I WAS a bit depressed but not surprised after reading Peter Geoghegan’s excellent article (The new team: out to destroy the old order and let a few make fortunes, July 28) in the Sunday National.

What he very successfully illustrates is the extent of the brazen coup Johnson has undertaken with his yes-men/placewomen Cabinet and why we should all be worried about what lies ahead. If this happened anywhere else in the world, the media – which is as culpable as the main figures for what has happened – would be outraged.

Meanwhile, I try to smile at the jokes made at key figures’ expense on social media while realising that this lot simply don’t care. They know what they want, what they’ll get and how they’ll get it. And it’s all about them. What is most disturbing is the vast wealth available to them which will now be strategically spent via social media saying exactly the opposite to the people (“golden ages” etc) who will swallow it up gullibly as they sit at their tables, knives and forks in hand, waiting for the banquet to be served.

We in Scotland need to be very clear about what’s happening. Johnson and several of his bovver-boy henchmen are coming up here and taking the game to us, to use sporting parlance.

This unashamed, arrogant provocation is designed to show the rest of the UK and the wider world that the big-boy means what he says about unifying us.

His tame press and social media will set about confirming this. Facebook will become his best friend. He’ll spend his time on nothing else. He certainly won’t spend any time on Brexit, preferring to run the clock down so he can blame the EU for a No Deal. He’s having the time of his sick, sad, pompous life.

His Cabinet should be labelled the “We-Don’t-Care Collective”. And Trump would be proud of them. Be prepared for far more stories about Nicola not having the bottle, not caring about independence and wanting to murder babies. There will be far more concentration on dividing and ruling. Expect to see subtle and not-so-subtle gatecrashing in your social media feeds. The best we can do is to stick tightly together, to treat all this unethical lying sewage for what it is and to strengthen our resolve to work tirelessly and hard for our goal of independence.
Jim Finnie

PART of John Drummond’s article (What do all these nonentities and failures tell us about this new PM?) on July 28 highlighted a key issue that should be of concern to all.

John rightly points out that the lack of an interim (written) constitution authorised by the people prior to the referendum surrenders to the opposition a platform to devise their own version of a constitutional settlement that is unlikely to meet aspirations for a normal democratic Scotland.

A constitution describes the principles and financial powers of government. It is the ultimate instrument defining, obligating and empowering the legislature to regulate and hold all powerful vested interests and institutions to account as well as protecting the rights of citizens. It should represent all the citizens fairly and equitably. Ideally in a popular democracy every citizen should be able to have their say in how they wish to be governed.

Academics, lawyers and professional laypersons have written several constitutions but only now has an example of a constitution been devised as the guide for an interactive public debate.

The guide will support John’s concluding statement that we need to set out in unequivocal terms the contract between the Scottish state and the sovereign people of Scotland.

The guide towards achieving an agreement on a written constitution for Scotland has been developed for a new charity, “Constitution for Scotland”. The sole purpose of this charity is to provide a secure interactive platform for a public debate to agree a provisional written constitution. The trustees expect that a concept website illustrating these principles will be available shortly.

Participation in a public debate would be open to all regardless of their political viewpoint and would go far to generate interest in the shaping of a future Scotland. This could be a significant tool to offset much uncertainty and provide a focus for a National Convention.

The cost of providing a secure social media platform with all these facilities represents a significant investment, and on the basis that many a mickle maks a muckle, there will be the opportunity for democratically minded folks to donate towards the cost.
Robert Ingram
Chair, Constitution for Scotland

YOUR article in the Sunday National regarding the omission of Scots artists on the Mercury Prize shortlist has prompted me to write (‘London-centric’ music prize shortlist ignores Scots artists, July 28).

So, what is it that has prompted me to compose this piece? And it is your omission in your music features that irks me ... and that omission is an almost total disregard for the rock and blues scene in Scotland.

Since March, admittedly, Patti Smith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Woodstock have featured, but hardly Scottish bands. Other than that I cannot recall any mention of the rock and blues scene in Scotland. When you consider the legacy left by major Scots rock artists, I feel you are by-passing a major area of the music scene in Scotland. You’ve featured artists in synth-pop (whatever that is?), indie, dance and disco, dub, reggae, house and techno, country and electronic ... but why no blues or rock?

Scotland has a multitude of first rate rock bands ... the likes of Mason Hill (pictured) to name but one are now garnering UK nationwide recognition. The blues scene is equally vibrant with a multitude of venues now featuring excellent musicians.

And, since I have just returned from Arran, where at weekend the Arran Rock and Blues Fest took place in Lamlash, but no mention in the paper when you list festivals.

Finally I’ll add that the organisers of that festival deserve much credit for an excellent two days, hosted by our very own rock aficionado, the one and only Tom Russell (and if anyone ever deserves a feature in the music section it has to be Tom).

So, National, the ball’s now in your court, let’s get the balance of music right and feature more rock and blues.
Ian Lyall

THE Trussell Trust records that in the 12 months ending March 31 2019, 1,600,000 three-day emergency food parcels were needed and delivered in the “precious Union”, which was a 19% increase from the previous year. During all of the recent and ongoing pronouncements, claims and counter-claims regarding Brexit, no mention has been volunteered by any party at Westminster regarding how such necessity might be rendered no longer vital to the survival of those affected.

Instead we are to be assured that we are the fifth most successful economy in the world, this being dinned into our ears at every conceivable opportunity.

We are further to be content with the boasts of the now departed Mrs May, her successor Mr Johnson, the Labour leader Mr Corbyn, the apprentice leader Ms Swinson of the Liberal Democrats, ie the Westminster oligarchs, that all is tickety-boo and that we can rely on them personally to steer us to utopia.

Nothing could be so distant from the truth. The governing of the nation is currently in reality a shambles, totally unsatisfactory, and we are now a powerless global laughing stock.

Here in Scotland we are 5.5 million people who have not supported any Westminster administration in a generation, having to put up with any imposition decided upon by the “unelected” England-dominated Parliament with, thanks to EVEL, no means of protest or of amelioration vis-a-vis our country.

This is no longer tolerable and Scots everywhere, including those comfortably domiciled “abroad”, should waken up to the fact that a better way is wanted. It will be achieved solely by our regaining our sovereignty over our own way of life, when it will be no longer a necessity to protest our entitlement to a permanently deaf Westminster ear.
J Hamilton

MINISTER for the Union, the PM or “Back Door” as he will henceforth be known, proudly announced during his election campaign that England does have a Parliament. I agree. Watching the Parliament channel from time to time, following various utterances from politicians down south, even the Budget, all confirm the English centric focus of Westminster’s activities. Coupled with EVEL, it is almost impossible to argue otherwise.

However, despite Back Door’s proclamation on Westminster’s English credentials, with the announcement of his new Union title he is reinforcing and amplifying Westminster’s domination over the other assemblies and the Scottish Parliament.

Westminster has not served the English people well. Of the four legislators it rarely leads from the front. More often than not, policies being enacted in England have long since been implemented in Scotland or Wales. Where the devolved administrations go, Westminster follows.

Given that, why would it be considered a winning strategy for the Union to pull back policy and expenditure decisions to London? The announcement of Johnson’s Number 10 Union Unit to “strengthen and improve the governance” can only be about domination and control. For the devolved legislators this will represent a break on their generally more nimble policy making. Priorities identified by those closest to the issues will be sidelined. “Distinctive political environment(s)” (Mundell) ignored, and money wasted. This cannot be in the best interest of these nations and their populations.

Theresa May in her last speech about the Union used the word “bind”. Johnson has since reiterated that sentiment. Where one country is tied to another against its will no benefit will accrue to either.

The best way for the Number 10 unit to strengthen the Union is to build positive reasons to stay. Not control and subjugate. So, Westminster, promote a Section 30 order and don’t attempt to handcuff Scotland to a Union if it is against its will. Make your case, but let the Scottish people choose in these “material changing” times. And, if we are going to uncouple, let’s part as friends.

Let’s part through the front door.
Iona Easton
Via email

HAS the time come for the SNP to consider black-listing the BBC? It’s pointless engaging in a complaints system designed to frustrate and obfuscate.

Attempting to hold the BBC to it’s charter’s claim of impartiality is a waste of time. There is an inbuilt bias against Scottish constitutional matters in favour of an English perspective that seeks to maintain the status quo.

Watching BBC News has little relevance to me, it is broadcast from a country that I don’t recognise any more. Not surprisingly the news from what is essentially an English broadcaster is mostly about England.

According to it’s charter a studio discussion about Scottish independence couldn’t go ahead without someone from the SNP in order to “balance” the debate.
Mike Herd