I READ with interest your article on the Ernest Shackleton photographs (Exhibition to mark daring polar expedition’s centenary, The National, June 16). His journey to South Georgia was heroic but every hero has an Achilles’ heel. Your article mentions the friendship between James Wordie and Henry McNish.

It was the latter who modified and kept the James Caird seaworthy. The man from Greenock, however, had argued with Shackleton at an early stage in the rescue efforts – the classical outspoken Scot, but one who had knowledge of the southern ocean. Despite McNish’s skilful practical abilities as a ship’s carpenter, Shackleton did not recommend him for a Polar Medal.

With the surname of Scott and an interest in the seventh continent, I heard from someone that an effort was made to correct this misjudgment, the cause being led by a Greenock man.

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Perhaps if enough Antarctic buffs got together this wrong could be righted by a petition to award a posthumous medal to McNish?

Robert Scott
Cumbernauld

THE Tories were in complete disarray just 24 hours before starting the most vitally important negotiations ever for this country, and what does Fluffy Mundell decide to clog the airwaves with? You guessed it – indyref!

It beggars belief that something Nicola Sturgeon has said won’t be considered by the SNP until after the outcome of the Brexit fiasco becomes clear is still front and centre in Fluffy’s brain. May I suggest one thing to Mundell and Davidson?

Get on with the day job.

There are reasons for this distraction, however, because the Tory Party would rather we didn’t focus on Brexit. Even the most politically inept in the population have realised that Theresa May is going into these negotiations with a busted flush.

She has already had to concede to the opening gambit regarding the order of negotiation, and a soundbite was trailed indicating the Tories were going to offer something substantial to the EU in order to get dual negotiating. Don’t be surprised if Scotland’s fishing rights are sold down the river.

May has consistently refused to abandon her hard Brexit stance, even in the face of fierce criticism from her new best friends the DUP. Her pigheadedness and removal from reality is extremely worrying.

She has even resisted calls for sensible cross-party and devolved administration involvement and representation. The reason for this is blindingly obvious. To agree to this would mean that other, more sensible and intelligent people would have access to the Tories’ supposed strategy for Brexit. This would immediately let the cat out of the bag as they would be cruelly exposed as having no strategy other than to repeat ad nauseam: “No Brexit deal is better than a bad Brexit deal.”

It would also allow the devolved administrations, especially Scotland, to see exactly how we are going to be sacrificed in order for May and co to assuage the hard right of the Conservative Party.  The bottom line is that she is going into these negotiations without a plausible strategy, without any credible negotiators and with a substantial number of her own party now wakening up to the fact that she in a perilous situation where there will be only one winner – the other 27 member states of the EU. It once again highlights her willingness to reduce this country to a basket case in her craven pursuit for power. She knows no shame.

Ade Hegney
Helensburgh

SO the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has accused the EU of “posturing and chestbeating” in its demands. He, his Prime Minister, David Davis and the rest of the Brexit-means-Brexit Tories are aiming to walk away with no deal. After the lies, insults and bad grace hurled at the EU before, during and after the referendum, the other 27 member countries are in no mood to be generous to Westminster and give into its demands.

The Tories’ objectives are as yet undocumented and May’s minority government has still no deal with the DUP, so its position in Brussels is still unstable. Added to the Tory-inflicted mess is the fact that Corbyn and Labour are also intent on leaving the single market and customs union. No hope there either. There is no point in Hammond hurling accusations like a spoilt brat who does not get his way. Out is out and the EU – rightly so – will have the last word to say to a Westminster that has been, since joining the EU, an awkward and petulant member.

But we Scots voted to remain, so yet again we are being dragged out against the democratic wishes of the population. The true face of EVEL – English Votes for Everyone’s Laws.

John Edgar
Blackford

GEORGE Kerevan’s suggestions for cross-party support for direct representation for Scotland at the Brexit negotiations seem eminently sensible (Now is the time for an absolutely clear vision of just what Brexit means, The National, June 19). However, given the misplaced notions of backwater Scotland Unionism of the UK parties at Holyrood, that is as likely a reason as any other why they will not be taken up. 

Peter Gorrie
Edinburgh

NORMAN Easton (Letters, June 19) obviously didn’t read the independence White Paper in which there were four models for currency offered and detailed.

The one chosen was probably the most sensible for adoption at the beginning of the independence process, offering stability as arrangements for our departure were made and indeed, as Mervyn King conceded, would have been immediately agreed.

But that is not the point. The point is that the “currency question” was a diversion introduced at the last minute as the Unionist campaign hurtled towards defeat. It is a peripheral issue and it is very sad that so many people on our side have got bogged down in it.

There are in fact limitless options available on currency. This argument is allowed to persist because so many people do not understand what “currency” is. It is, from the public’s point of view, a form of vouchers or promissory notes which allow us to trade, exchange goods and services and pay debts. That is all.

Its value is decided by the strength of an economy at any one time or whether anybody trusts it and its form of relationships, if any, to other currencies. Let us concentrate on currently important issues. Other newspapers are talking about the SNP retreat on independence and some major figures appear to be throwing in the towel.

Dave McEwan Hill
Argyll