I WOULD like to express my great delight at finding Nan Spowart’s fine article on Paul Robeson in yesterday’s Sunday National. I have many heroes among men and women down through the ages who, in my opinion, have contributed much to progressive issues on behalf of mankind. None surpasses Paul Robeson!

There will be many readers of The National who already own a copy of his outstanding CD: Paul Robeson Sings Twenty of his Favourite Songs and The Transatlantic Exchange Concert. I would hereby recommend it to those who do not have one. Among the 20 favourite songs are the Scottish one, Turn Ye to Me, and the Irish songs, The Minstrel Boy, Kevin Barry, and Danny Boy.

There is also a short account of Robeson’s active involvement in his struggle for true equality on behalf of his people, in defiance of blatant racism, written by Dafydd Iwan Jones, a former president of Plaid Cymru. The Transatlantic Exchange Concert (tracks 21 - 34), is introduced and closed by the broadcaster John Humphrys.

Norrie Paton

HOW timely was Patrick Harvie’s comment in Friday’s National as Nigel Farage and his supporters seek to disassociate themselves from the Ukip party to reform their “purer” version of the original anti-Europe stance – this primarily because of the excesses of speech from successive supporters (Why we need a progressive case for freedom of speech, April 12).

Not only Ukip but all of the voices raised in Westminster are the worst example of people shouting down the “other”, creating more disquiet and disgust among those whom they are meant to represent. Freedom of speech brings its own responsibility, ie, do I stop to consider the effects anything I say might have upon the listener before I say it?

Amid the present turmoil of these times, I have found Rudyard Kipling’s poem If as pertinent now as it has always been, perhaps even more so. Would it be possible for you to print it out as a reminder, please?

Janet Cunningham

HOW grimly amusing to see Nigel “The Twerp” Farage back on the field of play. Fortunately his Brexit Party’s insipid, pale blue logo – presumably chosen to distance themselves from Ukip’s lurid and vulgar £ sign – is not in the least eye-catching. Perhaps they chose it to reflect the England football team’s cheeky theft of Scotland’s national colours.

David Roche

I WISH to complain about inaccuracies on the front page story of The National on Saturday April 13. The headline summarised the Paying Our Way report, of which I was the author.

You make three claims in your headline, all of which are incorrect. The report is not a cash card plan, it does not support a cashless society and it would not boost the Scots economy by £40 million.

The report outlines a Scottish Payment Initiation Service which would not be connected to a card issuer. That is the key point, as card issuers charge a fee to process payments.

Cash is needed by some of the most vulnerable people in society. The report makes this point and describes an alternative to ATMs which are currently run for profit and do not serve local communities.

The figure for the benefit for the Scottish economy would be closer to £100 million, the £40 million figure is for Scottish retailers alone and does not take into account the jobs created in Scotland nor the savings to the Scottish Government (which could be used to invest in schools and hospitals).

I would appreciate if you would print a correction to your inaccurate reporting. I understand banking and finance are complex subjects, and if your journalists are struggling to report these topics accurately then I would be happy to help out.

Peter Ryan
Author of the Paying Our Way report for the Common Weal

IN response to Charlie Kerr (Long Letter, April 13), again we seem to be forgetting that Scotland already has a national bank. In 1695 through an act of parliament Scotland created the Bank of Scotland, which has time and again acted like a central bank. It would only take an act of parliament to give it all the powers needed to take up its role as central bank.

I think it’s the case that Halifax and Bank of Scotland are still merged – this would take care of the other point of a retail branch, as the Bank of Scotland would take the role of the central bank and Halifax could assume the retail option. As to the investment option, I assumed that was the role assigned to the new investment bank.

Let’s move on with this, by remembering that Scotland has a central bank in waiting. The more difficult thing would be the re-establishment of the Scottish Mint, last producing Scottish currency in 1708.

Paul Gilchrist
via email