Engaging with officials who reject UN rulings

A PRIVATE settler organisation is planning “the most extensive expulsion scheme in recent years”, in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem. The settler group, Ateret Cohanim, claims to own about an acre of land in the densely populated neighbourhood near the al-Aqsa Mosque. The group has filed eviction claims against the 81 Palestinian families who live there.

The evictions represent 45 per cent of all Palestinians facing “dispossession on the basis of ethnicity” in East Jerusalem. Six buildings have already been taken over by the group, emptying them of Palestinians.

The organisation has been targeting Batan al-Hawa since 2001, using a variety of laws passed by Israel that give exclusive land rights to Jews.

In December, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem”.

The Israeli ambassador who visited Scotland recently supports Israeli disregard of the UN and international law.
B McKenna


What does Mrs May mean by ‘public consent’?​

ALMOST within minutes of Theresa May announcing that a new Scottish referendum would require “public consent”, people were asking what this meant. Especially as the referendum has been consented to by the Scottish Parliament, which is the official representative body of the Scottish public. My prediction is that Theresa May, with her usual clarity, will declare that “public consent is ... the consent of the public”.
David Patrick

THE National quotes the Prime Minister as stating that ScotRef needs public consent (May 19). Assuming that the “first past the post” electoral system which is used at Westminster is the most fair and most precise method of deciding what constitutes “public consent” it should be clear to her that the election of 56 independence supporting SNP MPs out of the 59 representing Scotland is such a consent.
Iain WD Forde

IT would appear from the Tory party manifesto for the coming General Election that Mrs May wants to turn the issue of a future referendum on Scottish independence into a UK-wide plebiscite. She might also feel that there is traction on this issue among English voters.

However, the Tory manifesto appears to imply that a majority of seats represents a mandate on the matter of a future indyref. If so, on the same basis it also signifies therefore that any majority of pro-indyref MPs in Scotland after the General Election can only strengthen the existing mandate at Holyrood for a referendum request.
Peter Gorrie

THE triple lock on pensions used to be taboo for politicians aiming to win elections (and referenda), and in the 2014 referendum pensioners were manipulated by scare stories about their pensions. May is now openly attacking the very thing on which many Scottish pensioners voted “No Thanks”, while simultaneously denying them the chance of voting to escape her malicious slap in the face!
Derek Ball

IT was aptly said of the French Bourbon monarchs that they forgot nothing and learned nothing. Listening to the rhetoric of Mrs May it seems her government suffers from the same defect. Her disdain for Scotland’s parliament is now plain to see and her apparent determination to renege on the devolution settlement whenever possible is deeply worrying for any believer in parliamentary democracy.

In fact, her statements bring to mind another aphorism, that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. For, remarkably, the British government seems to have completely forgotten the long and violent history of their attempts to dominate Ireland. The parallels with Scotland are apparent and the danger of attempting to turn back the constitutional clock should be obvious. It would be truly appalling if Scotland’s democratic progress towards independence were to be frustrated by Tory desire for ever more central control. Surely history must tell them the ghastly consequences of driving a desire for national self-determination into non-parliamentary action? I hope for all our sakes that they are listening.
Peter Craigie

WE were given an interesting and deeply worrying exercise in democracy by the Theresa May Party (aka the Tories) when she announced in her manifesto the Twelfth of Never as the date for the next Scottish independence referendum, “unless there is public consent for it to happen’’. What constitutes “public demand”? How about a democratic, proportional election for Holyrood, with a party manifesto proposing a pledge for another referendum and that party achieving a majority vote in the Holyrood Parliament for that referendum? Does that suffice, Theresa?

The obvious answer is no — because it was advanced by the SNP which, as everyone knows, has little or no support in Scotland. This is classic Doublespeak which after Ruth Davidson’s performance at the Orwell Society gives us a clear indication of the Tories’ direction of travel.

David Mundell, when confronted on STV’s Scotland Tonight with the question of “what constitutes public demand?’’ paled then blustered and then did his impression of a goldfish.

These are dangerous times when democratic decisions by a parliament are being denigrated by members of that parliament (Ruth and co) and when an ambitious and ruthless politician (Strong and Stable Theresa) arbitrarily decides that a devolved nation cannot implement what its democratically elected parliament has agreed.
James Mills

ALONG with setting snares, foxhunting is one of the most barbaric methods of supposedly protecting livestock that you could come up with.

If farmers and landowners placed a couple of Maremma Sheepdogs (livestock guardian dogs) with their flocks they could relax in the knowledge that no fox would ever come anywhere near.

They wouldn’t need their noisy hounds, nor need to gallop over other people’s land to enjoy their bloodthirsty entertainment. Cruel and vicious — not the hounds — the huntsfolk.
Andy Pearson