YOUR item about the Tory who told a sixth-form female student to “f*** off back to Scotland” reveals much more than just a lack of manners and common decency. It also illustrates the strangely confused thinking of the English about the British state and their position in it.

Because they sank their Englishness entirely in the great British imperial project of the 18th and 19th centuries, the English seem to find it impossible to deal rationally with the issue of national identity, their own not least. That imperial era is long gone and no longer forms part of the glue that used to hold the British state together. In its place it seems they have only confusion and anger.

Their confusion stems essentially from an inability to distinguish between English and British. But their anger is based on a deep-seated resentment that, by emphasising our own national identity, the Scots are in some way undermining theirs. Nothing of course could be further from the truth. For the sooner the English come to terms with reality the better for all of us. The Somerset Tory is not just a crude and vulgar boor. His crass comment also reflects the emotional confusion of many of his compatriots.
Peter Craigie


HOW fitting, and entirely in keeping with her character, that Ruth Davidson chooses a speech outside of Scotland to employ the “doublethink” strategy of attacking your opponents with the very slurs that characterise herself and her party (Davidson accused of ‘double-think’, The National, May 16). Indeed, she employs the full range of tactics lifted straight from George Orwell’s classic 1984 by inventing she and her party as the victims constantly under attack from “outsiders” and the staunch protectors of “the proles” and “freedom”.

This person has absolutely no shame and no sense of morality. She and her party have carried out a 10-year assault on the poor, the disabled, and the vulnerable under the guise of necessary austerity to “balance the books”. She and her party have ostracised immigrants and anyone not British by allowing a festering anti-immigration view to take hold in parts of the UK, all to deflect attention from the failure of their economic policies and the impact on vital public services. She and her party are the true “Orwellian forces” at work in Britain, rewriting history and victimising anyone who disagrees with their views, spouting lies, falsehoods and misinformation from the Westminster “Ministry of Truth”.

Unfortunately for her and her party there are still those of us, especially in Scotland, who know up from down and right from wrong and are not willing to succumb to being told that those concepts are meaningless and we must just accept whatever she says as “true”. Perhaps a more fitting allegory for Scots seeking independence from the UK would be found in the Star Wars franchise. We being the resistance seeking freedom from the Empire and its dark lord. I’m sure Theresa May has the right sort of hooded cape in her wardrobe and her “apprentice” Davidson would most definitely be at home leading a battalion of stormtroopers.
John Murphy
West Lothian

THERE is little doubt that Orwell was one of those people who regarded all forms of nationalism as being reactionary. The Tory leader should perhaps have a read of the late Stephen Maxwell’s classic essay, The Case for Left Wing Nationalism, before spouting her mouth off on a subject that she appears to have little idea about. She could also download the excellent recording of Ode to Joy sung by Paul Robeson to the lyric by Josephine Daskam Bacon (he also recorded it to Schiller’s excellent verses), and study the meaning of genuine nationalism.

Many socialists sadly seem to follow the line of Orwell in denouncing nationalism as a political concept; however, it should be pointed out that Marx and Engels offered their full support to Irish nationalism in its struggle against English imperialism, as did the radicals of Scotland and England of that period. Edinburgh-born James Connolly, an outstanding socialist thinker, chose to martyr himself in the cause of Irish nationalism, and his reply to a Jesuit priest’s attack on socialism in Labour, Nationality and Religion – a work as relevant today as when it was first published.
Norrie Paton
Address supplied

Ruth Davidson,

Your comments regarding peacekeeping and “the uniform” are not only inflammatory but are completely at odds to all the work that has been done over many years for peace in our country.

I remember clearly the Warrington bombing when the Parry family lost their three-year-old son. My son was the same age and it saddened me deeply to think of the family and what they were going through. Since then the Parrys took their grief and what must have been a whole range of emotions and turned their heartbreak into reconciliation.

These people are the real heroes. It is these people who make us safe by working for peace over many years despite their own suffering.

On the opposite side I saw your nasty, ugly comments spewed across the news. A big mouth full of hate and spite. And for what? Your vainglorious picture opportunity? You are a disgrace to the uniform you brazenly flout and it should be removed from you immediately. You represent nothing I can recognise as British, let alone Scottish. You are a disgrace and an embarrassment. I have no doubts you are a coward and a bully and your support of the rape clause simply confirms this.
Ian Greenhalgh

CLEARLY Ruth Davidson is feeling the pressure of being the most important politician in Scotland (according to the unbiased and faithful to the truth Unionist press) as she finds some of her Trump-style tweets coming back to tweak her.

Her recent tweet about Jeremy Corbyn “wanting the IRA to win” is a new low for her party, overflowing as it now seems with rogue tweeters from the the extreme right masquerading as normal councillors since the local election and abusing everyone in sight from Nicola Sturgeon to the Catholic Church.

Being charitable, her own tweet can be put down to either the pressures of fame or naivety on her part. One would hope that a politician whose burning ambition to be FM is second only to her dream of owning her own tank, would not be deliberately using the tragedy of Northern Ireland’s “troubles” as an election ploy to gain votes.

Rather than attack Jeremy Corbyn for his position on Northern Ireland, perhaps she should direct her energies to weeding out some of the detritus that has infiltrated her party recently.
James Mills