AT Monday’s Brussels meeting between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker, our Prime Minister made the astounding blunder of proceeding without the consent of her party’s informal coalition partner, the DUP. She compounded this major error by being closely involved with Dublin over the subject matter of the meeting. This, in blunt truth, is totally loathsome to the DUP.

A one-off error, even one of this magnitude, might be put down to the massive pressures to reach a deal under which May now labours. However, she has no real excuse because she has repeatedly made the error of ignoring the will of all three of the devolved assemblies.

Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh equivalent Carwyn Jones are now close political allies over Brexit when a skilful PM could have “divided and conquered”. Jones, after all, was formerly highly suspicious of the Scottish Government’s desire for independence, possibly fearing the contagion might spread to Wales.

And May, after her disastrous choice to call an election in June, was then humbled by the DUP when she presumed they would fall into a coalition without first ensuring they were fully on board and agreeing the hard cash sums involved. These two examples, and there are quite a few more, demonstrate May’s disdain for devolution.

May’s incompetence is astounding and yet she survives. She may even use Monday’s humiliating failure to argue in Cabinet that all of the UK should get the deal that the DUP rejected and stay in “regulatory alignment” with the EU, or in plain language, stay in the customs union and largely within the single market.

Could the Cabinet Brexiteers fall into line over that one? Boris Johnson, self-serving and unprincipled, could live with it if he chose to, but the fanatics, Michael Gove and Liam Fox, will resign. After that, the government might well fall but Tory Remainers, in and outwith Cabinet, will push for another EU referendum instead. Interesting times – le crunch is coming and quite possibly a whole lot sooner than I for one expected.
David Crines

AT the time of writing (December 5), Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has released a statement in which she explicitly sides with the DUP against the Prime Minister over the question of the Irish border and a bespoke Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.

Ms Davidson writes the following: “If regulatory alignment in a number of specific areas is the requirement for a frictionless border, then the Prime Minister should conclude this on a UK-wide basis.” That’s an enormous (but not remotely surprising) volte-face from a person who ran a passionate and articulate campaign to remain in the EU, before buying a first-class ticket for doomed ship Brexit. For her, self always comes before side.

But let that sink in. The leader of the Tories in Scotland sides with the DUP and specifically calls for Scotland not to get a differentiated deal which would help our economy and which would recognise that Scotland voted to remain in the EU, and that 90 per cent of Scottish businesses wish to remain in the single market at the very least. She puts party ideology ahead of Scottish interests. We can only assume that this is the official Scottish Conservative line, and must call this out for what it is: a deliberate and blatant attempt to weaken Scotland.

The new Scottish MPs have repeatedly failed to live up to their promises to stand up for Scotland. They failed to demand Scotland’s £2.9 billion of Barnett consequentials due after the DUP deal. They voted to trigger Article 50 despite representing constituencies that voted to remain. On Monday, they even voted down each and every amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill designed to protect the Scottish devolution settlement. This is an anti-Scottish party that votes against the interests of its own people at every available opportunity and whose leader, when the going gets tough, goes into hiding.

So my question for the Scottish Conservatives is as follows:

“Would you support a differentiated deal that allowed Scotland to remain in the single market even if other parts of the UK did not?”

If the answer is “no”, then we have 13 MPs who put party ideology ahead of the interests of the people of Scotland. So we must ask these supplementary questions: If they cannot stand up for us now, then when? And, quite simply, what are they for?
Alec Ross
Lochans, Stranraer

WELL done to Ian Waugh (Reader Ian has done his ‘National Service’, The National, December 5) on his innovative idea to promote The National by delivering free copies of the paper to potential readers. It seems such a good idea that I’m surprised it hasn’t been tried before.

I’m sure The National has a strong and committed readership. Not only will the vast majority be committed to Scottish independence but many will have experience of campaigning to support this cause, including targeting information to their local neighbourhoods and trying to persuade people to come on board.

So why not use those readers who would be happy to put in an hour or so to deliver some free copies of the paper in the hope that this will encourage other people to join our ranks?
Councillor Kenny MacLaren