WE were really pleased to hear Hannah Bardell MP say at the SNP conference that Scotland should develop its own trade policy (Scotland should have trade policy, says MP, The National, October 11).

With a well-thought-out trade policy, Scotland could avoid the pitfalls of the new wave of global trade deals (such as the controversial EU-US trade deal TTIP) that are stacked in favour of corporations at the expense of consumer standards, the environment, workers’ rights and public services.

The Trade Justice Scotland Coalition (which Global Justice Now is a member of, together with 25 other organisations) has come up with a set of principles that we think a decent trading system should be based on. So to help develop Scotland’s policy on trade, here are a few ideas for how it might look.

First off, the focus should be on trading goods, not services. So public services should be completely excluded from trade deals.

Trade deals should contain clauses that prohibit the lowering of standards in areas such as environmental protection, food safety, animal welfare, workers’ rights etc. In fact we’d go further and say that trade agreements should commit the participating countries to raise standards to the highest common denominator.

Trade agreements should comply with international commitments, including on human rights, labour and climate change – and if there is a conflict then trade rules should be subordinate. There should be no place for so-called “corporate courts” which currently give multinational companies special rights to sue governments for policy decisions that they claim threaten profits.

And of course, the whole system must be transparent, open to scrutiny and under democratic control – in contrast to the current system of passing trade deals in which the UK Government gives parliamentarians almost no say. There is so much scope for Scotland to go above and beyond the UK Government’s current trade policy and to show that trade can be a positive thing – and something that can spare us all from Trump’s dreaded chlorinated chickens!
Liz Murray
Head of Scottish campaigns, Global Justice Now

IT is really good news that there is to be a National Investment Bank for Scotland (Scottish National Investment Bank could support 50,000 jobs and save billions, The National, October 12). I will be among the first to put my spare cash into it. I am going to start saving now.

I would like to see it called the “NIBS”. When I was a boy my mother who had a sharp tongue and was loyal to her Labour Party husband called the SNP the “Snipies”. The sound of words is important. “Snap, snep, snip, snop and snup” are ugly sounds. Try ending with the alphabet and see what emerges: “Snac, snaf, snag, snar, snat, snaz.” “Snug” is one of the few happy ones. Words beginning with “sn” are generally not good. How about “liberal” and “conservative” and “socialist”. They have a civilised ring. NIBS is a good name. You feel your money will be safe and doing the great things that it will surely do.
Victor Moncrieff

THERESA May has steadfastly refused to admit that as a leader of the Remainers in June 2016, she is now, as the leader of the Leavers, prepared to revert to her first position if the referendum were to be re-run. This latter is of course an unlikely scenario, but it does illustrate how ludicrous her position is and her hiding behind “I do not answer hypothetical questions” is fooling no-one.

She is adamant Westminster will respect and honour all commitments properly made to the EU when or before we leave. One commitment entered into by Westminster was the Scotland Act, but she is equally adamant in refusing to honour the commitment that all powers repatriated from Brussels and not reserved to Westminster will automatically pass to the devolved government of Scotland. How honourable is that? In reality, one, and only one course of action will guarantee fair treatment for the Scottish people: independence. This is as obvious to Westminster as it is to Holyrood.
John Hamilton

THE immediate danger to Scotland is Brexit: not only for the obvious economic reasons but for the British attempt to reduce and undermine devolution. I wonder if those in Scotland who voted Leave saw this coming and what they think now. However, we have to acknowledge that the Westminster Government be it Red Tory or Blue Tory will use Brexit to undermine and shackle Holyrood by attempting to be the sole arbitrators of what powers they think we should have. The danger for Scotland is that people will sleepwalk into this particular Brexit trap. I trust Mike Russell and his team to stand up for devolution on the exact terms that were agreed by all. It is our responsibility to ensure that happens and that Brexit does not turn out to be the death knell of Scotland’s parliament.
Bryan Auchterlonie

WHAT a fantastic speech from Mhairi Black at SNP conference. Some of our older (and wiser?) SNP parliamentarians should be made to sit down and listen to this speech until their ears bleed then get some backbone and follow her lead. Another dozen like her and independence will be a doddle.
Michael Mcdermott
Old Kilpatrick