 11) and not that of politicians. Better teacher training is the answer. Parents should also take responsibility.

When I went to school aged five in 1946, I could already read thanks to my mother’s tuition, and was writing easily by the age of six, as were most of my classmates.

Individuals should take responsibility, instead of blaming the system or the state, neither of which has much to do with the problem.
Malcolm Parkin
Kinnesswood, Kinross

IN yesterday’s National, the letter from Amina Abu-Arafeh articulated well what I have always believed: that schools should never be run by any religious group. Well done to her for having the courage to explain it all so clearly, specifically with reference to Islam. The state should ensure this in law and by deed. Schools should, as part of their teaching of history, mention mankind’s religions as this is educational, but never push any religious agenda. I am pleased, Amina, that you have found escape here, even in our not-so-perfect society – regrettably we still have some religious bigotry and bias.
Robert Anderson
Dunning, Perthshire