THE latest round of bluster and counter bluster between the US and North Korea reveals similarities. Amid the threats the one common interchangeable factor in this scenario is weapon testing.

The US opposes the North Koreans testing missiles, but continues with examples of its own. If one reads the accusations hurled at North Korea and changes North Korea for the US in any text, both are undertaking identical acts of aggression. The only difference is that the US thinks it has entitlement to throw its weight around irrespective.

The latest contradictory statement to come from a spokesperson in the US is the term “preventative war”. Another soundbite indeed. Obviously that means making war to prevent war! A contradiction in itself.

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In the geographical context of the Koreas, Japan and China, any “preventative war” is likely to get out of control and cause horrendous loss of life and destruction.

It begs the question: what is preventative war aiming to prevent? I suppose the obvious answer is war. And it might be over by Christmas! War is surely just war!
John Edgar
Blackford

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Independence comes before party politics

LORNA Campbell (Letters, August 8) blames English people living in Scotland for the No vote in the referendum. As an Englishman by birth and also a pensioner, I am doubly blamed for that result.

I have one Scottish-born ancestor (born in Fife in 1832) who himself had English parents, so I do not come to this as a blood and soil Scottish nationalist. I have lived in Scotland for the last 40 years. I have worked here and paid my taxes here. My wife is Scottish by birth and ancestry. We are both in our 70s, but we are passionate about independence for Scotland. Not so our Scottish-born children and grandchildren, nor our Scottish-born neighbours who have rejoiced in their Britishness and consider us stupid for wanting independence.

The vote in 2014 was lost most probably because of the EU, and our European brothers and sisters believing the words of both Better Together and certain European spokespeople as relayed in the British nationalist media. They would likely now vote Yes, but they may not have the opportunity, and if people like Lorna Campbell get their way neither may I.

I have lived more than half my life in Scotland, and four-fifths of my adult life. I may be identifiable as English from my accent, but I shall be extremely happy to become a citizen of an independent Scotland. I do not see myself as a nationalist, but as an independentist.

Lorna Campbell is correct that the independence movement needs to be more assertive. Unfortunately it is only this paper and a handful of websites which counter the British nationalist arguments. In the June election the SNP were continually on the back foot defending devolved issues instead of refusing to answer the questions, saying they would talk only about Westminster issues. Colonel Ruth was able to perform her Ian Paisley impersonation at every opportunity.

Perhaps it is time for The National to have a column, or more, devoted to the good things in Scotland along the lines of John Robertson’s blog, Talking-up Scotland, or to follow up on some of Stuart Campbell’s work on Wings Over Scotland. Attention could be drawn to websites which have a positive slant on the case for independence. We need to put straight the British nationalists and their considerable media resources. We should not be afraid to offend these people if we are in fact right. We need to show them and the world that we are.

To those who feel divided between their wish for a possible independent Scotland (in or out of the EU) and their wish for a particular political party or leader, I have to say get real. Independence has to come first. Few people will probably like everything about a party or a leader or a union. When it comes to making decisions we just have to hold our noses and vote for independence or the party most likely to deliver it. Failing that, we will be governed by the likes of two arch Brexiteers mentioned in this paper in the last couple of days. Peter Bone (1995 Britain’s meanest boss) and Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose wife’s ancestral home is benefitting from state rescue. For them England comes first and Scotland is for holidays and providing England with the vestiges of an empire.
Robert Mitchell
Stirling

LORNA Campbell is absolutely right. The time for being nice is long gone, it has got us nowhere further forward. Neither is it likely any time soon to influence or sway the voting intentions of die-hard Unionists or those who feel that their best interests lie with trusting in the benevolent munificence of their colonial masters.

The winning of our independence is always going to be a huge enterprise and one that requires a majority of our fellow countrymen/women to swing round to our side. When the 2014 referendum results were stripped back it was found that amongst native-born Scots the vote was very evenly balanced. It was the votes of those born outside Scotland that decided the result and that is just not natural justice. In the next referendum it will again likely be a close run thing and the arithmetic will decide the issue.

I have commented previously that the Unionist parties in Holyrood tried to have EU citizens and 16/17 year olds excluded from the next franchise. I suggested then that a residency qualification be applied to those who were born outside of Scotland as a counter to any such manoeuvring that the Unionist interests might seek to implement in order to favour their ambitions.

I must agree with Lorna Campbell that this problem has to be addressed. There are something like one million people living in Scotland who were born somewhere else in UK. No doubt there are committed supporters of independence among them but I fear the largest majority will never vote Yes, for all the reasons she mentioned.

It would be absolute stupidity to proceed in this knowledge with another referendum. We must insist on a residency qualification and I would propose three years as being reasonable.

In my opinion this is not discriminatory or unfair: it is realistic and sensible.

Yes it is time to stop being nice. Our opponents are nasty and vicious and we should play them at their own game. We, that is the Scottish Government, must set the rules for the next referendum and we have to remember that Westminster were quite happy to rig the EU referendum to get the result they wanted – they excluded 16/17 year olds and EU citizens from the vote.

For goodness’ sake and Scotland’s, let us insist and demand, not request, that referendum be held well before we have actually Brexited from Europe.
J F Davidson
Bonnyrigg, Midlothian