THEY always say you should write about what you know. What a pity Kevin McKenna failed to heed this basic guideline when writing his attack on Ruth Davidson (At least her TA role may keep Ruth busy over the summer holidays, The National, July 15) for taking up the post of Honorary Colonel of 32 Sigs regiment, as clearly he knows little about the Territorial Army and fell back on the much worn stereotypes.

As someone who spent a total of 17 years in the TA let me try to put Kevin straight on the “part-time professionals”. When the regular soldiers were going off duty on a Friday night many TA soldiers were finishing shifts at their normal jobs, they would then spend a weekend training before returning to work on Monday. The training we would carry out was virtually the same as that carried out by regular soldiers. I attended many training courses where I and other TA soldiers not only equalled but outperformed our regular counterparts, and the TA soldiers I served with included some of the finest soldiers I know, regular or otherwise. TA soldiers have been deployed alongside their regular colleagues more and more in recent years, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. The idea that they are somehow all in the Private Pike mould couldn’t be further from the truth.

As for the real subject of his article, I as an ex-serviceman was left slack jawed at the appointment of Ruth Davidson as Honorary Colonel to her former regiment, as it showed a complete lack of tact from the MoD for offering the role and from her in accepting it. Once upon a time for an ex-serviceman to become an Honorary Colonel was a sign of your contribution to your regiment, a reward for perhaps long and distinguished service; as far as I am aware Ruth Davidson only spent some two years as an officer cadet before leaving through injury, and was never actually commissioned. Nowadays the role of Honorary Colonel is dished out to all and sundry and is perhaps on par with those gaudily attired Regimental Goats wheeled out for ceremonial occasions.

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These are however the least of my concerns. Davidson has spent the last few years rallying the forces of Unionism to rebuild the Conservative Party. She’s wrapped herself in the Union Flag and banged on about “no divisive second referendum”. She has successfully managed to convince hardcore British Nationalists that her party will protect the Union and by exploiting Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent support for the IRA, with many abandoning Labour and any pretence of concerns over policies as they do so.

I was told recently of a soldier who decided to run in the council elections, who was told that if he was successful he would have to leave the military. The military is supposed to be impartial, but this appointment blurs the lines of impartiality, and instead subliminally invites us to draw a line between supporting the Union, the military and the Orange Order/the far right and the Conservatives. Army regulations clearly forbid the wearing of uniform where it may infer some sort of support by the MoD. The fact that Davidson is not actually a serving soldier means the rules don’t actually apply, however the spirit of the rules should be adhered to as they exist for good reason. Most people will simply see the Tory leader being endorsed by the Army, nothing less.

Someone, somewhere has played up to Davidson’s vanity, allowing her to extend from prancing around on a tank to actually playing dress-up as Colonel Gadaftie. If Davidson had any sense she’d have politely refused the offer until she had left politics, instead she has grabbed it and will milk it for all its worth, and as we see from Kevin’s article, will taint the armed forces’ reputation in the process.
James Cassidy
Edinburgh

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Cash flow is more often than not the difference for SMEs

I ENJOYED reading Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp’s piece (Increasing productivity is key to growing economy, The National 14th July). As the former managing director (now retired) of an SME, his conclusion that the Scottish Government should legislate against late payment hits the nail on the head. Cash flow is most definitely king in any business, but for an SME it’s often the difference between the life and death of a company.

In my day there was a voluntary scheme that larger companies could sign up to that guaranteed they’d pay within the agreed payment terms. The Government were also excellent in terms of prompt payment and any delays were usually the result of incorrect invoicing on our part. However, far too many customers would string out payments to two or even three times the agreed payment period. Meanwhile staff and our suppliers had to be paid so cash flow suffered. This in turn lead to a slowing down in investment in new tools and marketing as it became necessary to hold onto cash to see the company through any difficulties due to tardy debtors.

Anything Holyrood can do to ensure SMEs (and indeed all Scottish companies) are paid on time would most definitely help businesses perform better, which would benefit employees, Government, the shareholders and Scotland.

Geoff Tompson Helensburgh IAIN Ramsay’s letter (The National, July 12) provoked revulsion as well as sorrow, not only over the unnecessary loss of lives during the Boer War but over the huge numbers of young Scots tragically sacrificed during military escapades on foreign shores for the “greater good” of the British Empire.

While some continue to persistently write letters in support of the continuation of effective rule from Westminster dressed in condemnation of the Scottish Government, and by implication or direct assertion a slant on any possible prospect of self-determination for Scotland, one wonders how many of such “contributors” have personal knowledge of relatives who have perished in the frontline of battles around the world in building and attempting to sustain a nefarious regime that introduced the “concentration camps” Mr Ramsay described. It is no secret that proportionately the loss of Scottish lives in making rich British Barons even wealthier was high, yet we are patronised on an almost daily basis across the mainstream media by some who appear content with their lifestyles and the constitutional status quo irrespective of the enormous sacrifices of the past and the many sacrifices that continue to be made as “Great Britain” stubbornly and immorally seeks to remain a military power on the world stage while making massive arms sales to the highest international bidders.

While economics are important, and there is no doubt that Scotland can be successful economically and socially once independent, allowing the debate on Scotland’s future to be reduced to views on the latest GERS approximations misses the fundamental point of self-determination with the people of Scotland having the right to choose their own destiny, including to which wars, if any, they and their children are prepared to commit their lives.
Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

LIKE Dave McEwen Hill (Letters, The National, July 13) I am perplexed by the growing Corbyn fan club involving supposed independence supporters.

I read Cat Boyd’s column the other day and frankly was amazed at how she has become a Corbynista groupie. I have always enjoyed Cat’s column, not always agreeing with it, but in this case I just could not get my head around the fulsome praise she showered upon him.

Corbyn has many admirable points, not least his desire for a more equal society. However, that equal society does not extend to a free, self-governing Scotland. He has always stood four square in favour of maintaining this disjointed kingdom. I believe, just like our southern Tory friends (?), he recognises that his homeland ie South East England would struggle in the real world without their northern cash cow.

As for his non-stance on Trident... well!!!
George Greenshields
East Kilbride