ON reading George Kerevan’s RBS article, the closing of 62 Scottish branches and the Chancellor admitting he was “going to flog off the remaining public holdings in RBS at a loss”, I wondered whether Scotland’s taxpayers, having contributed to rescuing the bank, could claim its share by taking ownership of a number of these closure-threatened banks (The fiasco at RBS shows Scotland must be in charge of its own finances, The National, December 4).

Should this be possible, a proposed Scottish Investment Bank would have a number of existing bank premises already fitted out for banking. The problem, of course, is that Chancellor Hammond will likely grab a 100 per cent Westminster share of the premises, preferring to sell them to a foreign competitor, rather than helping Scotland.

Andrew D Mowatt

IF I was a Unite member I would be very concerned about the level of representation and support I would get from this union following their latest press release.

It’s not difficult for any member of the public to find out what are reserved and what are devolved matters; a simple search would give you a list of the relevant matters in seconds. However, an organisation such as Unite, which has poured millions into the Labour Party would be expected to know what is or is not devolved, so their press release calling on the Scottish Government to force the Royal Bank of Scotland to reverse their bank closure plans does not sound like either naivety or incompetence.

It sounds like a deliberate attempt to link the SNP Scottish Government with the closure of bank branches, tying them into the blame game and hoping that those who don’t know any better will give equal blame to the SNP as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Is no-one in Unite aware that the largest shareholder in RBS is the UK Government? Do they not watch the news? Yet again it looks like Unite has put its political allegiance to the Labour Party ahead of its support to its members.

I would urge all Unite members in Scotland to withdraw from that union’s political fund, or even resign and find another union that puts its members ahead of the political aspirations of its leadership.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren

LAST week BBC Scotland News reported a Tory MP saying broadband is Holyrood’s responsibility. In fact it’s Westminster’s. They also reported without comment or correction misleading claims by Richard Leonard about Scottish Water being a private company.

Today they are reporting the Unite union’s plea to the Scottish Government to reverse RBS branch closures. The BBC knows full well that the Scottish Government has no power over RBS. RBS ownership is by the Westminster government. The BBC are by implication trying to falsely pin the blame for these closures on the Scottish Government. The campaign of distortion has also spread to STV. One of their reporters even asked a highly respected academic who was supporting the Scottish Government on the Queensferry Crossing if he was a member of the SNP. When is comes to reporting, Pacific Quay seems to have abandoned respectability of sources. They will repeat any claim by any Unionist. The fact that a claim has been made is enough for them to reproduce it and demand the questions it raises be answered. When BBC reporters are called out on this, of course, they will claim to have “open minds” and abuse critics for apparently lacking same.

BBC Scotland reporters tend to commingle facts and speculation without distinguishing between the two and without assigning degrees of probability or of factuality.

There is no conspiracy. Nobody censors BBC reports. But that misses the point nobody has to tell the highly paid reporters what to say. Their is an anticipatory compliance without which no BBC reporter would ever be hired.

Alan Hinnrichs

WHAT hope is there for the Scottish Labour Party as long as UK Labour places returning to the days of Better Together with the Tories to save the Union ahead of the interests of Scotland after Brexit?

It will only go to show that there is still no difference between the Labour and Tory parties as far as Scotland is concerned.

Last week the deeply divided UK Labour Party joined with the UK Tories to vote down an amendment to this bill from their own Scottish Labour MP, Ian Murray.

Now they expect the Scottish Tories to revolt against their UK party leaders and vote with the UK Labour Party so that it can score a few political points.

Can Labour guarantee that all of their own MPs will go through the same lobby if the Scottish Tories do join them?

Perhaps if UK Labour took another tack, and instead of trying to continue the English-dominated “precious union” of Theresa May, decided to ensure Scotland would actually became an equal partner in the United Kingdom after leaving the European Union, more people would believe in Labour policy.

If UK Labour would throw its weight behind a special deal for Scotland, such as a couple of billion extra for investment and the guarantee of an open border with the EU after Brexit, similar to what is proposed in Ireland, it would go some way towards proving there is a really a “Scottish” Labour Party.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry