PAUL Kavanagh is right on the money when he dismisses the current ‘Independence is Dead’ fever from the Better Together recidivists as yet another example of the shameful bias of the mainstream media against the very idea of Scottish Independence (Scotland deserves better than the Unionist media, The National, August 9).

It may just be me but I have the distinct feeling that the trend towards “SNP Baaad” stories has gathered momentum since the referendum held in 2014.

Paul mentions some of the more egregious examples from the last few weeks but a trawl (and that is an apt description) of the media headlines, particularly from some of the anti-Scottish propaganda sheets that masquerade as a newspaper south of the Border, paints a horrifying picture of bias, distortion and downright lies whenever the SNP Government is being discussed or, more accurately, attacked.

Has there ever been a government in any corner of the UK, devolved or at Westminster, which has received such unrelenting negativity and hostility from the mainstream media?

As an SNP voter I will readily accept that there are times when I regret their actions or a particular policy being implemented by them – but the same is true of voters who put in Labour and Conservative governments in the past.

You take the good with the bad – that is what happens when you vote for a party and its manifesto.

But there are media outlets that will distort even a good news story rather than give credit to the SNP.

According to the majority of the mainstream media commentators the SNP has no redeeming features whatsoever; they will never, and I mean never, under any circumstances, print a positive word about them.

This from a press cohort who acted like cheerleaders for some of the most contentious legislation in the last decade, when people were being penalised for being poor, for being on benefits, for being disabled and some even for the sheer selfishness of having a spare room in their homes!

I suspect that the reason is simple – fear.

Ruth Davidson’s whole raison d’etre during the General Election was to avoid having another independence referendum; this is the driving force behind the media attacks on the SNP too.

They fear another plebiscite for the simple reason that they are convinced, with all that has happened since 2014, that they will lose.

The constant denigrating and belittling of Scotland, its government and, by extension, its people is a clear sign of this.

If they were convinced of their own repeated mantra that the people of Scotland do not want another referendum and would reject independence if there was one – then let’s get it over with!

Even the claim that this would be a distraction during the Brexit fiasco is feeble – with the way the negotiations are going, they need a distraction from the world class incompetence on show.

As a failed Scottish Labour branch manager (is there any other kind?) once opined about an independence referendum:”Bring it on!”
James Mills


No wrong path when you choose a course with the BBs

RECORD numbers of Scottish pupils gaining a place at university on exam results day was fantastic news. And while the pass rate for Highers had dipped slightly to 77 per cent from 77.2 per cent last year, we should rightly be proud of these young people.

In The Boys’ Brigade (BB), we believe every young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential – whether this be in the school or another setting.

This year we are delighted that over 50 BB young people took part in our flagship King George VI Youth Leadership Training (KGVI) course. Founded in the 1950s in memory of the monarch, KGVI has provided over 2400 young people with leadership skills.

The two-year KGVI course is SCQF Credit Rated by the SQA and provides a qualification while covering key aspects of Boys’ Brigade training to equip young leaders to lead activities in their local BB group, making a significant impact, using their time, talent and enthusiasm to make a difference to the next generation of BB members.

Significantly, this learning experience, and our youth awards, also allow young people to show and develop their skills, regardless of academic ability, which they can transfer into the workplace or further education.

Through our programmes and youth awards, we are committed to providing more opportunities for children and young people to excel, achieve and have fun.
John Sharp
Director for Scotland, The Boys’ Brigade
Carronvale House, Larbert

ONE is of course familiar with the various horror stories about trying to pass a note issued by a Scottish bank south of the Border.

However I recently encountered a new and puzzling twist to this familiar story. A friend of mine, who normally banks online, had been paid for a holiday rental in Scottish £50 notes issued by the Clydesdale Bank. As she was travelling early next day to England she decided that she should change them into English notes, for obvious reasons.

All the banks in Edinburgh that she tried refused to change them and advised her to go to a Clydesdale branch, being the issuing bank. This, though inconvenient, seemed vaguely logical and so she fought her way across Edinburgh through crowded streets to the nearest Clydesdale Bank. There however she was told that they could not change the notes as she didn’t have an account with them. Moreover, she was closely and suspiciously questioned as to how such a thing as a Clydesdale £50 note had come into her possession!

Eventually and reluctantly the teller agreed to change them “on this one occasion”, in her words, and as a special concession to an apparently law-abiding member of the public! But only with Bank of England £50 notes: nothing smaller was possible apparently. While not ideal for casual expenditure on her trip this seemed to be the only game in town. So my friend accepted this “special offer” and tottered off, more than a little bemused!

What puzzles me is why the Clydesdale Bank issues notes into general circulation in Scotland that they are then not prepared to honour across their own counter? Perhaps someone could explain?
Peter Craigie

THE finding of a study by Heriot-Watt University and the charity Crisis indicates that in the next 25 years homelessness will double, a real tragedy for so many and especially when children are involved (Warning over 50 per cent homeless rise by 2014, The National, August 10).

But is this problem much deeper than a shortage of affordable homes, could it be aggravated by the Westminster government’s austerity cuts and benefit sanctions, plunging many into poverty and despair? Those suffering benefit sanctions, in many cases due to no fault of their own, are expected to live on less than £50 a week, so is it any wonder they become homeless?

For those in this unfortunate situation of no secure home, something that everyone is surely entitled to, there must be a glimmer of hope as the Scottish Government secure the right to some welfare benefits that may assist instead of continually hammering those who are down.
Catriona C Clark
Banknock, Falkirk