I AM retired and, sometimes I allow myself the time to follow the digital versions of various European (including English) newspapers. Not only the news, but also the “threads” which ensue afterwards. During the past few weeks, the following trends have attracted my attention amongst the English papers:

1. The English readers are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the Brexit negotiations are not going well. Not only are there warnings from Brussels, but also from major employers in the UK. English, Welsh and Scottish jobs could be affected and the voters don’t like that. The English are fed up with the Tories and Labour and look to another leader, but who? In other words, the English are searching in vain. If Brexit is a catastrophe, who will the Tories blame? Anybody except themselves! Maybe even Scotland because it wanted “out”?

2. After the row in the Westminster Parliament two weeks ago, English voters have suddenly realised that the Scots have a legitimate right to their own voice. The idea of a “United Kingdom” is becoming increasingly strange for English people. Many people on the threads of English digital newspapers are openly discussing a time when the UK does not any longer exist. How that’s going to happen is something that they have not thought about yet, but the fact that they are thinking about it must awaken us.

3. In many Continental countries authorities are actively warning and informing small and medium-sized companies about the dangers of a hard Brexit. Many in Holland, Belgium and France will bear the brunt of a hard Brexit, and they are already making plans to avoid the oncoming hardships. What is the English government doing? Still arguing.

If we truly want independence, now is the time to do something about it and form a pan-Scotland movement that will bring us that independence. Which currency, what kind of state do we want, there are loads of questions. Let’s start with the major issues like currency and form of state. Don’t let the English have a chance to launch a “Project Fear” again. We won’t swallow that again. We have enough clever brains in Scotland to come up with a New Scotland that will appeal to the majority of Scots.

I am 71 years old and I will walk to Edinburgh, if necessary, to collect my first Scottish passport!

Michael Eckersley
Address supplied

THE Tory plan for future trading with the EU exposes the fact that financial services is the power behind the throne. They don’t want any EU interference in regulation or in their obscene bonus systems where they set their own targets and get paid whether or not they achieve them.

Another element of the fudged “agreement” concluded at Chequers is how leaving the EU will allow us to trade with the rest of the world. We already have trade agreements with over 40 countries. How long will it take for the UK to reach that level? Mr Rees-Mogg wrote “it is our national good fortune that the president with whom we will develop new arrangements is Mr Trump”. Surely the UK didn’t vote to become the 51st state of the USA, which is the only way we are likely to win agreements in our favour under the present regime. What a mess!

Mike Underwood

READING about all the secretive Tory money sloshing about reminds me of the favourite political words “money tree”. It now seems that there is a veritable Tory orchard. One wonders if it is offshore, in Panama for example?

Jim Lynch

RBS must at least be congratulated on the swift evacuation of the buildings which for many years housed their banking affairs throughout our land.

Branches have been swiftly stripped of internal furnishings and external signage and little is left now to show for the years of use except another void in the high street. I witnessed the exit here in Selkirk and it was indeed a tour de force in efficiency. A huge trailer parked up and a team stripped the building with almost indecent haste. A short time later years of local banking disappeared and went off up the road in a puff of diesel.

As I watched the evacuation I pondered on the future of these buildings. I would imagine most of them have been in use for a goodly number of years and RBS must have had their money’s worth from them, and let’s face it the business from these premises was the foundation of the bank’s profitability before they got too big for their boots.

As yet no “For Sale” notice has appeared and presumably the branches will disappear into a portfolio to be sold when the price has gone up considerably.

While I watched the lorry depart I wondered if it might be possible for these closed branches to be given over to local organisations for community use. Would that not be a nice thing to do, RBS?

Jim Gibson