WATCHING the situation in Catalonia just now makes it abundantly clear that the UK Government only allowed the 2014 vote to take place because it had total control.

For a start they were pretty sure that they had a winning hand and a majority of the support. Unlike Catalonia, most of the cards were stacked in the UK’s favour. They controlled the media, three out of the four main parties in Scotland were all branch offices of Westminster parties, headed up by Unionists who get well rewarded. Their MSPs get to fill nearly half of Holyrood because of the list system. In addition, the vote was carried out by the UK electoral commission.

Spain, on the other hand, has no control over the media and the local police are pretty much under the control of the Catalonian government. The next referendum is still at least 18 months off so we have to hit the ground running and build momentum now. I, for one, would like to see our argument rebranded.

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It is easy for the intellectually lazy to argue Scottish nationalism is evil and they find it easy to tar our civic nationalism with the same type of nationalism as 1930s Germany. However, if we declare ourselves sovereigntists they have no argument.

The right of a people to self-govern is fundamental and enshrined by the UN. Let’s see the UK Government argue that the Scottish people are not fit to make decisions for themselves and watch the mask fall to show the face on colonialism.

When the time comes we cannot settle for anything less that the ballot being held under the oversight of the UN/EU, including all monitoring of the media and zero interference from the UK Government.
Mark Breingan

WHILE I concur with much of what Selma Rahman wrote about a road map to independence (Letters, September 28), I must take issue with her over the myth that the EU was somehow responsible for Greece being “reduced to begging-bowl status”.

Yes, Greece’s economy was in a dire condition, but the blame for this does not lie with the EU; it sits squarely on the shoulders of its government through economic mismanagement and, in particular, its failure to properly collect the taxes due and necessary to fund the country’s spending.

While Ms Rahman suggested the EU as the progenitor of this failure, the EU was in fact the provider of the support mechanisms through financial restructuring, supported by the 28 members of the Union, that will buy the time needed to encourage the nation’s recovery.

The conditions placed on Greece are merely those required to achieve this that any fiscally responsible country is practising anyway.

Rather than the EU being the bogey-man, its response to Greece’s difficulties highlights a valuable support mechanism that membership of the EU brings its members.
Jim Taylor

I USED to be a Labour supporter until I became scunnered with Tony Blair’s brand of New Labour.

I am now a committed SNP supporter but I still see much worth in what Corbyn said in his speech.

What is worth pointing out is that virtually everything Corbyn said at conference is already SNP policy and in fact a great deal of it has already been implemented by the SNP government.

If Scotland had independence we would be able to fully implement the policies we need to reverse the Tory austerity and to finally invest in all the areas needed to improve the lot of the Scottish people. Running a country is expensive whoever is in government. It is how the money is spent that matters. The Tories are making a hash of things for the ordinary people of the UK.

Westminster Labour would do a far better job for England whilst the SNP would be great for an independent Scotland.
Harry Key

IT worries me that the article by Martin Hannan could be taken by as some as saying sectarianism in Scotland is split down the middle – ie, Catholic/Protestant, Celtic/Rangers (Sports fans of the world take a knee, The National, September 26).

When one studies the history or lives in a society that tip-toes around the subject of discrimination and anti-catholic/Irish views we come to the truth. But surely it is the case that bigots should tip-toe around free-thinking and liberal people – rather than the other way round? Mr Hannan seems clued up on the behaviour on both sides who cannot see further than right or left hand. But it is the duty of all who wish to see an independent Scotland free, with an outward vision, to attack the pernicious underbelly of anti- Catholic/Irish views that prevail.

A plethora of Orange walks and countless acts of violence against people who may have connections with Ireland or a certain football club still go on. Remaining silent or turning a blind eye is every bit as bad. The Irish diaspora has never quite been accepted or allowed to fully integrate, as in other countries such as Canada or the US. This can only change when we categorise sectarianism properly.

Yes, all forms of bigotry are reprehensible but we must distinguish between perpetrators and victims to eradicate it from society.
David Gill
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