WHAT a delight it was to read about the women’s event in Holyrood, Scotland’s Women Stand. An important and essential political event for our nation when one considers the many issues facing women in our society at present. It will have been an event also which will have inspired our younger and older females.

I had a very influential father who was a working-class intellectual who had been a blacklisted engineer for his trade union activism prior to and just after the Second World War. I also had a hard-working, honest and principled mother who held our family together during my father’s blacklisted days.

She instilled in me a respect for womanhood that found its completeness when I read a book in the 1970s called Origin Of Family, Private Property And The State. This caused me to understand that women were the superior of the male and female genders, because they brought life into the world, therefore making them closer to life.

All my life in work I have given support to the women’s struggle in all its forms. I hope and suspect the event will give women’s fight greater impetus. As my mother would have said, “All power to their elbow”.

There is a fact with an American perspective. All the mass shootings that have taken place in the USA have been committed by men. Which confirms the point I made about life.
Bobby Brennan

AROUND the world we worryingly have a rise in authoritarian dictators – along with a breakdown in law and order, a controlled and limited press, book burnings, police violence… Now in the UK we have a constitutional crisis – a Scottish court has found PM Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament to be illegal.

I recommend watching BBC2’s The Rise Of The Nazis. In Germany, they teach this alarming history often to school children, in the hope this history won’t repeat. Four years before Germany was a liberal democracy: a weak politician thought he would use Hitler and his Stormtroopers to gain power, but he was the one being used! Why are we teaching the Romans and Tudors as history in the UK, when we really must teach more recent and relevant history!

An Irish politician said Monday: “We need the EU for our freedom and independence.” Strangely, many English view their indy and freedom as the reverse – as breaking away from the EU!

More than ever Scotland also needs the EU for our future freedom and independence. The reason the EU enables Ireland’s independence is it gives nations the protection of a regulated free-trading bloc – that protects workers’ rights, the environment and the smaller regions. Whereas the global elites only make the large super-cities richer.

Fintan O’Toole writes in his Heroic Failure: “Revolutions normally led to constitutional conventions. The UK has had three revolutions in 40 years – Thatcher 1979, Blair 1997, Brexit 2016, … all without calling such a gathering.” Which has led to “a very concrete and systematic assault on social and geographic inequality and exclusion”. He argues there needs to be “a constitutional revolution in which 18th-century imperial system of governance is transformed, into a post-imperial democracy”.

This is a battle between small independence, freer nations and the globalised ever-richer elites.

It has now become more essential than ever that the UK urgently has constitutional reform – to a modern democracy. Just as Westminster itself is crumbling...
Name supplied

LET me be the first to inform National readers of a leaked document I recently received! It meets the criteria to be considered as a soap opera, with each episode consisting of an open narrative that ends with a promise that the storyline is continued in the next episode. It is of course “Westminster”, the new soap on the block which reflects an incredible year of unsurpassed drama. The main storyline is Brexit, a remarkable, unbelievable tale that many say couldn’t happen in real life!

I have also been reliably informed many of the award categories have already been decided or shortlisted. As is no surprise, the “villain of the year” goes to a certain Boris Johnson. The “best female performance” goes to our own Joanna Cherry. Best newcomer is Mhairi Black. And finally there are three scenes, all being considered for the “Scene of the Year” category, all having an SNP cast. They are Hannah Bardell playing Keepie-Uppie in the Chamber; the SNP en-masse walkout in protest over the lack of Brexit debate; and finally the chaotic scene when the SNP belted out Scots Wha Hae when Parliament was prorogued for five weeks!

Remember, you heard it here first in The National!
Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

NATIONAL sovereignty is now essentially national subsidiarity, in our integrated global world economy, which is why the Brexit circle promises cannot be squared. The option of going back to the 20th century is merely a superficial snake-oil option, laid out for the electorate of the UK, by those who seek/sought power, fame, and/or financial gain.

The real question is one of which power/trade bloc the UK should predominantly share/cede its sovereignty with. That is the primary question that the peoples of the UK need to address, and the politicians now need to provide honest answers to the many secondary questions such subsidiarity raises.

The people of Scotland and their Parliament have so far opted for the EU as the preferred power/trade block of choice, as have the people of Northern Ireland. France is now seeking a positive collective decision from all four nations of the UK, as to whether the UK as a whole seeks to cede future sovereignty to the USA, China, the Pacific, the Indian subcontinent, Russia or the EU trade block.

It is clear that the four nations are currently not in accord, and until they are, Brexit is merely a vacillation, facilitating impoverishment of the peoples of the UK, to which the EU remains shackled. It is now becoming quite clear just how essential the four-nation lock suggested in the past was, when such critical choices have to be made.

If there is to be a further General Election or EU referendum, then there needs to be a positively expressed accord across the four nations, in respect of which trade bloc to be subsidiary to, and just how many of the “four EU freedoms” do the peoples of the individual nations seek, or are willing to accept?

A settled will of the people is now required, which must be clearly demonstrable, for which Leave/Remain/some sort of Deal/some sort of No Deal is no longer an adequate choice. The “four freedoms” of the European Union are the freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital over borders, and these trade bloc principles are what the peoples of the UK need to vote on.
Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

THE long letter in The National (September 12) from Alan Weir about the idea of the establishment of a hard border between Scotland and England has merit.

From the political aspect it resolves Westminster’s Brexit problem with the tensions between Eire, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which all have different requirements. For instance, Northern Ireland could have, as is explained, a separate regime from England, which would deal with both the backstop and the Good Friday Agreement problems. In Scotland, there could be a varying approach to the EU and independence. (Could such changes have the by-product of the reduction of bigotry?)

However, it is the infrastructure aspect of the suggestion that is so elegant. A formal border between Scotland would be much simpler than other options. Firstly, it is less than half as long as the boundary across the island of Ireland, which being a more modern construct is very arbitrary and has very many minor roads crossing it. The Scottish Border, being an ancient international border marked by the Cheviot Hills, has only about 30 crossings of which only a few are suitable for lorries. In the belief that lorry transport carrying Scottish exports to England would be replaced for “green” reasons with trains, there are two main lines existing, with the potential of a third through the central borders. Moreover, there are other benefits.

Communications with Ireland would be served by the railway to Stranraer and an enhanced ferry service. Links to Europe would be direct by sea from Aberdeen, Rosyth and of course Berwick, which would be restored to its old position as a major Scottish port – along with the tranche of the North Sea stolen by Gordon Brown. A new function for the Firth of Clyde – including a

non-nuclear Faslane – and Prestwick would also become possible as international trade by-passed England.

This brings us to the restoration of Scotland as a ship-building nation with its own marine communications which in turn is referred to by the letter from Russ MacLean in Friday’s National. The loss of the Rosyth ferry, possibly by pressure from ports in England, was a great shame.
Iain WD Forde

THE Tory party might be on its last legs but the Empire is not yet dead (Rosyth Dockyard preferred bidder for £1.3 billion Royal Navy contract, September 12). Boris Johnson says that he is looking forward to the restoration of British influence and excellence across the world’s oceans, obviously by means of increased use of the military as proposed by Gavin Williamson in his time as defence secretary.

According to the Yellowhammer document there are not enough vessels at present to properly police UK waters against border violations such as illegal fishing, smuggling and immigration. Would the UK not be better building a few smaller, faster vessels as quickly as possible to augment the fleet that is currently incapable of providing adequate cover for UK waters?

It is a pity that the Government doesn’t have the same interest in investing in civilian shipbuilding with the UK being almost totally dependent on maritime trade as one of the world’s few 100% coastal states.
John Jamieson
South Queensferry

HAS Auditor General Caroline Gardner ever said anything positive about Scottish institutions or is it just the

case that the BBC and the print media only report her when she is being critical?
Andrew M Fraser