WOW! What an issue! I mean of course Saturday’s issue of The National. Theresa May’s snub to Nicola Sturgeon has been coming for some time now, and in a way it isn’t unexpected.

May has lately been demonstrating all the trappings of an emerging dictator. She is passing acts of Parliament which will allow her to ride roughshod over the democratic process, such as it is, of Westminster. She will be able to change and modify the laws of the land without consulting or debating the issue with other elected members of Parliament. That’s not what a democratic Prime Minister does. It’s what the likes of Bashir Assad and Putin do.

But just a couple of pages later, you provided the undoubted answer; namely the very excellent article by Dr Elliot Bulmer. I would really love it if our First Minister announced the setting up of a constitutional committee and the adoption of the timeline for constitutional development.

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It has to be done during this term of the Scottish Parliament because at the moment there is a majority of pro-independence MSPs. Only with such a majority can Nicola be sure to get it through. She must invite participants from the Greens to join in, along with, dare I say it, someone from Labour who was previously a member of Labour for Independence. There should also be the wide range of participants in the committee to set up the constitution that Dr Bulmer suggests.

But I would like to see things go a bit further, with a Minister for Independence being appointed to liaise between the Government and the constitution committee; but also to start now to bring together the various pro-independence groups that are still active and to re-invigorate the others. Groups of volunteers could start telephone calling folk now to find out whether or not they are supporters of independence and to ask those who are not supporters what it would take to change their minds.

I believe there should also be some sort of educational process set up so that those who are going to “knock on doors” later in the campaign can supply the answers to frequently asked questions. Things like our future revenue have to be covered. We need to be able to reassure folk about Scotland’s ability to get by without oil, while still being able to draw attention to the further reserves left in the North Sea and the vast new reserves on the Continental shelf. They should also be able to point out how Westminster is likely to fritter this away as they did with the North Sea oil reserves.

People should also be able to answer some basic economic questions – like dealing with the “£15 billion shortfall” we hear about, and being able to list the money we would save by not having to pay for 59 MPs at Westminster. The question of access to the European market must also be covered. If we had a relationship similar to Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, we could still trade with rUK, while keeping our trade with Europe. That would also give us access to the international co-operation and movement of people we presently enjoy and need.

Lately there just hasn’t been the same enthusiasm over independence that we had leading up to the 2014 referendum. I think that has been partly due to the SNP being a bit unsure about when or even if they should hold another. If we could see some sort of leadership from them, without them monopolising the cause, I feel we could find that enthusiasm once again, and move very quickly to another referendum. If it was handled in the way Dr Bulmer suggests while at the same time rebuilding the former energy and enthusiasm among independence-backing groups and their supporters, then next time it could be successful. Bring it ON!!!
Charlie Hall
Address supplied


A crie de coeur on Trident from my prison cell

COULPORT is at the end of the line. No traffic passes through it en route to anywhere else. It follows that all the vehicles held up on the road during the recent blockades were going to maintain the nuclear weapons stored in silos deep underground at the depot – the biggest arsenal of hydrogen bombs in Europe. No-one was hindered from going about business that was lawful.

It is essential to acknowledge that the deployment of Trident is not a legal activity. Trident is an ongoing war crime, and in attempting to frustrate this we were upholding the law and not, as charged, breaching the peace.

It has long since been time that the legal establishment in Scotland should find the courage and integrity to acknowledge the manifest illegality of Trident. The current tactic of consent by silence must end.

This is especially true now, after 122 states agreed a draft treaty banning weapons at the United Nations on July 7. The Scottish legal establishment cannot simply ignore this historic event.

Defence is a matter reserved to Westminster, but the law is not. There must surely be experts in law who have the knowledge and skill to articulate the case against Trident and who are willing “to speak the truth to power”.

So, from my prison cell I send a crie de coeur. Please, please help us to rid Scotland and the world of this monstrosity, this is the ultimate evil, the worst thing in the world.
Brian Quail

IN Pat Kane’s article (Nationalism can be a force for good – as Scotland has shown the World, The National, July 22), I read the following: “In the meantime nations like Finland, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden – and also, incidentally, Scotland – already possess the confidence, cohesion and vision to kick off such experiments”.

As a Dutch Scot, I would like to respectfully point out that it’s not appropriate to refer to “Holland”

as a nation. The country is called The Netherlands. Holland is just a region of that country, consisting of two provinces: North Holland and South Holland. Holland is by far the most densely populated part of The Netherlands, containing the three biggest cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

Also, most other well-known Dutch tourist attractions, such as Keukenhof, are in Holland. However, referring to the entire country as “Holland” can be offensive to people from other parts of the country. This is comparable to people saying “England” when they mean the entire United Kingdom. And I know how much the average reader of this newspaper would appreciate that …
Marten Kats

“WORDS matter” writes Alex McKie (Letters, July 21). The art historian Duncan Macmillan despairs of correcting the mistakes of fact made in the popular press about Scottish art.

Fortunately, Alan Riach is fighting the good fight in The National. He mentions The Book of Kells as being created on Iona rather than Ireland, where it was taken for safety. When the BBC once said the opposite, my wife wrote and disagreed. “It has not been proved yet,” they replied, snootily.

Alan’s correct attribution of the source of the Scots language as being Anglian, as against the English language which comes from the Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Sussex, Essex – west, south, east Saxon lands – must be hammered home, while the apocryphal “Old English” label is exposed as fallacious.

These southern Saxon integrating kingdoms only afterwards pinched their name from the successful Anglian kingdom which lay between Forth and Humber.
Iain WD Forde

FOLLOWING on from Ian Richmond’s letter “Does well-off Edinburgh really need a city deal?”, a few corrections to his statement are needed. Firstly the deal is not exclusively for Edinburgh but includes surrounding districts of the Lothians which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as “well-off”.

Secondly, the deal was funded not by SNP, as he fondly believes, but by the UK and Scottish governments with additional help from councils and universities. So perhaps Mr Redmond’s “incandescence”should be directed elsewhere.
Mary Clark
Address supplied