I AM beginning to think that coincidences are not actually all that rare, since last week’s Debate Night, mainly on shipbuilding, and Monday’s article on Fairtrade (How Scotland makes a difference by being a Fair Trade Nation, Mar 13), brought to mind the research I have been doing recently on family seafaring and a website I came across, which links to a visit I once made.

I was fascinated to find that there is a well-advanced project to bring back to the Clyde from Hawaii a four-masted sailing ship built in 1878, called the Falls of Clyde, which I once visited during a holiday when she was alongside the Honolulu Maritime Museum. From that time, and from a magazine I still have from that visit, I know that she is iconic in design, with a history of five lives, and the only one of her line still existing, and so I was delighted to realise that I may yet see her again on the Clyde. Her importance is confirmed by a large painting of her in the upper bar of the Glasgow Concert Hall.

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Not only that, but it seems that she will be restored and set sailing the seas again, carrying Fairtrade cargo and taking tourists round the Scottish islands – a 140-year-old sailing ship, fitted with hydrogen power, sailing again in a sixth life! With a heritage centre alongside, using only green power as planned, what better testament to the quality of Clyde shipbuilding could there be? Not only that, but a Clyde-built warship, which I believe served in the Falklands, has already become part of the plans, and eventually the old Tea Clipper Races could be reborn, with Glasgow as the world centre.

What a coup for Glasgow and the Clyde! It could become the only place in the world to have two Clyde ships built a century apart, the older seaworthy and sailing again, a new green business with all the skilled jobs and increased tourism, a visitor centre celebrating shipbuilding, and a huge contribution to our climate commitments.

I am sure that Glasgow City Council must be proud of the global prestige this project will give the city and whoever is the new FM will be only too keen to support this wonderful project. I cannot wait to see Falls of Clyde again, home to her birthplace.

L McGregor

I READ with interest Ruth Watson’s article (Mar 13) but wondered if she was aware of my late friend, Lorna Young, who was the first sales director of Cafedirect and worked for them and Equal Exchange in Edinburgh?

Lorna, from Eskdalemuir in Dumfriesshire, was the person who managed to persuade the big supermarket chains to stock Cafedirect in the early 90s. It was, as Ruth says, only a niche market at that time. Sadly Lorna died in 1996. She would have been delighted and amazed at the success of her early endeavours. The foundation which was set up in her name (www.lyf.org.uk) is still a strong voice for small fair trade farmers worldwide. She should not be forgotten.

Isabelle Gow

AS if it wasn’t bad enough running Scotland with hands tied behind our backs, carrying an over-lording Westminster which deliberately drains our resources to cover its unceasingly indulgent administration, we are now faced with the challenge of finding a new leader of the SNP Scottish Government to steer us forward as best they can toward our ultimate goal.

Having watched two televised hustings events, it is clear that the three candidates, like everyone else, were caught like rabbits in the headlights by Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement.

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The media are loving it! We have a rushed, chaotic campaign with questions pitched by seasoned establishment journalists exposing every weakness to their hearts’ content by placing Scotland in its weakest possible place right now. A distraction from the nonsense we actually wish to remove ourselves from if ever there was.

Scottish independence is about standing on our own two feet and helping others when we can and choose to do so. Currently others are helping themselves as they have always done and are determined to continue so doing, as they media feast on the campaign alongside the staples of royalty coronation, football and now the building up of steam toward the glitz and racket of Eurovision.

We need to get away from the nonsense. We can steer our own ship despite the demands of our parasitic neighbour with their hand on the wheel. Most importantly we need to remove that hand from the wheel so that the clarity of our ability becomes apparent.

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What I am saying is that our priority must be focus on gaining independence. It’s aye been the case that Scots can handle frugal resources, and it has been abundantly clear that with careful housekeeping on frugal allowances toward our services we have fared well against others since the SNP came to power.

Elect someone to steer us out of the Union mire toward a free sovereign state. This was, after all, my understanding of the Scottish National Party’s raison d’etre when I joined the party.

That person should then elect someone to lead the party in government and continue that good work steering the ship with a tight hand until the great day arrives.

Tom Gray