FORMER train driver Alistair Watson talks of “revolutionising” Glasgow’s transport system (Destination unknown: Train driver turned politician Councillor Alistair Watson on how railways can once again revolutionise Glasgow, The National, August 2)

During the 1960s, George Leslie and the late Bill Lindsay led the City’s SNP group and had revolutionary proposals that were turned down by both Labour in Glasgow and their bosses in London. The SNP group produced a booklet with a map showing all the old pre-Beeching tunnels and railway bridges all over Glasgow that could be utilised by linking blue trains to the existing inner-city Underground. Anywhere else in Europe would give their eye teeth for such an unused asset. The Botanic Gardens still has the shell of an underground railway station from the old Kirklee line.

The article was accompanied by a picture of the old Maryhill railways station, from where I used to take the train to Singers in Clydebank, closed after the Garscadden by-election, despite the anti-SNP electoral propaganda of the time.

The line stretched much further, past Loch Lomond. The station was filled in to accommodate the English Co-Op. It took over the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society, which had chain outlets, factories and farms throughout Scotland, producing stuff from white goods to butter.

Labour, at that time, were more interested in guns than butter, as Harold Wilson welcomed the US Polaris up the Clyde. Labour vowed never to allow hypermarkets in the city, but gladly swapped the station for the English Co-op then sold it to a Tesco hypermarket.

Who is old enough to remember large Shieldhall factories producing boots and shoes, jam, etc or the farms in Ayrshire? The Co-Op’s fine headquarters building, almost sliced through by the Kingston Bridge, was also sold off to private developers.

Sitehill and Springburn were destroyed by the inner-city motorway and the rest of the inner-city clearances. When the proud railway works, which produced rolling stock and rails across every continent, were denationalised from London, they, like other denationalised Scottish industries, came back as private English companies.

The only way Glasgow will ever have an integrated transport system, or a proper reconstruction programme of housing, industry and services, is if it is taken out of the BritNats’ arc of austerity and put in the care of an independent Scottish Government.

Donald Anderson, Glasgow

BEFORE members of the SNP vote in the deputy leadership election, it is as well to be clear on what the key functions of the position might be – what exactly do we need the depute leader to do?

Angus Robertson is doing an excellent job as leader of our large group of MPs in difficult circumstances. He has presence and radiates confidence, sincerity and reliability.

Tommy Sheppard has a deep understanding of Scottish politics, especially of the left. He speaks and writes very well and could extend the appeal of the party beyond its core support.

Alyn Smith has the kind of international reputation and experience of the EU that will needed if we are to pursue membership successfully.

Chris McLeny knows the local government scene thoroughly and would be able to use his grassroots political experience to good effect in any future referendum.

We have a rich field of talent, so the question for members, it seems to me, is where the emphasis of the job should lie. Answer that and the choice should be clearer.

Peter Craigie, Edinburgh

It's hard to imagine a Scottish Six pushing the SNP line

A “SCOTTISH Six” as has been as suggested by a Westminster committee (MPS: No half-measures for BBC’s ‘Scottish Six’, The National, August 2) has, predictably, raised the hackles of some Unionists who issue warnings of SNP control of the BBC (Scotland branch) leading inevitably to independence.

The Scottish Government has been of an SNP tinge since 2007 and it would be well-nigh impossible to claim that it has greatly influenced the BBC to give it a positive hearing. On the contrary, according to the findings in 2013 of Professor John Robertson on Scottish broadcasting, the BBC was, along with others, anything but a tool of the SNP. And this was in a period before the latter stages of the independence referendum campaign when the full panoply of the state, including its pet broadcaster, was openly hostile to all things “separatist”.

It is difficult to take seriously claims by Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw that this will “push [SNP] propaganda down the throats of the public north of the Border”. Even if this were remotely true, in this digital age anyone who wishes to can avoid such “propaganda” can access the many London-based channels, including the 24-hour BBC News channel. They present the news filtered through London eyes, which he appears to prefer.

As to the cost of a Scottish Six, the BBC raised £320 million in Scotland last year but spent only £176m. This includes nominally Scottish programmes such as Question Time, so a little bit more on real Scottish content would not go amiss.

James Mills, Johnstone

FOR Scotland to be truly independent we must be self-reliant when it comes to energy as well as currency. If we have to import electricity from England, they will make sure we pay heavily for our independence. If wind and hydro are not enough, what way do we go? Should we be building gas-powered generating stations and drop the fixation with green energy?

Bob Neeson, Glasgow

DAVID Cameron should have chosen a career as a manhole inspector as he has sunk to the level of the cesspit since being gifted power by the treacherous LibDems in 2010. His farewell honours list for his cronies (including his wife’s stylist) would sicken the stomach of even a sewer rat.

This super-rich toff will always be remembered by the working classes for the suffering he inflicted on the most vulnerable in society through austerity. It’s disgusting to think that, while millions are heading to the food banks to help feed their families, Cameron’s grovelling yes men will be heading to the palace to receive their rewards for services to the Tory Party.

Diane Buick, Lanarkshire

G FOULIS is utterly wrong when he states that Highway Code Rule 64 (You must not cycle on a pavement) is not advisory (Letters, August 1).

In 1999, cycling on the pavement was made a fixed-penalty offence. However, the then Home Secretary Paul Boateng said: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road. Sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

Clearly he recognised there are times when, for safety reasons, people should be allowed to cycle responsibly on the pavement. Guidance should be issued on what constitutes responsible cycling. In my view this should be at a speed which allows control of the bike and which allows for evasive action to be taken in the vicinity of pedestrians, whose trajectory can be erratic and unpredictable.

When the Airdrie to Bathgate rail link was built, the old cyclepath was re-routed. Due to flooding, one section was never built. For around two miles it runs along the pavement before going on to a purpose-built track. By Mr Foulis’s logic I am breaking the law using that stretch, but, given I regularly see police cycling on the pavement here, I feel it’s unlikely they would give anyone a fixed penalty for doing so.

James Cassidy, Airdrie

Letters I: It's not true that all football fans feel targeted by the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act