ALONG with over a hundred fellow bikers, I took part in the All Under One Banner March for Independence event on Saturday in Oban. The bike route took us from Tyndrum, via Glen Coe, Appin and Connel. To see the mile-plus line of bikers, each one with a Saltire attached, snake its way through Glen Orchy, Glen Coe and down the side of Loch Linnhe on our way to Oban was truly inspiring.

Each and every one part of a movement of fellow Scots, galvanised and united for an independent Scotland that will have a standing in the world as a country of self-determination, a beacon of what a society can be: equal rights, social fairness, caring for people, open and welcoming no matter your race or creed, where you are not judged by what you have but by your humanity.

The event turned out to be unexpectedly extra-special for me. I was standing in the queue in the cafe at the Green Welly in Tyndrum when I became aware of a child standing beside me with a familiar baseball cap on. She looked up and it was my eight-year-old daughter who, along with my ten-year-old son and my wife, decided to surprise me! This was their first attendance at an independence march, and I was absolutely delighted to have them with me!

But that is not the main reason I have decided to write this. Rather, I was inspired by a chap who runs a shop in Oban that I had occasion to visit on Saturday. He asked me when we were going to have another independence referendum. Hopefully soon, I replied, and asked him which way he had voted in 2014. He had voted Yes for independence and would do so again, he said. I was intrigued to hear his reasons for doing so.

He told me that he moved to Oban six years ago and in those six years he never once encountered an incident of racism towards himself or his family, in stark contrast to his experiences in Liverpool and Manchester where he had lived previously. My heart swelled with pride that this man and his family feel welcome and secure in the lovely town of Oban in our beautiful country. A country and people to be proud of. I look forward to the day I can walk into this man’s shop, when we have finally regained our status as an independent nation, and shake his hand.

Shonny Paterson
Councillor, Arrochar, Argyll & Bute

ALISON Johnstone makes a case for a change in direction on transport infrastructure spending (Ministers are failing to deliver on transport, June 14). She is of course correct in her aims. Unfortunately, there is substantial evidence of a lack of research in her arguments.

She complains that bus patronage is falling, but does not ask why this could be. Bus companies run infrequent services, and their buses do not go where people want to travel. People who have a choice will therefore take a private car, especially in inclement weather. Why sit in a bus for over an hour if a more direct journey can take 10 minutes? What has also been found worldwide is that car drivers are 30% more willing to change to trams than buses.

We might all be willing to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, but who is urging China to stop expanding its use of fossil fuels? As far as Scotland is concerned, the Oslo Effect is far more damaging to our nation’s health, as was shown in a recent Dispatches programme. The fine rubber dust, road material dust (dug out by wheels to create potholes) and wear and tear from brake linings is far more toxic than any tail-pipe emission gases and particulates. The Oslo Effect particulates are dependent on the weight of the road vehicle, so electric buses, being heavier than diesel buses, are actually more damaging to health.

The answer is to invest heavily in transport based on steel wheels on steel track, and renewably generated electric power. A fine example of this is now running in Edinburgh, with a six-minute frequency. In the absence of feeder buses and with disinterested bus companies, people will take their cars to tram stops or direct to their destinations. We will never get the bus services we need until councils take over the running of the buses and dictate the routes by need rather than profit. A sop like Lothian’s arm’s-length bus company is of little use for solving congestion and loss-of-passenger problems.

V MacKinlay

IT is time some of your letter writers looked at the Treaty of the Union of the Scottish and English parliaments. It is a treaty between two countries, not four. The Scottish people, being sovereign, as passed by the vote on the claim of right in July 2018, can instruct the Scottish Government, at any time, to repeal the treaty. It must be one of the oldest treaties in the world still in existence.

William Purves
via email

WE hear a lot about Rockall now and who it belongs to. To me it is Scottish territory and should remain so. It is nearer to Scotland than to other claimants.

Irish boats which have long fished around it should be allowed to continue to do so. After indy perhaps Scotland and Ireland can negotiate fishing rights in each other’s waters.

David Stevenson