ONCE again, I found myself agreeing with most of what Carolyn Leckie wrote in her column about the Machiavellian activities of Roger Stone. (Davidson has learned much from the alt-right”, The National, September 4)

Leckie identifies the economic and social devastation created by unrestricted “de-industrialisation, urban decay and depopulation” of the Rust Belt of the US, and the same happened all over Britain and indeed Europe. I agree with her that the same international cartel may well be manipulating the predictable, and long overdue, backlash from those who are suffering the consequences of neoliberal economics.

But Ms Leckie leaves the problem there, limiting her attack on these international “financiers” to Ruth Davidson’s creative duplicity in apparently championing the need for more houses to be built, obscuring the fact she only means expensive private housing which will benefit already wealthy Tory backers.

It is a good example of ring-wing sophistry, but Ms Leckie avoids dealing with a crucial issue. Those of us who oppose the anti-democratic, ruthless application of neoliberal economics must evolve effective strategies to fight it. Simply observing and criticising their machinations is not enough.

I have written before that many of the people who support independence but voted for Brexit were registering their opposition to the neoliberal policies pursued by the EU. I believe that the manipulation so clearly described by Ms Leckie is responsible for this objection being glossed and smeared with the poison of xenophobia. It’s been very cleverly done. Hopefully Ms Leckie’s next column will offer some insight into how democrats can defeat the “lavishly funded right-wing think tanks and social media campaigns” which have successfully undermined justified opposition to the exploitation of millions of working people robbed of their jobs and small local businesses . I look forward to reading it.

Lovina Roe

DEAR Sir/Madam,

I would like to submit my application for the post of leader of the Labour Party in Scotland (branch manager), although I appreciate it is only a short to medium-term role, likely to last around six to 12 months.

I was born and raised in Haringey and align closely with the policies of our leader, Jeremy Corbyn. I am confident that, once you read my comments on how I would approach the job, as detailed below, you will agree that I should at least be shortlisted from the two or three applications that will undoubtedly flood in over the coming weeks and months.

1) I believe in strong defence against the ever present threat posed by Daesh and would therefore fully support the purchase of the next-generation of nuclear deterrent from our parent country, the USA.  Obviously, this should be maintained in north Britain as far away from the real centres of population in the south-east and London as possible.

2) I would fully support our party’s decision to vote with our friends the Conservative and Unionist Party – or at very least abstain in all matters relating to the continuation of Tory austerity.

3) I would undertake to use the following phrases at every opportunity: “SNP bad”; “unwanted and divisive referendum”; “get on with the day job”; and “SNP cuts”.

4) I would castigate the SNP government for not mitigating the austerity policies instigated by our Tory friends, which are fully supported by our head office.

5) I believe immigration should be brought firmly under control (British jobs for British workers) and to that end, fully support head office in its wish to leave the EU but to now remain within the single market and customs union, because that’s what our focus groups are telling us the people want.

I am available for immediate interview and look forward to your response with anticipation. Yours and London’s obedient servant.

Alan L Calder
East Ayrshire,
North Britain

THE outstanding candidate for a Scottish Labour leader is surely Theresa May. In three short weeks, she transformed Jeremy Corbyn from someone described by the majority of his parliamentary colleagues as totally unelectable into a new political messiah. And, best of all for Labour, with the current mood in the Conservative Party, May could be available on a Bosman.

Joseph G Miller

I HAD the pleasure of walking over the Queensferry Crossing on Saturday and it was a wonderful experience. The organisation of the walk was first class as everything went smoothly. Scotland should be proud of this magnificent engineering achievement.

Patrick Fallon
Thornton Heath,

CAN anyone explain why STV keeps showing England’s football matches? If it can’t show Scotland games live, why are we being subjected to this? I find it insulting. Next time England have a game, I think I’ll watch Braveheart again – that should do it.

Bryan Auchterlonie

MIGHT the Duke of Sutherland’s statue be made more relevant by the addition of a plinth below the level of his feet, showing representatives of those affected by his clearances. For example, a child with imploring arms outstretched upwards, and her downcast mother glancing towards the west in fear and hope.

RW Millar
Address supplied