WHEN he kindly consented to read my play Bloody Difficult Women to check I hadn’t made any factual errors, Lord Pannick warned me it would be loved by everyone who approved of the cases he led against the governments of Theresa May and Boris Johnson over parliamentary sovereignty, and hated by all those who didn’t.

Naively perhaps, I clung to the notion it would be judged purely on the basis of whether it was good drama or not. Michael Billington – in my view, the pre-eminent theatre critic of our time – wrote that it was powerful stuff. Sir Ian McKellen came to see it and greatly enjoyed it, and so did the former Supreme Court judge Lady Hale during its current Edinburgh run. Even Geordie Greig – the former editor of the Daily Mail – applauded enthusiastically.

READ MORE: Bloody Difficult Women cries out for maturity in politics

Some newspapers, however, fulfilled Pannick’s prophecy. The fanatically pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph, where I’d once worked for more than a decade, declined even to acknowledge its existence, and, when I publicly asked its theatre critic why he would not review it either in London or at the Edinburgh Fringe, he blocked me on social media.

Now that the run of Bloody Difficult Women at the Assembly Rooms enters its final days – it has to close on Sunday – I should like to thank the people of Scotland for giving my play a chance and also its media, especially The National. Steph Brawn’s review (Aug 12) was thoughtful, well-written, and, for me, extremely moving. The letters you have been carrying about the play – most recently from Elaine Macdonald (Aug 21) – have all been generous-spirited.

Sir John Major has warned that south of the Border we are starting to give up on rational political discourse and even the idea of democracy itself, and, in a sense, the contrast in the way my play has been received in London and Edinburgh bears this out.

When I first came to the Edinburgh Fringe a decade ago, I know I was widely regarded by friends and colleagues as possibly the most boringly inoffensive Pringle-jumper-wearing middle-of-the-road character imaginable. I am now considered back home to be a dangerously radical playwright and no doubt an “enemy of the people.” I have not changed at all in those years, but our politicians have, beyond recognition.

My gratitude to the people of Scotland is heartfelt. You still have something very valuable – please don’t lose it.

Tim Walker
Writer, Bloody Difficult Women

THE Scottish Government’s concerns over the UK free trade deal with New Zealand and its impact on Scottish farming are well-founded.

This agreement will allow much higher quantities of produce to come into the UK tariff-free, meaning a lack of a level playing field between Scottish and New Zealand farmers, who can benefit from economies of scale.

This is in stark contrast to the European Union’s free trade agreement with New Zealand, which secures the same market access for it exports but with better safeguards for its domestic producers.

READ MORE: Ruth Wilson: The Scottish seed potato industry is being ravaged by Brexit

The deal will see 12,000 tonnes of New Zealand beef come into the UK, while the EU has agreed just 3,333 tonnes across all 27 member states. By year 15, the UK Government will increase the quantity to 60,000 tonnes, followed by an unlimited amount of beef after that, while the EU will cap imports at 10,000 tonnes and still apply a 7.5% tariff.

Yet again Brexit is shown to be the gift that keeps on giving, with the UK Government celebrating the fact that leaving the EU gives the UK the benefit of making “improved” trade agreements, but then ending up with a worse deal than if we had stayed in the EU.

Alex Orr

FARMS, farm workers and farmers are important contributors to our local, national and international economies. Each contribute their own knowledge and skills to bring in the crops. Well, that was before Brexit.

It is a more than a little disconcerting when I read that one of the staple foods, the humble potato, is at risk in Courier country. A local farmer just a wee bit north of Dundee has explained that the reduction in seed potato sales is hurting and support from Defra was verbal, telling farmers they needed to look for “new markets”.

READ MORE: Support for rejoining the EU skyrockets among voters in Scotland

Scottish seed potatoes are blocked from entering the EU due to Brexit. Scottish farmers cannot export, so searching for new markets England, which is close by, should be an easy step then. Not so!

Surprise, when it was discovered that due to a loophole in the Brexit legislation penned and signed by Lord Frost, chief Brexit negotiator, English farmers can import potatoes from the EU, and seem to prefer to.

Why is it, when we are allegedly a family, that English farmers not buying from Scots seed potato suppliers who have great product?

So thank you, Baron Frost of Allenton, Derby – you have shown your competence in negotiation.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus