WHAT do you do about the relentless and vicious anti-independence abuse from the Unionists and those with an interest in keeping the status quo (Carolyn Leckie: Being abusive and obnoxious will put people off voting Yes, The National, Aug 7)?

Let’s look at other independence movements in other countries. By and large, did they stoically turn the other cheek to a relentless campaign of undermining everything about themselves that they knew would be of strategic importance after independence? No, they did not. Some even took up arms. Scotland’s struggle for her independence has been one of peaceful resistance by the main elements of the movement. Never has the SNP advocated taking up armed struggle.

Keyboard warriors are not warriors per se: they are people who may go overboard in advocating independence, but they have a long way to go before they reach the dizzy depths of nastiness plumbed by the anti-independence lot. The status quo-ers are more vicious because they have most to lose, or think they do.

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The UK has long been the type of political union that dishes out “a good kicking” to those who dare to raise their heads above the parapet. Pandering to this kind of behaviour is not to be tolerated by any society that deems itself to be democratic. That, unfortunately, is just what Carolyn Leckie and others advocate. It is not racist to say that the English minority in Scotland scuppered the first indyref, because that is a truth that defies challenge. Even the Edinburgh University study of 2015 acknowledged that truth, but, still, we have nasty people from the anti-independence side, and a few from the independence side itself, who choose to ignore reality and accuse those who state this truth to be “Nazis”, “racists”, et al. If we cannot win a second indyref because these self-same people will vote No again in similar numbers, just how do we win? By persuasion? No, because these people will never be persuaded. That is also a truth that many fail to acknowledge.

The aim is not to alienate or antagonize that English minority, nor is it to persuade them to leave Scotland: the aim of pointing out their voting behaviour vis-à-vis independence is to pose the question, why? Are they reluctant to integrate and become part of Scotland, but would prefer to sit it out in a “colony” as nabobs of a defunct empire rather than be part of a vibrant new Scotland? Many do support independence, but they are those who have few conflicting feelings about being part of a new Scotland.

There is no point – absolutely none – in holding a second independence referendum if we are going to lose again, and lose through the actions of the same people – Scottish Unionists and the English minority combined. No, we should not be abusive, but we have every right to call out duplicity, unenlightened self-interest, colonialism, naivety, stupidity and downright perversity. Sorry, Carolyn, we will never win a second indyref by being “nice”. Basically, we lost the last one on that ground alone, long before the currency and deficit issues raised their heads. We lost it on colonial grounds. Please tell us when a colonial interest ever willingly stepped aside to allow independence and self-expression? The other side is far from being nice, so let’s get away from this daft idea that “niceness” is the answer to winning next time. No country ever won its independence through being “nice” – not even the Czech and Slovak Republics. Their politicians came to a mutual agreement. Can anyone seriously suggest Westminster will come to an agreement with the SNP?

If we want to win next time, we have to be prepared for all the counter-arguments; but, above all, we should not be apologising for desiring to be independent.
Lorna Campbell
via thenational.scot

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We’ll feel Brexit pain while those responsible disappear

WHEN someone as august as Sir Simon Fraser, the epitome of civil service probity and incidentally the ex-chief mandarin at the Foreign Office publicly lambastes the so-called negotiating stance of the government he once served, you know that the situation is indeed as bad as we all thought. No amount of smoke and mirrors can disguise that Diamond Dave and his cohorts are in it up to their bottom lip.

Sir Simon, who as an aside, now advises companies on Brexit, is well placed to make such observations and comments as he has, no doubt, still got contacts within the corridors of power, and he will know the extent of the shambolic panic that is threatening to engulf this pathetically weak and divided government.

He correctly identifies the lack of cohesion within May’s supposedly “united” cabinet, the briefing and counter briefing that continually occurs as the main reasons why there is a distinct lack of concrete proposals and aims published by this apology for a government.

The very fact that they still haven’t come up with a definite figure for the “divorce settlement” is truly appalling, and the inference from one non-descript Conservative MP by the name of Peter Bone who babbles that we don’t owe the EU anything. This is the type of ill-informed rubbish we have come to expect from the Brexiteers, but it has been accepted by all, albeit reluctantly, that a measure of payment for undertakings given by the UK is in order.

To put this clown in perspective, he was opposed to same sex marriages, the minimum wage and he was all for privatising the NHS. He was also thought at one time to be a potential defector to Ukip, so need I say more? I feel sorry for his constituency of Wellingborough. The bottom line of the continuing saga of Brexit is that the UK continues to be ill prepared, lacking unity and it is becoming clearer by the day that they actually have no idea what they hope to achieve.

One thing is for sure, if they carry on in this way they will condemn this country, and particularly Scotland to decades of needless and ultimately pointless disruption, both economically and socially simply to sate the Europhobes in the Conservative Party.

One point has never been answered: Will those responsible for the whole Brexit fiasco be held accountable once it has been concluded and the country is a basket case, or will they turn on each other and blame everybody but themselves? I suspect the main protagonists will quietly disappear from public life and resurface with myriad directorships and a place on the after-dinner speaking tour. We will be left to feel the pain and pick up the pieces unless we see sense and vote for independence before it all comes to pass.
Ade Hegney
Helensburgh

I AM in total empathy with James Ahern (Brian Quail’s admirable efforts need our support, Letters, The National, August 7). But I don’t think Brian Quail and others of a similar point of view will ever achieve the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland by blocking roads for a few hours and ending up in jail in the process. There are only two bodies who can bring about the removal of these weapons of mass destruction: 1) The Westminster parliament/Tory Government and that is a very unlikely option or, 2) via an independent Scotland. Guess where my bet is being placed.
Norman Henderson
Clydebank

“IT’S not fair” says Vonny (Vonny Leclerc: It’s not fair: why do we discriminate against older women? The National, August 7). Whatever makes her think that life should be fair? If she sobbed on realising she’s reached the grand old age of 30, surely she’s not claiming the world has conspired against her to hold her back from the pinnacles of success she expected to have reached? How will she feel if she reaches three score years and ten?

Hers is a very narrow view of life if she believes her worth rests on her appearance. Instead of saying: “It’s not fair” perhaps it’s time she grew up. Perhaps she should even emigrate. The Japanese venerate age recognising that with the years comes experience and knowledge. To them it’s the person that matters not their appearance. Maybe we in the west all have something to learn.
Catriona Grigg
Embo