THROUGH our Culture & Business Fund Scotland, Arts & Business Scotland was recently very proud to have been able to provide match funding for Richmond Oaks’s business sponsorship of the Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble’s summer tour of a newly commissioned play about mental health.

Against that background, we were deeply saddened to learn that, although this programme will go ahead, Scottish Youth Theatre will cease to operate on July 31 2018.

Scottish Youth Theatre has been a stalwart of the Scottish arts scene for over 40 years and has provided an exceptional creative platform for the country’s young performing arts talent. As such, its disappearance will come as a major blow to Scotland’s cultural scene and leaves a void that will be very hard to fill.

David Watt

Chief Executive, Arts & Business Scotland

IN your recent article (Royally hoodwinked over regal ship built in Scotland, The National, March 7) Martin Hannan stated that Scotland had never had a Queen Elizabeth reigning over us prior to Elizabeth II. This is a widely held view. In historical theory, this is known as a metanarrative – that is, a story told over and over again which passes from generation to generation. A story that is both inter-generational and trans-generational.

However, the question to be asked should be: is the metanarrative true?

The answer to that question is no. There was indeed a Queen Elizabeth, monarch of Scotland. Elizabeth was the second wife of Robert the Bruce, and during the Scottish Wars of Independence she was held captive by the English as a ransom against the Scots and Bruce in particular.

In his book On the Trail of Robert the Bruce, the late David R Ross provided the following extract regarding her tomb: “A monument erected to the memory of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, who died in 1771, had to be removed when a new church was built and a stone vault was discovered, in which lay the skeleton of a lady, with long hair. It is most likely that this was the body of Queen Elizabeth, the second wife of Robert the Bruce.”

WJ Graham

East Kilbride

HOW cringeworthy is Martin Hannan’s article. Rather than question the whole principal of spending such an unhealthy amount of money on military armaments, he decides the big controversy is the name.

We all know that UK actually means England and her subjugated devolved nations, but surely spending millions on Trident, selling military to questionable countries and still being active in the arms race is more worthy of analytical debate than this drivel.

Also to be so patronising as to say, and I quote: “the Royal Navy’s largest-ever ship was not named after our current and much-loved monarch”. Crikey, jings and help ma boab – what’s the world coming to?’ He knows she is not much loved and that the royals are the epitome of the class system Scotland will eradicate when independence arrives.

D Gill


YOUR article regarding the effectiveness of pine martens reducing grey squirrel numbers agrees with research carried out by RSPB in Ireland (Pine martens to save red squirrel numbers, The National, March 7). It was found making the habitat conducive to pine martens and encouraging them led to a reduction in grey squirrel numbers but had little effect on red squirrels.

The RSPB concluded that this was because red squirrels spend at least 85 per cent of their time in trees and can elude pine martens but grey squirrels spend a lot of time on the ground, a seen in many public parks.

Pine martens were hunted to near extinction as a pest. If we manage our countryside and near city areas to encourage the return of this effective predator we will see a concomitant reduction in the numbers of red squirrels.

Peter Mclaughlin


A FAIR work charter for workers affected by severe weather or other emergencies is an excellent initiative – which should not really be needed, of course (‘Fair work charter’ for staff hit by weather, The National, March 7).

It’s also encouraging to see collaboration between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

The latter is setting an example which I wish I thought the Labour Party might follow – putting their members’ interests first and getting something done instead of posturing and point-scoring.

S Fisk

East Ayrshire