AN open letter to Jeremy Corbyn before his summer tour of Scotland: Congratulations, Jeremy, on your determined and effective political efforts across England during the General Election campaign when you had to face opposition from within your own party as well as the usual cabal of Tory and Liberal neo-liberals. Many in Scotland admire your decades of staunch support for social and indeed economic justice while promoting socialism.

However, your party in Scotland have lost their way to such an extent that they have both tacitly and in some cases quite overtly (an covertly) supported the political ambitions of the Tory party. This disturbing feature is best described in a report by your own supporters in Scotland.

The quite incredible lack of political principle displayed by Labour in Scotland saw senior party members share political platforms with the most reactionary voices from the Tory party. The Unionists’ Union instigated during the referendum has developed to include tactical political unionism with a close alliance from the council elections to the Westminster elections. This Douglas/Davidson alliance was best demonstrated by the Tories winning 13 seats. The report indicated that the lack of a serious Labour campaign in targeted seats provided the Tories with the opportunity of winning those critical Scottish seats – the actual majority PM May now enjoys.

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Paradoxically, at Westminster it was the SNP who offered you progressive support in the previous parliament and it is the SNP who continue to offer you principled support while receiving perniciously unprincipled opposition in Scotland.

Davidson’s blinkered Unionism has blinded Labour from seeing the opportunity for the conjoined support of progressive policies that would bring genuine benefits to working people and the many communities of the poor in Scotland. It is time that Labour and the SNP talked with one another: you should begin the process on this visit.

You need to view the SNP, and indeed the wider nationalist movement, as progressive allies in the fight against the right-wing Tory government that threatens the economy and the welfare state. We have seen a growing alliance with Labour in Wales and the SNP Government in Edinburgh. There is an absence of the bitter hostility seen in Scotland and Labour in Scotland should aspire to developing a similar entente cordial that ultimately brings benefits to the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

However, you, Jeremy, and indeed the entire Labour movement, will need to understand that a sovereign Scotland in some form of relationship with the EU remains the ultimate goal of a broad alliance of progressive forces up here. Make no mistake, the Greens, the Scottish Socialist Party, Labour for Independence plus dozens of semi-autonomous, popular, grassroots movements under the Yes banner are not going away but rather are gathering and planning for the post-Brexit period of uncertainty and possible chaos.

Scotland cannot and will not remain in this current subordinate relationship with the British state, which keeps Scotland in a relationship that reeks of coloniality. The Scottish Government must act soon and if necessary autonomously in order to maintain its critical ties with the single market for a bright successful future in Europe.

While enjoying your tour of Scotland beware of the traps set by the reactionary Unionist voices you might meet. It is within the progressive wider nationalist movement where you might find much greater affinity and indeed support.
Thom Cross


Chlorine on chickens is far from all we need to worry about

IT is completely understandable, and right, that people should be worried about chlorine-washed US chicken being sold here under a future US-UK trade deal (Fears for post-Brexit trade deal with US as Liam Fox becomes embroiled in row over chickens, The National, July 24).

This is just one of many food safety, animal welfare and consumer standards issues that would be affected by such a trade deal. But a US-UK trade deal could also affect much more than that, including workers’ rights, the environment and the privatisation of public services.

As with so many trade deals, this is all happening behind closed doors, without even our elected representatives getting a look in. There’s an urgent need to change the way that international trade deals are done, and to make sure that the UK Parliament and the devolved administrations have a say and a veto if necessary. Without that, there’s little chance of stopping chlorinated chicken – or any of the other negative impacts of the trade deal – coming our way.
Liz Murray
Head of Scottish campaigns
Global Justice Now, Edinburgh

THE book extract featuring Daniel Defoe’s railway journey from Glasgow to Stranraer (The National, July 24) gave a rather undeserved characterisation of the journey and an even gloomier picture of Stranraer – enough to put anyone off travelling there!

In fact, the route is included among ScotRail’s “Great Scenic Rail Journeys” – and with good reason.

Spectacular sea views across to Ailsa Craig from Girvan, which boasts a unique Southern Railways-style art deco station (the only one in Scotland) and the altogether quaint rural station at Barrhill, which has the only Victorian block token machine still in use on the National Rail, network are features that will delight railway enthusiasts and historians alike. Charm oozes from every pore of this beautiful line including the Kinclair Viaduct at Pinmore, and there are some of the most stunning views to be seen in Scotland, including the moors between Barrhill and Stranraer, which the book’s author, Stuart Campbell, compared to the Falklands.

His description of Stranraer itself was also more than a little unfair. True, the much heralded Waterfront Development on the site of the old Stena ferry terminal has yet to be seen any time soon, but a short distance from Stranraer Station, Britain’s oldest working harbour station, is Agnew Park, which offers a great day out for the whole family with its own miniature railway, boating lake with island and more.

Mr Campbell could have visited the Castle of St John and, depending on the time of day, there might have been something on at the Ryan Centre which regularly hosts musical concerts ranging from Scottish Opera to the 1960s band The Zombies.

Nearby, there are the Royal Botanic Gardens at Port Logan, the beautiful Mull of Galloway, and the Galloway Forest Park which is an internationally recognised Dark Skies Park.

Anyone considering a visit to this beautiful part of Scotland really should come on down. There are several sources of information including our own website: with information about train travel on this line.
Peter Jeal
South West Scotland Community Rail Partnership
Girvan Railway Station

I FOUND previous offerings in The National’s history column very interesting and informative. Sadly less so the “kings” piece (Scotland Back in the Day: Turbulent times for Scotland’s own Lion King, July 25). These people in general had no concept of democracy and couldn’t have cared less about the opinions of the workers as long as they could form an army when required.

To me the whole concept of monarchy is an anachronism which should have been left behind in the past along with bear baiting and chucking poo and pee into the streets. We’ve moved on from having our leaders decided by brute force, so why not heredity?

The establishment/monarchy/House of Lords/still survive. Why? Because it suits a small minority who pull the strings and keeps the flag-waving subjects (not citizens) happy. The only purpose in reading about these people is learning how they’ve managed to maintain control.
Barry Stewart