A HUGE congratulations to SNP youth in winning success for their resolution at the SNP conference to raise the recruitment age for the military to 18. For many years the UN, many children’s charities, all the children’s commissioners, and advisory bodies have been calling for this action. At last we may soon join all other countries in the developed world in taking this step.

The damning evidence of how under-18 recruits suffer disproportionately compared to those recruited at 18 and over was made clear from the recent MEDACT report. Sadly, the military hierarchy ignored this report.

We must now do all we can to stop the way the armed forces go into schools in their attempt to influence children. They do not actually recruit on those occasions but they are certainly making every effort to win over minds to the idea. Once again well done to the SNP who have helped Scotland – yet again – to give a lead to the rest of the UK.

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Tony Martin
Gullane

I READ with some amazement that SNP members voted for raising the age of recruitment to 18.

This must go down as one of the daftest motions ever passed. We want our 16-year-olds to vote, we let them get married, start work, pay tax, and take a full part in society – and rightly so. Then we tell them you’re not old enough to join up and help defend your country. So much for making them responsible citizens.

Did those who voted for this really understand what they were saying about 16-year-olds? Like it or not, the armed services have saved many 16-year-olds from a dysfunctional life. If we want our 16-year-olds to play a full part in society then we must allow them to take part in all of its institutions.

There are other ways that can be put in place if you feel that frontline combat is not a place for them.

Bryan Auchterlonie (ex services)
via text

I HOPE I’m not the only person to be cynical about Sunday’s “Unity” demonstration in Barcelona. The BBC’s correspondent reported that the roads leading to the city were almost impossible to travel because so many buses, carrying unionists from parts of Catalonia and other regions of Spain, were parked outside the city.

The demonstration was exuberant, included people of all ages, and all of the people interviewed spoke enthusiastically about feeling both Catalan and Spanish. Also, the demonstration was peaceful. Of course it was: the police had not been instructed by Mariano Rajoy, at all costs, to prevent them articulating their political preferences.

I am at one with Christian Allard, whose long letter appeared on October 9. Citing Ada Colau Ballano’s plea for support of the Catalan Referendum, he reported her saying “what has happened violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of all of us”. Mr Allard continues: “She is right. Today it is Catalunya but tomorrow it may be anywhere if we tolerate it”.

No-one denies it may be that only 40 per cent of Catalans support independence from Spain so any intelligent leader would have allowed a vote which might have proved that there is no majority appetite for independence. But Rajoy, and political leaders like him, eg, Assad, are not interested in any kind of democracy. They are interested in asserting their control of the countries under their dominance and in this they are supported by pusillanimous or self-interested countries which have a similar fear of democratic ideas and voices.

There is a lot of coverage in today’s edition about the possibility of and/or the timing of a second independence referendum. But Theresa May has decreed that, “now is not the time” and Nicola Sturgeon has accepted that. Also, in her speech to the Tory Party conference May “rejected” it. If and when we go ahead then, we should know two things: Theresa May will not agree to indyref2 and, like Catalonia, we could expect absolutely no support for one from the EU nor any recognition of its result, no matter how clear – unless, of course, it favours the Union.

The British establishment will have been encouraged by Rajoy’s cover-up of the brutal suppression of democracy, aided by the EU. They know now they have nothing to lose by suppressing our voices.

Lovina Roe
Perth

“BALL in EU’s court” says Theresa May (The National, October 9). One wonders what is happening in No 10. Is it aiming to shift blame on to the EU because it is not being fair and acceding to No 10’s entitlement to discuss trade before exit matters have been concluded?

So far, nothing substantive has come from David Davis’s team on the three key issues and it looks like constructive ambiguity is still in place. Change of tone from Theresa May has been noted, but she still said no deal is better than a bad deal.

The lady who stated haughtily she could be b***** difficult, as well as strong and stable, has now simply deflated. She is now within her party weak and vulnerable. When talk is about how long she might stay then the ground is already shifting.

Throwing in the towel, as May has now done, is an admission of inadequacy. No10 has failed even to formulate substantive proposals. The UK Government opted to give up its favourable bespoke relationship within the EU. The EU will simply sit it out and the UK will have to accept the consequences of its folly.

John Edgar
Stewarton