IN a time of tremendous upheaval and disconcerting unpredictability, as the leaking ship of the British state – adrift on a sea of muddled mayhem and piloted by a hapless array of clueless Tory goons – is dragged ever more perilously into the maelstrom of Brexit bedlam, it is a treat, devoutly to be relished, to hear words of reassuring sense enter the political realm.

Contending with the mindless ranting of Tories devoid of cognitive sentience, Michael Russell – the Scottish minister charged with the unenviable task of trying to reason with the cloddish irrelevance that is David Mundell – declared defiantly: “Our primary duty is to serve the people of Scotland and protect their interests. It is our obligation – it is, indeed, our duty – to protect the devolution settlement the people of Scotland voted for.”

We can be sure that the Scottish Parliament – re-established on the initiative of the people of Scotland – and the devolution settlement – brought into being in September 1998 by the decisive endorsement of the people of Scotland – are being safeguarded by Scotland’s ever faithful SNP government.

The European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill introduced yesterday will protect the Scottish Parliament from Westminster’s baleful “power grab” of devolved powers and secure devolution against the Tories’ intolerable imbecility.

The Scottish Government, committed to the advancement of Scotland’s interests, is doing its utmost to shield the people of Scotland from the disastrous damage caused by a contemptible Tory government and a Brexit that they did not support.

In contrast to the wanton negligence of inane Tory politicians unprepared for the deleterious consequences of their blunders, the Scottish Government offers responsible governance.

Brexit is a financial hardship and a constitutional complication forced upon the people of Scotland against their will. It falls to Scotland’s stalwart government to provide the remedy for an abominable turmoil of Westminster’s making. Yet again, it is the SNP government which responds to the Brexit babel with competent, sure-footed leadership.

Pierce-Patrick Hynes

IT was intriguing to note both the British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, touring radio and TV studios to herald the increases in trade the UK has experienced with countries outwith the European Union. This included the likes of Japan and South Korea.

What was surprisingly not mentioned by these gentlemen was that this increase is largely due to the very fact that we are members of the EU, which has trade arrangements with these nations. There is, for example, a free trade agreement with South Korea, provisionally applied since 2011. Indeed, the EU has about 80 trade agreements either in place or partly in place, including with the likes of South Africa and Russia, and 18 being negotiated, including with China, Brazil and India. Many of these have taken years to be concluded, and that is with an EU market of 500 million people representing the world’s second-largest economy.

The UK tearing itself out of the EU means not only are we removing ourselves from the largest single market in the world, with the economic impacts this brings, but we also have to begin lengthy negotiations to strike trade deals with those very same countries.

Alex Orr

BRYAN Auchterlonie (Letters, February 28) expresses the fear that “those opposed to EU membership” might vote against Scottish independence if membership of the EU was part of the deal and he is right to worry about this.

Kevin McKenna’s article, (Many of us on the left have forgotten what it was we did not like about the EU, The National, February 28) deals articulately – I wouldn’t say vociferously – with what many independence supporters have against the EU. I do not want to side with the Rees-Moggs of this world but neither do I want to associate myself with its Jean-Claude Junkers.

So, unless the SNP government provides clear answers to the points in Mr McKenna’s article, there is a problem. Mr McKenna wonders how many “dark nights of the soul” Jeremy Corbyn underwent to agree to Monday’s change of policy on Brexit by the Labour Party and he reminds us that Cat Boyd abstained from voting in the EU referendum because she could not “hold her nose” and vote Remain, and her dilemma is shared by many independence supporters in Scotland, including myself.

I think I would still vote for an independent Scotland but if, as it seems at the moment, doing so would ask me to choose between being governed from Brussels or Westminster, both strongly supporting the dominance of international banks and multinational companies, it would be a difficult decision. The ball is in the SNP’s court. I hope it can allay our fears and do so soon.

Lovina Roe

I SEE Vodafone and Nokia are working on plans to get a 4G mobile network on the moon in 2019. While that might be good news for moon base alpha and any passing astronauts, what about first getting a decent 4G service across the whole of Scotland? It seems strange that Vodafone customers can’t get 4G in many parts of this country yet they think there is a demand for such a service on the moon – maybe Scots buy fewer mobile phones than the Clangers?

Cllr Kenny MacLaren