HAVING attended The Gathering 2 in Stirling’s Albert Halls on November 24, which was based on varying aspects of the Sustainable Growth Commission, I am left with more confidence than ever before that our destiny as an independent nation is only a matter of logistics to be realised. It cannot be stopped now. If anyone needs to be convinced, just look down the Noticeboard column in Thursday’s National at the variety of speakers and activities – which also included celebrations for St Andrew’s Day. In Stirling alone we have a YesStirling group, Women For Independence and, of course, an SNP branch. See this replicated throughout the country.

The numbers at The Gathering and the various groups supporting independence equals people ... individuals of conviction giving of their time to energise a movement towards self-fulfillment for everyone who calls Scotland their home, irrespective of place of birth. Scotland has all of the resources it needs to meet the high ideals of a just and caring society. It is rich in its people of intelligence and technical know-how; rich in its land and seas.

I can recall the “fear factor” of events leading up to our indyref in 2014 now being enacted down south. Well, we’ve come a long way in the interim period and I don’t think we can be dissuaded by that ruse again.

Hamish MacPherson in the Sunday National, when paying tribute to our patron saint, wrote: “A good reason why Andrew makes a fine patron for Scotland is that his quest for knowledge and his daring led him to become the first apostle, or disciple, to be called by Jesus Christ ... how fitting for a nation of inventors.”
Janet Cunningham

IT is ironic that Ms May’s Beat the People entourage chose to bar Scotland’s only newspaper for independence from her sheltered visit to the leather works in Bridge o’ Weir owned by Roland E Muirhead’s family! Roland happened to a wealthy Scottish Republican Socialist, 1868–1964, who could have filled the National’s blank front page, plus, with plenty colourful expletives about the ghostly crew.

Roland was a member of the Young Scots’ Society but left in 1914, due to pacifist objections to Liberal Party support for Britain’s involvement in the First World War. He became a member of the Independent Labour Party from 1918 but later left, becoming first chairman of the National Party of Scotland. He was on the left of the Scottish National Party (SNP) following its creation from the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party and served as president 1936 to 1950. He opposed conscription during the Second World War. In 1950, Muirhead formed the Scottish National Congress, a direct action group focused on campaigning for Scottish Home Rule.

While remaining a leading member of the SNP, he devoted most of his time to the new group and, ultimately, the production of a proposed Scottish constitution. Tom Johnston MP, a lifelong friend of Muirhead, and Labour Secretary of State for Scotland during the Second World War coalition government, stated that Roland Muirhead was “the greatest patriot which Renfrewshire has produced since William Wallace”.

He bought the SNP premises in Elmbank St, Glasgow, which they sold after Winnie’s winning by-election. Winnie is now in a nearby care home. His “secretary” was Tom Spence, who always had fag ash down his waistcoat. I remember Tom Spence and his hard working wife very well. I used to sell books and pamphlets for him. I lived in a flat nearby in Kent Rd, opposite Woodside School, where I ended up teaching. It is now the Gaelic School.

The Scottish secretariat was a two-storey building in Elmbank Crescent and knocked down to make way for the Strathclyde Regional HQ concrete bunker. I was on the Buroo when I lived in Kent Rd, other side of Charing Cross, at the time, and never thocht I would end up as a teechur there, as I left skule at 15 and only studied later in life. Tom was one of those who helped with my political education, by guiding me through many pamphlets and books, which I still cherish and refer to, much better than the Big University, to which I went. The Yoonie taught me all they knew and still I know nothing.

Roland funded and practically founded the – inclusive – Wallace Society, now run by the “apolitical” Siol nan Gaidheal (SnG) mark III, or is it IV who took the society over from the SNP and turned it into an “apolitical“ charitable trust“? The former SNP Wallace Society secretary, the redoubtable Willie Douglas, died a few months ago and the original SnG was pro socialist and Republican. The current Society of William Wallace has smaller “apolitical” rallies, which would have provided a few more expletives from the late Roland E Muirhead and many other old political stalwarts and activists.
Donald Anderson

MRS May and her “precious” union. Where Scotland and her inhabitants are guaranteed a voice in Wasteminster. Just as long as you’re a Tory Unionist? Scotland’s voice is that of The Dirty (Baker’s) Dozen of ConServeOurSelf MPs. These “unlucky 13” have the direct dial numbers to all the Cabinet ministers. They can influence government policy. All this whilst every SNP MP is ignored, or fobbed off by “our UK” Government.

This crack(ed) team, incompetently led by Fluffy the Bluffer. A political Pygmy with the backbone of a slug!

The Tories haven’t lost the plot! You would need to have proved they actually were in possession of the plot at some prior point.

How much longer can we continue to accept that we Scots are of no importance to the British State, other than being milked dry every single day since 1707.

Britain may have voted to leave the EU. Britain in a political notion, it is not a nation. Two component parts of the “Union” voted to leave, two voted to stay. If you base your win on numerical superiority, then Scotland will always be on the losing end. That is not being a valued equal partner, that is abuse of power. Considered and calculated abuse.
Sandy Allan
Newburgh, Ellon

THE National’s front page on Thursday is perhaps your most significant achievement to date – well done. To be banned from Theresa May’s press conference is recognition of the work you are doing in informing the Scottish people of what is really happening. It not only exposes the Prime Minister’s attitude to the freedom of the press but also her attitude towards the Scottish people, i.e. I know best therefore do as you are told as you are not capable of thinking for yourselves.

As for being banned from her press conference it would appear from the reports from those in attendance that you missed nothing other than a lecture from someone whose ambition has long since outstripped her ability. Is it time for a general election?
Thomas L Inglis

CONGRATULATIONS to the National for another brilliant front cover! It is not just a form of retaliation for the insult handed out to your journalists, but possibly one of the best campaigning statements on independence that I have ever seen. I feel sure that many members of the public, who have so far paid no heed to the National on newsstands, will be prompted by curiosity to pick one up and have a look, perhaps even going so far as to read a bit and thereafter buy it.

No-one could possibly be convinced that in a large factory there was insufficient space for one more journalist, particularly from one of only three truly Scottish national dailies, which must now be rivalling the Scotsman in circulation terms. Though Theresa May and her staff hand us ammunition benefitting the independence cause daily, those of us who support independence could not have planned a bigger publicity coup than this and The National has capitalised brilliantly on it.

Add to this the incisive and hilarious sketch in your sister paper, the Herald, by Tom Gordon, which almost had me in tears with laughter. Watch out, Wee Ginger Dug, you may have a rival there!

Thank you for making my day!
P Davidson

SCOTLAND’S First Minister has been reported as having said that if Westminster refuses to grant permission for the Scottish Parliament to hold a second independence referendum then it may not be possible to overcome that refusal other than to turn the 2021 Holyrood election into a plebiscite on independence. I fear the 2021 option is fraught with danger and would, at best, take us no further forward.

On July 4, however, with a stroke of political genius, Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster leader, managed to get Scotland’s “Claim of Right” endorsed by the House of Commons. This obliged the UK Government to accept the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and their right to choose their own form of government. The United Nations charter enshrines that same right.

In the light of this it would be illogical and immoral of Westminster to forbid our second referendum and it would be weak and contradictory of the Scottish Government to accept such a refusal. Surely if we are to deserve independence we must pursue it with a bold determination. We make ourselves a laughing stock if we say that we will be independent, but only if England allows it. Any refusal on the part of Westminster to accept the holding or the result of a Scottish independence referendum would see the UK condemned in the court of world opinion.
Billy Scobie

READER TP McCluskey has responded (November 28) to an earlier letter about Kevin McKenna’s regular negative contributions on Freemasonry – usually without any factual basis. (The writer of the earlier letter is named as Douglas Martin, but I presume it is my letter causing the problem.) The McCluskey letter (I can’t use “Mr” as a title as none is included in the letter and no first name is included) asks some questions. I can answer some of them.

The letter asks who the “lucky charities” are who receive masonic support. I am better informed about beneficiaries in England than in Scotland but here are a random few from recent times: Help the Aged, £53k; Young People with Special Needs, £100k; Cancer Support, £60k; MND (Scotland) £20k; Prostate Cancer (Scotland) £400k; Indonesian Earthquake victims £100k.

The letter asks, “Where do the Freemasons get the funds?” The answer is very simple – from Freemasons, their friends and families. There are no public appeals or collections.

The letter also refers to claims (not by me) that there is/was a Masonic Lodge in the Vatican and asks for proof. In 1984 David Yallop published a book, In God’s Name, in which he addressed the death of Pope John Paul I, corruption in the Vatican involving the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano and the existence of a “Masonic” Lodge called P2 which allegedly had several senior Vatican officials as members. (P2 was never recognised by any “official” Grand Masonic Lodge.) I obviously cannot confirm or deny David Yallop’s claims, but his accuracy in other matters in the past gives his writings some credibility. Incidentally, Mr Yallop was not a Freemason. Indeed, he was brought up as a Catholic.

The final paragraph of the McCluskey letter seems to ask if it safe to acknowledge a friend or colleague who is a “Freemason” as a Freemason or might some “terrible consequences” be suffered? If you know he’s a Freemason, then it can’t be much of a “secret organisation”. Of course, this could be an attempt at humour from the Kevin McKenna jokebook.
Douglas Morton