PRITI Patel and Boris Johnston, our two representatives abroad, are in a mess of their own incompetence, symptomatic of the implosion round the Cabinet table (Johnson and Patel cling on to jobs, The National, November 8). The PM, too, stands accused of having no hold on foreign affairs outwith Brexit and selling arms to dictators and authoritarian regimes, like the Saudis. And Brexit so far has stalled and all one hears from Theresa May are bland wooden assurances and constant references to Lancaster House and Florence speeches without further substance. One omits to focus on Liam Fox as he has already cut a comic figure.

In particular, it is risible that Patel is still in office after promising on her own initiative to give funds to the Israeli army. She also had a wide range of meetings arranged by a Lord friend of Israel crammed into a holiday. Or else she was a go-between and it has come unstuck!

The whole Patel affair is a comic circus. Yet, Theresa May says no harm has been done.

As the wider ship of state teeters on the Paradise Papers revelations where the ennobled, privileged and royal personages are being found out across the Westminster spectrum and in the palace itself, the ethical bankruptcy of the UK elites and so-called celebrities is now clear to see. Each day brings new revelations. The heir to the throne has been named and the Dukes of Westminster past and present are also mentioned.

What conclusions can be drawn? And more to the point how does the wider populace, the proverbial silent majority now react? Passively accept the actions of our noble “superiors”?

We deserve better than the elites currently in government across both Houses of Parliament and in the House of Windsor. The absolutist monarchs and governments 100 years ago in imperial Germany, Austro-Hungary and Tsarist Russia abdicated after outcry and protest by incensed populations.

It is time to stop tugging forelocks here.
John Edgar

ON a first reading of Linda Horsburgh’s letter (The National, November 7) some of your readers may find her comments alarmist and scaremongering. Not me! I think her observations are incisive and thought-provoking and highly relevant in these times.

I am no expert on constitutional matters and the relative merits of devolved and reserved powers but I do have a horrible feeling that our government is missing a trick. In the absence of a written Constitution there must be enormous scope for a creative interpretation of what is and is not allowed. If the basis of our unwritten “constitution” is precedent and past practice then surely we have the power to shape and change it.

I have said before that the Yes movement must demand more of the SNP. There is absolutely no point in waiting for a Section 30 Order: it is not coming any time soon and certainly not before Brexit is a fait accompli. Why did we not just go ahead with a referendum when we had 56/59 SNP MPs, and dare Westminster to deny it or refuse to recognise it? Regrettably that particular opportunity has gone forever and we must look to other means of winning our freedom.

Personally, I have no confidence that a referendum, “legal” or otherwise, could be arranged and conducted in any reasonable timescale that would allow Scotland to remain in Europe. Much better that we go in for the kill at the 2021 Holyrood election by making it our “ de facto” independence referendum. Who knows we might even get an earlier kick at the ball if there is another snap Westminster General Election. In that event also we must make it a manifesto demand for independence and the dissolution of Crown and Parliament. Thereafter we would have the option of joining EFTA as a holding measure while we consider the options for rejoining the EU.

On a final note I would urge all fellow travellers not to dismiss Linda Horsburgh’s comments as alarmist and exaggerated. You only have to look at what is happening in Catalonia right now, the failure of the EU to get involved and the deafening silence from Westminster to realise what the forces of Unionism are capable of. Right on our doorstep we have the threat of a hostile and arrogant UK and their readiness to use European withdrawal to implement a power grab of the “repatriated powers” from Europe. This could lead to the enfeebling of Holyrood and the final and total absorption of Scotland into UK.
JF Davidson

REGARDING the branding of Scotch whisky as “British”, Peter Craigie (Letters, The National, November 7) speculated on the Scotch Whisky Association changing its name to the British Whisky Association.

It seems they are already working on that idea and I quote Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, who, in The National, October 12, called for a cut in tax as this would be a boost for a “great British success story”.

Karen went on to describe whisky as “a world famous UK manufacturing industry.”

So there you have it folks, the SWA not only supports the Britishisation of Scotch whisky but actively promotes the plan.
Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry

NO taxation without representation. Fine?

No representation without taxation. OK?

Did you get that, your Royal Highnesses?
Richard Easson