I WAS most pleased to read that Catriona Stevenson has taken an interest in correcting certain myths and false notions about Scottish history as a result of it being badly taught, and in a false fashion, in our schools (Defending the real truth about Scotland’s history, The National, August 3). Why is there no exam on the subject of Scottish history?

There are two excellent books on the subject of the “Celtic Church” correcting the nonsense claiming it was not in full communion and total obedience to the See of Peter in Rome: “A Chain of Error in Scottish History” by Malcolm Hay and “The Ancient Celtic Church and The See of Rome” by a minister of the Church of Scotland.

Both are worthy of a read by any Scot which wishes to avail himself or herself of the indisputable facts! St Ambrose (AD 385) tells us: “They have not Peter’s inheritance who have not Peter’s Chair.” St Kentigern [St Mungo] visited Rome as did other “Celtic” holy men.

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It would be most advantageous if a more balanced history of the Reformation, for instance, could be taught to include “warts and all” respects.
James Cameron Stuart


Time to put aside our differences for common aim

AT the moment there appears to be a bit of back-stabbing going on with some in the independence movement. I would ask those who tweet or lobby against differing political views to stop. Independence is about independence, not the type of government Scotland should have; that will come later.

We should be united in this one goal and not getting into spats over differing political issues. After independence we can have all the political arguments you want on the political make up of Scotland. There are many I disagree with but am willing to put that to one side until we win the prize.
Bryan Auchterlonie

THERE are two items in yesterday’s issue which are curiously complementary, in one respect at least. The first story is on the vicious Tory split on Brexit, and the extreme position taken by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone, which amounts to “Walk away, and to hell with them all – especially, to hell with any financial settlement unless it’s in our favour” (Tory Eurosceptics round on May over divorce bill, The National, August 7) .

To call this position “Eurosceptic” is to be far too polite, since it’s blatantly, blindly xenophobic fantasy. To them, Britain (for which read “England”, for which read “Home Counties”) is a peerless jewel of impeccable virtues, envied and exploited by all those unscrupulous furriners and especially those devious people across the Channel.

They insist that that we’ve paid a fortune to the EU for no return – whereas, of course, anyone with eyes will have seen over the years many, many infrastructure developments which almost certainly wouldn’t have happened at all under Westminster’s dispensation, like the development and shortening of the A9 north of Inverness, or the visitor centres at places like Callanish and Skara Brae (and that one in particular came just in time to cope with a staggering rise in visitor numbers to the Orkneys and its primary historical sites); or many more spread around Scotland and, no doubt, rUK.

But even then, an accounting which is confined to bare figures takes no account of the value of free, open trade across the biggest single trading bloc in the Western hemisphere, nor the economic benefits cutting both ways, from free movement of labour.

This, as we know, runs right across the economic spectrum, from agriculture and fishing (how many farms, how many fishing boats and processing plants couldn’t operate at all if they lost their European workers?) to the upper reaches of engineering, finance and academia: cut the employment pool back to Brits only, and countless employers and enterprises are going to be in deep, deep guano. The monetary value of that open market in goods and services is incalculable, but must be enormous.

But none of this exists for the Tory extremists. Theirs is the Brahmin position: “I am a person of infinitely superior knowledge and wisdom, and therefore anything I say or do is morally and factually right, while anything you say or think is wrong and stupid. I have spoken.”

The notion of determining what will be of most benefit to most people is a concept which doesn’t impinge on their view of the world at all, because the vast majority of the population exist only to further their desires and comfort – their desire in particular for a contained, isolated nation in which the common people have no choice but to take what their “betters” think fit to give them.

That “everybody’s wrong but me” stance can also be seen in the backbiting and infighting to which Carolyn Leckie rightly objects (Carolyn Leckie: Being abusive and obnoxious will put people off voting yes, The National, August 7). Although it has different motives, this rubbishing of views, policies and tactics at variance with those held by the critics (to define them as politely as possible) is, besides its unpleasantness, entirely futile.

To insist, as the Brahmins do for the Tory party, that only one vision of Scotland is permissible or virtuous is to ignore one glaringly obvious fact: in respect of those who are pro-independence, none of us will have the slightest chance of shaping the nature of an independent Scotland until Scotland is independent. After that, our country’s nature and progress (however defined) will be subject to the collective influence of all of us who are living here, native Scots and incomers alike.

But at any point up to that day, backbiting and infighting, by weakening the coherence of the push towards independence, is only going to delay or prevent the freedom we need not only to argue out but to actuate our vision – a thought which can only gladden the heart (if she has one) of Ruth Davidson and her Labour and LibDem accomplices; and if that’s not enough to make the sideline carpers think again then I don’t know what would be.

I don’t always agree with some or all of what Carolyn Leckie says, nor Cat Boyd, nor Kevin McKenna, nor Michael Fry. I do however have confidence that, come the day, when we can all roll our sleeves up and get on with creating a Scotland in which we can feel at home, and valued, and heeded, we will all be aiming for a positive contribution to making this a country of which we can be proud.

The Unionist snipers and abusers are something else again, of course. Like the Tory Brahmins, they wouldn’t recognise the truth even if it walked up and bit them in the posterior. Like the Tory Brahmins, they don’t care about the common good so long as they get their own way. Like the Tory Brahmins, they deserve no more than our scorn.
Colin Stuart