BRIAN Quail’s letter (The National, August 9) was one of his best yet. Of course he was not naïve enough to think himself alone, or any single individual, could stop the looming mass horrors of Trident. Nor would he for one minute presume to say so. The Yankee politicians “invented” the age-old tactic of dolly shotting.

That is, shooting at dummy targets, or putting up false words in an opponent’s mouth and shooting it down, thus putting the defendant on the back foot. All those fighting for independence in this country are well used to that now, with little or no chance of damage limitation as the lie becomes repeated throughout the Unionist establishment, where no lie is too big, too wee, or too dirty for them. Probably none more so than the EBC spy centre and its colonial outpost in Sunny Govan.

The reader may not have intended to attack, or diminish, Brian’s efforts personally and probably meant that wider actions by more individuals and organisations should be more involved, but that was not how his letter came across and it could have been crafted better. At least his relentless actions have brought the message home to us and helped raise consciousness of the unspeakable mass terror on our doorstep, just 20-odd miles from our centre of population. Sure, more people would turn out en masse in Clydeside for the mass idiocy of an Old Firm football match. Circuses afore breid has never been more contemporary than the old divide and conquer tactic adopted by the British Empire.

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That is imperialism’s fault, not Brian Quail’s. This monstrosity in our midst is supported by the worst kind of nuclear terrorists in global history.

Brian has consistently been prepared to go to the jail for his pacifist beliefs, when so many Unionists ought to have been jailed for profiting from their crimes against humanity. They are the real terrorists. We cannot get rid of Trident without independence. Corbyn is tied down on that by his own party and still fake “Yessers” keep voting Labour’s anti-Corbyn party in Scotland. For them to vote North British Labour Nationalists, or spoil their ballot papers, in preference to the anti-Trident SNP, is as logical as Quail voting Jackie Bailie to stop Trident. Or, as Dumbarton Cooncil’s old headed notepaper and bin lorries, wait for it, declaring Dunbartonshire a “nuclear free zone”. Oh yes they did.

Patrick Grady, Brian’s SNP constituency MP, unilaterally declared the SNP’s support for him and his actions. As Brian says: “Scotland is the only country in the world that can get rid of Trident by voting for independence.” Or, as Elvis might have said to Labour bombers: Space invaders, impersonators and pretenders, who tell us that WMD is perfectly safe in Scotland, “Return to Sender. No Such Clusters, No Nuclear Zone”.
Donald Anderson
Glasgow

THE sad truth of Brian Quail’s campaign against Trident is that it doesn’t protect us from those who would harm us in contemporary global terms.

Britain would retain Trident with no real protection, yet bin the very real protection from threat afforded by our membership of the EU. How messed up is that?

With the loss of international cooperation about security matters this will certainly entail, won’t we be subject to more global threats and fewer means to defend ourselves from them?

An independent Scotland won’t need the Trident system to maintain an influential presence.

Our approach will be cooperation and using the many talents we have to foster friendship and enterprise to benefit us and all of our partners.

More power to Brian Quail and his ilk. They are proud Scots.
Jim Taylor
Edinburgh

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Maybe the EU will be pragmatic regarding a soft border

WHILE the EU is insistent on the inviolability of the four freedoms it has proven to be pragmatic on other matters of concern to individual members. The UK rebate being one example.

With this in mind there may be another way altogether of protecting Scotland’s immigration needs (Michael Fry: Irish border controls could yet provide solution to Scotland’s need for immigration, The National, August 8). Could it perhaps be envisaged that the EU, wishing to facilitate that Scotland be independent before the UK finally leaves, might be pragmatic about border arrangements – i.e. be relaxed about having an open border with an England outside the EU.

The amount of trade between Scotland and England is relatively insignificant compared to total EU trade and could be taken as an exception; this could also be applicable also to the Irish situation. There could well be concerns on the part of the EU that English exporters might try to avoid customs delays at English ports and possible duties for deliveries to the EU by shipping via the renewed freight services from Rosyth to the continent. This might result in demands from the EU that Scotland introduce controls to monitor the situation to ensure that it does not get out of control. That would be a small price to pay for the resurrection of active sea trading links with the continent to avoid the trip through England and the customs problems and delays there.

I cannot envisage the EU being concerned about possible immigrants from England via an independent Scotland so the only side that might have problems with free immigration might be England concerned about EU nationals coming to Scotland and then on to England. Rather than putting in border controls that probably wouldn’t work, England if really concerned about this could introduce a system of residence permits for all who live and work in England – when I lived and worked in Austria prior to the country joining the EU, I needed a residence permit which for instance had to be shown when changing residence or occupation and was never more than a mild inconvenience.

From the above it is clear that I very much favour Scotland remaining in the EU and I am convinced the downside of Brexit will become clearer as exit day approaches. Sure there would be other issues to address if my scenario above were to happen but I can’t see them being nearly as complicated as the current Brexit negotiations especially as they would be conducted in a spirit of goodwill and positivity between the EU and Scotland. I would like to think that the powers that be in the EU would see things in the same way.
Tom Crozier
Ayr

I ENJOYED James Potter’s letter about James Macpherson’s Ossian poems and congratulate him on throwing more light on the famous controversy about their origins (Letters, The National, August 9). I came to the story from a different direction, in the course of researching the life of yet another largely forgotten Scot, Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lyndoch, who rose to fame as Wellington’s second-in-command during the Spanish Peninsular War. Macpherson incidentally was the nephew of the famous Macpherson of Clunie who sheltered Prince Charles in his cave after Culloden.

The connection is that James Macpherson was employed as the young Graham’s tutor, based in Perthshire and Graham describes travelling with Macpherson on horseback throughout the highlands, camping out, hunting and living rough, early training that came in handy for Graham’s later military career. It was during these trips that Macpherson collected the Gaelic stories, poems and legends that he later wove into the famous Ossian saga.

The 18th century was a period of cultural romanticism throughout Europe and the Ossian story made a big hit internationally. Literary experts must debate how much, if any, deception was involved in its creation but there is little doubt it is based on genuine Gaelic material.

The widespread popularity of Ossian is illustrated by the curious fact that a copy of the work was found in Napoleon’s abandoned personal coach after he fled from the lost battle at Waterloo. Perhaps this distraction explains his uncharacteristic lapses of concentration during the battle!
Peter Craigie
Edinburgh