I THINK I have heard Theresa May claim to offer , “firm, stable leadership in the national interest or “coalition of chaos”, perhaps 35 times since she announced the snap General Election.

If her assertion is true, then she must consider the electorate to be inordinately stupid by deciding to repeat it ad nauseam. If her assertion is untrue, then it is crass propaganda.

So let’s have a closer look. Wishing to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of Article 30 until forced by the courts, is not “firm leadership”. Firm leadership would not require a General Election, as her working majority has come under no threat in the aftermath of the referendum result of June 2016. Firm leadership would welcome the opportunity to discuss political issues in a televised debate with leaders of other political parties.

As for “stable leadership”. To state explicitly and publicly, six or seven times since the referendum, that the Fixed Term Parliament Act would not be rescinded, then to do a complete U-turn after a walk in the Welsh mountains, is not stable leadership. Presumably, as a senior Cabinet minister, May approved of her own Government’s decision to pass the legislation! How stable has her leadership caused the United Kingdom to become? Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England are less stable, politically and constitutionally, under her leadership in Westminster than ever before.

Regarding “in the national interest”, does anyone, apart from May herself, believe that the unnecessary election is for the good of the United Kingdom, rather than the good of the Conservative Party and her self-aggrandisement? I would imagine that it is a matter of supreme indifference to the EU negotiators whether May has a majority of 12 or a majority of 100. It will have no effect on their arguments.

May tells us in Scotland that now is not the time for a referendum (conflating now with autumn 2018 or spring 2019), since we do not know the results of Brexit negotiations, yet she foists an election on us when such negotiations have not yet begun. A vote (referendum and General Election) would be much more informed in 2018 or 2019 than it is in June 2017. Yet May portrays this snap election as in the national interest. What hypocrisy!

“Coalition of chaos”. Nice alliteration by Tory Central Office perhaps, otherwise only an unspoken fear that a possible grouping of social democrat, progressive parties (Labour, SNP and LibDems) could thwart her plans to deal with such “saboteurs” and “separatists” (May’s words, not mine).

But, in this post-truth political world, May’s mantra might be electorally successful in England. We in Scotland must reject May’s view of herself and her party.

John P Nolan


SADLY it looks like we’ll have to endure weeks of May twittering on about stable and strong leadership.

Does she mean the same sort of stable and strong leadership that saw her sitting on her hands as Home Secretary during the 2011 street riots throughout England?

As I recollect, Cameron and Johnson both had to cut short their holidays and hotfoot it back to London.

Only after a contingent of Scottish Police were dispatched to Manchester was the situation brought under control.

The electorate should bear this very much in mind when seeking a safe pair of hands and a mouth capable of more than parroting a party slogan.

Joseph G Miller


THAT was another good article by Henry McLeish on how to stop the rot in the Labour Party (How do you solve a problem like Scottish Labour, The National, May 10).

There is no doubt that most of the 700,000 Scots who voted for Labour in the last General Election are decent people who have a lot to offer in Scotland, and who carry the heritage of the labour movement.

Many of us, with strong roots in that labour movement, even if we left the Labour Party years ago because of the swing to right-wing Blairism, still feel pain when we see it dragged further into disrepute by the present poor leadership.

This great party, which provided the greatest government Britain ever had in the form of the Attlee administration, is now in a sorry state.

No doubt there will be an enquiry after the General Election to put matters right. Sadly, since the current leadership seem to have learned nothing and are continuing to steer for the rocks full steam ahead, encouraged in their foolishness by the Tories and their media, this will be too late to stop further damage. Perhaps many normal Labour supporters will see sense and vote SNP to stop the Tories from gaining any seats in Scotland.

Labour supporters, even if they are too late to save any Labour seats in Scotland, can still lend their votes to the SNP to ensure that the Tories are driven out of the country at this election. Then they can sort out the Labour Party to play its proper role in Scotland.

Andy Anderson


HENRY McLeish, it’s not about Labour “breaking free from the past”, it’s about reconnecting with the past. Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald – the first Labour prime minister – were strong advocates of home rule. The fact is the SNP identify more with Keir Hardie’s vision than the Scottish Labour Party. Hence the results in polls and elections.

Robin Maclean
Fort Augustus


Better SNP candidate needed to oust Mundell

ONE cannot but admire the principled stand of the Scottish Green Party with respect to the forthcoming elections. It is to the shame of the SNP that they have failed to match it.

Here in the last bastion of Toryism, Dumfries, what wouldn’t we beleaguered supporters of independence give for the chance to campaign for a Green big-hitter such as Andy Wightman? 

Instead the SNP, with a free run to unseat the Scottish Secretary, have announced a candidate to the resounding response of “Who?”

This is hot on the heels of local elections where the SNP candidate didn’t even campaign. It seems that the SNP would rather be the only indy party in town, rather than work with other progressive elements to achieve the goal of independence. 

Supporters of independence outside the SNP have patiently given the SNP their time. That patience is becoming exhausted.
Ian Richmond
Dumfries and Galloway