AS a waterlogged Westminster sinks under the weight of unprecedented levels of incompetence, we witness a shower of charlatans lining up to assume command at 10 Drowning Street.

Alas, no amount of bailing by this cut-throat crew of Brexiting buccaneers can save HMS Blighted Blighty from sinking in the slough of despond wherein she has drifted.

The darling buds of May, contenders for captaincy of the stricken flagship, inspire zero confidence.

These public-school-educated inheritors of wealth and privilege, the creme de la creme of society (rich and thick?) have little to offer – although we shouldn’t perhaps turn our back on Gove (the Scot with irritable vowel syndrome) who’s always ready to have a stab at leadership.

Then there’s Loathsome Leadsom, an appropriate candidate for the Mother Ship perhaps?

Union Jock Rory might come aboard, as well as Mike “Harpoon” Harper (of whom it’s been said “who?”).

That Sad-Jav has also thrown his hat into the ring (unwisely for one who brushes his hair with a sponge).

Nevertheless, front runner must be Barking Boris. He may suffer from foot-in-mouth disease but his brain is in mint condition, as it’s never been used.

“I see no ships” cries naval-gazing Captain Corbyn through the wrong end of his telescope. “Where’s our close alignment trade deal?”

He only spies that Frigate with Nigel stuck in the rigging. (Everything in his vessel is rigged, including votes). With a name like Farage he must be French, n’est-ce pas?

As this septic isle drifts doggedly into the Doldrums we’re mindful of those prophetic words: “Apres May, le deluge”.

James Stevenson

I HAVE listened with dismay and incredulity to the preliminary statements of those seeking to replace Mrs May. The references to Brexit are precisely what would have been expected, a mish-mash of ideas designed to encourage support and to avoid serious dissent. The exact policy to be pursued in each case is not in any sense defined, leaving plenty of room to manoeuvre.

All of them however have one thing in common. That is to deny Scots a right to determine policies for a better and desired future by the exercise of our own efforts. We have demonstrated definitively that we have with irrefutable justification absolutely no faith in familiar facile assurances already hinted at, with more to follow. The common denominator of all of their assertions is the unpalatable echo of the failed ex-PM that we will not “be allowed” what would be clearly and fairly our right to choose to govern ourselves.

Regrettably we will receive nothing but continued contempt tempered by dislike at Westminster. The denial to an “equal partner”, of the right to independence, is undemocratic, unworthy and is motivated by the avarice of a bygone age. That motivation will be maintained by any one of the contenders afraid of upsetting their loyalists, and from whom we can expect no accommodations.

An opportunity will exist for the next UK administration to show respect to Scotland. Will the courage and wisdom be found to do so?

J Hamilton

I AM surprised I’m surprised. Will Tories stop at nothing to get their way, whether it’s ideologically driven policies from #austerity to #Windrush and now, Raab and his threat to suspend Parliament. What makes it worse is his belief that during the coming days as he attempts to get to being one of the last two candidates, he believes it will receive traction from both his peers and across those party members who will finally decide the winner.

Well the winner isn’t going to be us in Scotland, whether he attempts to carry out this assault on democracy, or whether he wins the ultimate prize, keys to Number 10.

Thank goodness then that there’s another addition to the growing indy fervour across the nation. The first indy roadshow featuring Blackford and Black, two of our fab MPs, has kicked off that which has to be a “campaign” in spirit if not in name.

We can see not least from the extreme measures being considered by Raab, and who knows just what the rest of his “electioneering” manifesto will contain, that rUK is careering from one disaster to another. Sadly we risk being subsumed by the Tory Party as they continue to put party preservation before the needs of the people.

Not us, not here. Leave appears to be the choice of the majority of voters south of us, and if that choice is on course to be carried out we have to carry the message of independence to the maybes, undecided, soft no’s ... and what better than an roadshow to galvanise us along with marches, local meetings, oh ... and maybe a Scotland football win. We can but dream.

Selma Rahman

IN response to Ned Larkin’s long letter in Friday's National.Whilst I agree with most of his rant I do object to him stating that John Lennon (pictured, right) had perhaps been deliberately disrespectful of the Scots, Welsh and Irish. In his song A Day In The Life, Lennon wrote: “I read the news today oh boy,” and went on to quote that “the English Army had just won the war”.

If Ned understood the song he would have realised that this quote was directly from the newspaper and not Lennon’s own view.

What makes this line important is that so often the terms English, Allied and British are interchangeable. I often hear people talking about the English Army. I don’t ever remember hearing the British Army being called the Scottish Army.

During the 75th commemoration of D-Day I have seen several examples of how the terms English/English Army were used instead of British or Allied. It has always been the case that England and the English are given prime credit for fighting and winning any war that British soldiers have been involved in.

Another example of this tendency to be English-centric is mention of the Queen of England. Again I heard this three times during the 75th commemoration. I have never heard the Queen being described as Queen of Scotland or Wales. She is either referred to merely as the Queen or the Queen of England.

Harry Key

“THE role of the Secretary of state for Scotland is to champion Scottish interests at the heart of government and to strengthen Scotland’s place in the UK” (Scrap Mundell’s role and the Scotland Office, says MPs’ report, June ???). This emblematic, standard disingenuous response, unlikely to be legitimised and certainly not borne out by actions or events. Anyone who sees his role as anything other than inhibiting and overtly subverting the SNP Scottish Government is clearly, content with the way that this Tory government has been, and is doing business. In the light of their performance (or lack of it), that, is pinning their flag to the mast – so be it; it draws up the battle lines.

He’s an ardent Tory – who sycophantically supports Mrs May – in a dysfunctional government which has compounded the deconstruction of “British” politics and which wishes Scotland and its leadership away, (like Edward I and many since), by any means – other than democratic. What did he do for tidal power promotion, the reneged carbon storage proposal, the green energy bank sell-off, misappropriated EU farming subsidies? He did try to marginalise the SNP/Scottish Government’s trading initiatives, strongly support and promote his government’s intentions to assumptively reserve previously devolved powers on Brexit and afforded himself the luxury of criticism of Scottish Government policies on matters of no concern to him other than as a political device. Anything in this report is political diplomacy; the reality is that the Scottish Government, rightly, does not trust or rely on the Tory Government or its acolyte – to “play the game”.

Ronald Bowie

OF all the things the UK may have to sacrifice to achieve a trade deal with the USA, it seems that concerns about chlorinated chicken, genetically modified food and hormone enhanced meat all are way behind the NHS in people’s minds. Two things occur to me. Firstly as we enter negotiations what cards do we hold to prevent the USA getting their own way? Canada has not been able to cut a deal, primarily because they would not accept lower food standards. They impose 25% tariffs to prevent hormone-fed beef destroying their home market and its higher welfare standards. Can we really trust Westminster to follow this example?

Closer to home, bland assertions that NHS England is safe in the hands of the Westminster Government are laughable. Time after time promises to improve NHS services have been made and not delivered. Promises to deliver more doctors into training have failed. Promises to increase the number of working GPs has failed. Promises to deliver more nurses and consultants have failed. At the same time, the ability of private sector organisations to bid for NHS England services have been incorporated into law. The Health and Social Care act of 2012 made it mandatory to put services out to competitive tender, with restrictions which make it difficult for in-house providers to win any competition. In 2016/17 over 70% of contracts went to private sector providers. Just one example of how NHS England is increasingly dependent on private providers is Virgin Care. They completed around £200 million worth of work in 2016/17 and made £8m in profits. Estimates are that the contracts they hold may be worth as much as £2 billion over their lifetime. Virgin Care did not pay a penny in corporation tax on those profits.

All of this could be acceptable if such contracts deliver greater value for money. The evidence is that they do not. Fragmented provision and the split between contracts makes transition from health to social care a minefield. Providers have been found guilty of falsifying data to show better performance. Failed contracts, when providers pull out without any thought for those they care for are becoming more common. In order to have a free and fair NHS we need providers of all front line services to be in the business of public good, and not allow them to be cherry picked for private profit.

Pete Rowberry Duns OVER the last few days all I have been hearing is our special relationship we have with the good ol’ U S of A .The only relationship I can see is that we in Scotland store the nuclear bomb and they, in America hold the trigger. God help us if a lunatic becomes president. “OOPS” methinks I am too late, he’s in.

Mick McDermott
Old Kilpatrick