AS one of the 55 per cent, may I explain to Mark Breingan (Letters, May 13) where I was at the independence referendum and why I will still be one of the 55 per cent for indyref2?

His analogy is apposite.

People are generally more comfortable with their condition than dealing with change.

It takes powerful argument to encourage the shift.

For me, large parts of the argument – like currency, economic prospects, constitutional matters etc – seemed ill-considered, not properly through.

It was almost as if the objections made only became apparent when they were raised in the campaign, resulting in hasty and incomplete responses unconvincing to voters.

In short, this handed the impetus to a Better Together campaign feeding on disjointed argument, invariably disliked by swing voters.

At the time I was well aware of the potential for Tory rule in Westminster, but was able to set this aside in the belief that membership of the EU would act as a political brake on the worst excesses of Tory policies.

I was wrong on two counts.

First, Westminster has assaulted us anyway with policies like the bedroom tax, extension of state pension entitlement dates, and myriad cuts to budget that are causing hardship to Scots; and forcing the Scottish Government to ameliorate them by diverting crucial funds from key public services like NHS, education, councils, police etc.

Second, promises of remaining within the EU have proven to be a falsehood.

Brexit, hard or soft, consented to by only one third of the electorate, will allow repatriation of the powers over workers’ rights that will enable perpetual Tory Government to reshape those rights in the interest of capital, at the expense of workers.

Abolition of the Human Rights Act, and potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights which Britain was a signatory to, long mooted by extreme right forces in the Tory Party, will leave workers stripped of the basic tenets of decent employment and citizens’ rights.

The political brake afforded by EU protection will disappear.

Now therefore, I am junking my arthritic cartilage as in Mark’s example; I am working to be part of the 55 per cent, or more, again.

I apologise to fellow Scots for my fundamental error of judgment last time and fervently hope that this time the majority of Scots will vote for Scotland to build its own future, untrammelled by the political excesses of Westminster – better apart, as equals.

Having seen with the Brexit referendum how complex issues are unsuited for the majority of the electorate to properly and fully evaluate, indyref2 becomes much more simple for me.

I will be looking at the prospect of what I know perpetual Tory Government will assuredly do to we Scots and make my decision solely based on the simple issue of self-determination; for Scots to build the best future for our children to make their way in the globalised world as equals. Once this simple decision is taken I am satisfied to place my trust in the professional and democratically accountable politicians in Holyrood to make the best decisions in the interest of we Scots regarding all the complex salient issues barely possible to fully explain to the electorate with all the “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed.

For Scotland. For Scots.

Jim Taylor


Interests of Scottish fishermen will not be a UK priority

THERE is a whein stushie at the moment anent Scottish fishing (SNP demand six answers on  Tory fisheries plans, The National, May 13). I have been away from fisheries for a good number of years now but have retained my interest. I served as a sea fisheries officer with what was originally the Scottish Agriculture & Fish Department which then morphed into the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. i served at sea from second officer to commander and thence to command of a desk as marine superintendent.

Over the 33 years I spent as a government officer my function was to assist in the policing and regulation of Scottish fisheries. I saw the London Government hand fisheries over to the then Common Market on a plate and I saw the serious effect it had on our inshore and mid water fishing. The deal was done in the interest of Britain as a whole. Where do 85 per cent of the British live? Not North of Tweed nor West of Shrewsbury. In the coming negotiations with the EU, whose interests will be paramount? Certainly not those of the good folk of Buckie, Fraserborough and Peterhead.

Fishing is now very largely under the aegis of the North Atlantic Fisheries Commission, to which the EU among others is a signatory. It is unthinkable that a British Government would opt out.

A further subject for our fishermen to ponder is what happens to our exports of fish to the EU if we leave with no deal. There would be very high tariffs on our exports unless the UK strikes a deal, and that leaves fishing very much in the firing line despite some fine words from the London Government and its local representatives.  I believe the interests of Scottish fishermen would be best served by  a Scottish Government with a  very direct interest in what is to Scotland an important industry  but what is to London a very  minor one. Scottish waters incorporate about 25 per cent  of the EU fish pond – a good  bargaining chip for Scotland and  one about which a Scottish Government could take a strong  but not unreasonable line.

Captain R Mill Irving

‘TORIES can’t be trusted with fishing” (The National, May 13). Can they be trusted with any of our Scottish Industries? We need clarity from the business, energy and industrial strategy minister: what are their plans for Scottish industry and trade? Can we have at least a draft? Probably not. So there needs to be SNP representatives at the next Westminster meeting of the industrial strategy committee.


THANK you for that very effective article quoting Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian, about ME patients being ghosts on the public stage (Singer’s call for action over ME, The National, May 13).

I’d like to reassure readers that in our homes, we are very much flesh and blood. We struggle for hours each day to take that daily shower and prepare that daily meal, before returning to bed.

When you go to your GP for help, the last thing you need is to be treated for a depression which you don’t have. For years the UK medical establishment was successfully lobbied by those hoping to prove that ME had a psychological origin, ie  that the disease was all in the mind. Biomedical research in the UK was starved of money.  These ideas are still prevalent amongst medical professionals today and research being sponsored by Norway and in California and Australia is being ignored. This research suggests that ME is an autoimmune disease, the antibodies preventing the conversion of carbohydrate and sugar to energy. The body then reacts as if it were in starvation mode and uses proteins and fats as an alternative source of fuel. The only problem is that this method of metabolism is very inefficient. Thus we have chronic fatigue, muscles that function only for short periods, immune problems, memory problems, which cause a range of  disabilities and we struggle to do anything more than the basics in life.

So it would be useful if we could use this science to treat ME sufferers appropriately and move towards some mitigation of the symptoms and ultimately a cure. Ignorance is never an option.

Pat Mackenzie
East Kilbride