WE must be entering the “silly season” at Westminster. Theresa May is about to ask for “extra time” to secure a “re-deal” on the backstop, which the EU has confirmed is not obtainable. So will it end up in a “penalty shootout”, to continue the football metaphor? It will end in an own-goal, most certainly.

As we know, England are bad at taking penalties!

But who is likely to be penalised? The Remain-voting Scottish population most surely, as the minutes slip away to a no-deal and resulting chaos.

As the hidden preparations for avoiding chaos reveal, the phantom Seaborne Shipping Company with no ships, no harbours and no network has had its contract nullified by the Transport Secretary, who awarded it in the first place just to assist British start-ups! Not a good omen either.

It seems that the government, far from taking back control, cannot even effect simple procedures and is grossly incompetent!

At this juncture, one would have thought that the run-up to Brexit would have been a clear run by now, given the time one needs to prepare for a seismic change or shift like Brexit. But Her Majesty’s Government are still scrabbling around, incapable of any elementary managerial strategy and committing elementary political and procedural mistakes.

This is Westminster, post-20th century, still trying to rule the waves with a mindset anchored in its imperial past, an empire which started to crumble in Dublin 1916 and, ironically, the then resultant Tory quick-fix partition of Ireland is causing the problem still today for Westminster and the Tories!

That party is in a crisis with the ERG and the unionist DUP of Ireland pulling all levers to effect a no-deal!

The “duopolite” Labour Party north and south of the Tweed is also experiencing turbulence within and losing party members by the score! In fact Andrew Rawnsley of The Observer (February 10) refers to both parties as the “ugly sisters of our (aka English) politics!”

Will there be a recognisable England after March 2019, as its heartlands slug it out after David Cameron opened the sluice gates and out rushed the torrid undercurrent of xenophobic sludge leading to the Brexit vote being carried by the English populace?

There is a feeling when reading the English press that Britannia is now rudderless and heading onto the rocks!

John Edgar

LIKE many people, sometimes I find myself going into a room for something and then forgetting what it was I was looking for.

There are many occasions where I’ve forgotten to do something, but I don’t find it credible that the so-called leader of the opposition could really forget to include a comment about calling for a second Brexit vote in a letter to the Prime Minister. Especially when his EU spokesperson specifically requested that such a comment was included in Corbyn’s letter to Theresa May.

It seems Jeremy Corbyn is quite happy to let the Prime Minister run the clock down to a no-deal Brexit, regardless of the economic and social problems this will cause. If Corbyn can so easily lie to his EU spokesperson, why do you think he would ever tell the truth to the electorate?

Quite simply Corbyn is a disgrace; he’s the leader of the opposition who refuses to oppose. It’s time Scotland was out of this Union and we could then develop policies which better reflect the wishes of the people of Scotland.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

WHAT is undoubtedly the most important political process that has taken place in recent decades on EU territory is about to begin in Madrid.

Nine accused, elected as visible leaders of a movement guilty of wanting to submit to referendum a purely political proposal (the creation of a Catalan republic separate from the Spanish monarchy). A movement that, for the last ten years, has demonstrated that it has the support of at least half of the Catalan population, that has staged imposing and absolutely peaceful demonstrations, that has not yielded to hundreds of physical, administrative, political, media and judicial provocations and that has maintained its commitment to a solution through ballot boxes.

In fact, this is the first time that the special courts (the Supreme Court and the Audiencia Nacional) have openly instituted a case against representatives of a political movement without the excuse of violence, terrorism or armed struggle.

A case in which the court admitted the accusation of the civil party Vox, an (until now) far right-wing, xenophobic, and ultra-nationalist party. In which the accused, who run the risk of being sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, are the presidents of two of the main civil society associations and members of a government that has been democratically elected by a majority of Catalans (the rest, along with President Puigdemont, are in exile in Belgium, England and Switzerland, along with representatives of other parties and movements of the far left, and rappers convicted for voicing their opinions).

In this case what is at stake is whether in a democracy all ideas can be supported and implemented without the use of violence, as long as they respect human and civil rights. Reacting with indifference to this radical change in the interpretation of the rules of the political game, as European public opinion is doing, can have enormous consequences for the future of our countries.

Rolando d’Alessandro