THE coverage by the BBC of the SNP conference was abysmal. At great expense to the license-payer, the BBC arrived with an outdoor broadcast crew to interview Nicola Sturgeon. “First Minister, when do you intend calling a second referendum, and do you believe you have a mandate to do so, or will you require a second mandate from the people of Scotland?”

Back in the studio her answers were discussed. She was trying hard to avoid the topic, one reporter said. Oh, wait a minute, didn’t Ruth Davidson tell us the Tories had stopped independence in its tracks? And did Theresa May not say in her speech at the Tory conference there will be no second independence referendum in Scotland? It seems the BBC is obsessed with something that doesn’t exist.

The people of Scotland would be better served if the BBC concentrate on what is being said on stage at the SNP conference. Speaker after speaker on health, education, the economy – all well respected in their field – telling us what an SNP government was doing in support of these services and how they were working hand in hand with councils and unions in an effort to mitigate Tory austerity policies that are blighting our country.

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With only 15 per cent of welfare and 24 per cent of taxation under the control of the Scottish Government and Scotland having the only police and fire services in the UK paying VAT, there is a limit as to how far Scotland can progress under the present arrangements.

The firebrand Mhairi Black shot from the hip but alas is far too liberal with the truth to be put in the limelight. As for the deputy leader of the party Angus Robertson, Andrew Kerr managed to waffle for the duration of his speech. Good old Aunty.

Walter Hamilton, St Andrews

WE were delighted to see Nicola Sturgeon announcing at the SNP conference that the Scottish Government will legislate to ensure young care leavers will be granted an exemption from paying council tax.

This announcement comes exactly a year after she announced a root and branch review of care, aimed at challenging the decades of inequality that care experienced people have faced. It’s an excellent sign that we are not waiting until the end of this review for action to be taken, and this immediate attempt to fix current inequalities is a great step forward.

When a young person leaves care and moves into independent accommodation they begin to manage their own budget fully for the first time. In this context, council tax debt can be a particularly frightening experience. What can start out for many care leavers as falling slightly behind can very quickly escalate to a court summons and enforcement action being taken.

To exempt care leavers from council tax payments is a very positive step in addressing the very real issues of poverty and debt which blight the lives of far too many of this group of vulnerable young people.

The current Independent Review of Care has the capacity to make a radical change to how people are cared for in Scotland. Whilst exempting care experienced young people from council tax is a great leap forward, we hope we can be bolder still in our ambitions.

Our great hope is that at the conclusion of the Care Review the current inequality that care experienced young people face won’t exist.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:

Tom McGhee, chairman, Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland

Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred Scotland

Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School

Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations

DOESN’T Labour MP Danielle Rowley describing Mhairi Black’s speech to the SNP conference as an “embarrassing rant” beggar belief?

What is really embarrassing is the shambolic government in Westminster which is seriously trashing our nation’s reputation. So too is the complete capitulation to Brexit by Ms Rowley’s party, despite its policy being to remain.

And what could be more embarrassing than Labour in Scotland telling voters to vote for Tories, and for the party to then sanction Labour/Tory council administration deals. My worker-forebears wouldn’t just be embarrassed, they must be turning in their graves at such duplicity.

Perhaps Ms Rowley may care to explain Jeremy Corbyn’s hypocrisy over Scotland’s self-determination, which he would deny despite his avowed support for Palestinians’, and others’, self-determination. Corbyn knows only votes from Scots could ever see Labour in government again, so no independence for Scotland, because it impinges on his interests. What Labour politicians find unpalatable is that Mhairi Black’s speech is a beacon for truth in a cesspit of politicking by vested interests; describing her speech as a rant is the last, infantile, resort of those with no argument. The fact is, I am not only embarrassed at what Westminster is doing, supposedly on my behalf, I am deeply ashamed.

We Scots are in divergence with the shenanigans at Westminster. Ms Rowley and her party are equally in divergence from the aspiration of Scots. In a democracy we have a right to decide how we want to be governed. Denying a referendum to determine this is a fundamental breach of that democracy.

Jim Taylor, Edinburgh