THE face of former FM-in-waiting Ruth Davidson was a picture of discomfort as Jackson Carlaw faced another car crash performance at FMQs on Thursday. Try as she might to stay as still and emotionless as possible through the Sturgeon-Carlaw exchange, she couldn’t help her head from nodding in agreement with Nicola Sturgeon’s reply to the floundering Carlaw!

Was she conscious that her head was gently but perceptibly moving back and forth in what is generally acknowledged as agreement as Nicola Sturgeon reminded the chamber of the Holyrood Tories’ position on No-Deal Brexit under Davidson? It looked to me that she was very aware that her otherwise motionless state being interrupted by quiet nodding would be picked up by observers.

READ MORE: Here’s my open letter to Nicola Sturgeon on need for action

That’s the extent of Ruth Davidson’s protest now, to sit behind a character like Carlaw and try to indicate that she’s no wi’ him! Well, she is! She gave up! When the going got tough, the tough wee Davidson got going ... straight for the exit!

Rather than taking on Johnson and the ERG, or “The Spartans” as the most extreme are known, from a position of some respect within the Tory party and as the leader of Scotland’s Tories, she backed down from the fight. Davidson abandoned the fight for Scotland’s interests in Europe, leaving the Scottish Government and the SNP at Westminster to do all the heavy lifting. Is a gentle nod of support from this former battler towards the FM all that she has left in her? And she thought that she could be First Minister!
Thom Muir

READING the article “MEPs dismiss PM’s Brexit plan” (October 4) it is obvious how much the EU values and supports its members in comparison with the way that Scotland is treated as a member of the UK.

The Irish Government said that it could not accept Boris Johnson’s proposal that any agreement between the UK and EU on the Irish border would be subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, spoke to the Irish Taoiseach then told the UK Prime Minister that the EU gave its full backing to Ireland’s rejection of his proposed border arrangements.

Scotland has the largest share of EU fish stocks and the fishing industry is an important part of our economy, but was abandoned by the UK even before the UK joined the EU.

The Scottish Parliament and Government have never been allowed a direct input or to take part in negotiations on fishing between the UK and EU, on the basis that the Common Fishing Policy is an international treaty. So Scotland has to take whatever the UK negotiates with the EU on fishing, yet the UK is willing to give Northern Ireland the power to veto an international agreement on the UK’s borders.

It appears that the DUP, with more ambition and fewer MPs than the Scottish Tories, have proved that some partners in this precious union can be much more equal than others.
John S Jamieson
South Queensferry

ALISTER Jack’s “Union Day” should obviously be on May 1, the anniversary of the coming into effect of the parliamentary union of 1707 between Scotland and England. He and others might use part of the day to read the text of the Treaty and Acts of Union and to consider to what extent the promises made to Scotland have been honoured. The Treaty and Acts can be found on the internet, though it can take time to find a text uncluttered with comment.

It was also suggested that such a day should replace an existing “left-wing” one. That the first of May is celebrated by some as “Labor Day” (US) or “Labour Day” (UK) makes it even more suitable for Mr Jack’s purpose.
David Stevenson

UNION Jack wotsisname, Secretary of Statelessness and Dover Housecat, London, England, is now claiming his stage debut remarks about rebranding a glorious Unionist Holy Day in North Britain, made in England, at the triumphalist Tory conference, in Manchester, was a light-hearted remark. Phew! His glorious leader insists that Alex Salmond’s off-the-cuff “once-in-a-generation” remark at the end of the 2014 Rigarendum was part of an official, written-in-stone campaign agenda. Repeating a lie over and over does not a fact maketh. Elsewhere, the MacBorises insist, light-heartedly, that the General Election be delayed to coincide with Alex Salmond’s pending trial.

So, now’s the time and now’s the hour for the Scottish Government to declare an official St Andrew’s Day holiday to coincide with the judicial-led death of Scotland’s favourite socialist saint, the great John Maclean, who died of poverty-led pneumonia on November 30, 1924. Having suffered sacking from his teaching post, plus hard labour sentences, he finally succumbed, after giving his only overcoat to a black Jamaican comrade.

John Maclean, who advocated Scottish independence some 20-odd years afore the formation of the modern SNP, was hounded 24/7 by the very people who branded him as paranoid and insane. We now know, according to withheld records, that Sir Basil Thompson, head of security in Scotland, instructed his agents to brand him and fellow sympathiser Emily Pankhurst as insane.

Maclean was also targeted by the Unionist Communist Party of Great Britain, but this party contained many sympathisers to his Scottish Workers’ Republican Party. These members were able to lead a defiant mass annual commemoration for MacLean up till the late 1950s, on St Andrew’s Day, from Eglinton Toll to his graveside at Eastwood Cemetery, next to Thornliebank Railway Station.

The tradition has been carried on, in a smaller scale, from Eastwood Cemetery to his cairn at Shawbridge Square. This year on Sunday, December 1, the annual rally will end in a church hall behind the square, led by compere Gavin Paterson and volunteer folk artistes and pipers. It will not be as huge as yesterday’s AOUB rally in Edinburgh. Nonetheless, we appeal to all in sympathy with this forgotten Scottish and international hero to come along to celebrate a real Scottish and international holiday ceilidh. This includes an open invitation all, including Hairy Bikers and Sore Elbow pipers, an’ a’ an’ a’.
Donald Anderson

SOME voters in East Dunbartonshire in the 2017 UK General Election voted for Ms J Swinson because a vote for their preferred Tory candidate might have let in the SNP. Put simply, this means that Ms J Swinson cannot be seen to support a socialist like Mr J Corbyn for any reason at all, else she may lose sufficient votes to the Tory candidate, allowing the SNP to win her constituency.

So, it’s not simply that a No-Deal Tory/Ukip/Brexit Party Brexit is preferable to her, compared to a UK caretaking role by Mr Corbyn, to a UK Parliament generating an Article 50 extension, an EUref2 and a General Election, but that it’s preferable to losing her seat in the UK Parliament.

She is not alone in holding such jobber views, which are shared by parts of the UK Labour Party and quasi ex-Tory party MPs, etc. For the avoidance of doubt, a No-Deal Brexit is only real in the fetid imaginations of the ERG and fellow travellers who seek a wholly tariff-free global UK economy, with all its implications.

The reality is that a No-Deal Brexit means a “No Withdrawal Agreement” Brexit, with any future trade deal uncertainty exacerbated by the UK choosing to negotiate a future EU trade deal, over the next seven years or so, from a position of weakness. “Get it done”, “over the next seven years or so”, is therefore her chosen position of self-interest.

Not to be outdone, UK Labour seek to work at another “for the many” Brexit deal for potentially another three years before an EUref2, for which many of them will campaign for Remain after a further delay of 12 months or so. It will take this long in part because the Tory/Ukip/Brexit Party Brexit red lines would have to be essentially emasculated, and Article 50 essentially started again.

The one item of public consensus ConDemSlab have is that the people of Scotland should watch from the side-lines, and let the prize guys at Westminster get on with their party games for the next seven years or so. The people of Scotland and particularly the people of East Dunbartonshire may of course have other ideas about that, and will have to consider the merits of being supported by the familiar EU as a newly independent nation state, and contrast this to the ongoing years of chaos and uncertainty of the various Westminster Brexit alternatives.
Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

I ARGUED recently that the broad church of the Yes campaign is something to celebrate even if you don’t agree with some of The National’s columnists. However, I’ve got to wonder about the contribution of Andrew Wilson, chair of the Sustainable Growth Commission among other things.

With his hero worship of Aberdeen Asset Management, the man who was one of Fred the Shred’s “story tellers” – sorry, PR strategists – you’ve got to wonder what on earth the First Minister saw in his credentials which suggested he was the man to take the helm in charting the country’s future prosperity. But hey, maybe instead of personal attacks we should confine ourselves to playing the ball and not the man.

John O’Dowd’s critique in Friday’s paper (Letters, October 4) was erudite, accessible and compelling that neoliberal economics is so last century. I’ve previously argued against Andrew’s approach to post-independence negotiations with rUK and his ideas of fair play embodied in the Annual Solidarity Payment. And the flaws in the Growth Commission report concerning the six tests on the currency issue among other things were effectively dealt with in the three National Conversations sponsored by Keith Brown, except where’s the promised final report Keith?

At least given Tim Rideout’s barnstorming address to the SNP spring conference in Edinburgh, we the people – well, SNP delegates at least – have taken back control (probably) of the currency issue. Not withstanding Martin Gilbert’s achievements in the world of Thatcherite economics, we need vision for our new independent country, not 20/20 hindsight and Andrew Wilson’s neoliberal view of the world, which simply isn’t good enough when confronting the existential threats of climate change and the extinction of life on our planet.

We’re very close to our dreams of an independent country, albeit as a reaction to the hellhole of Wastemonster rather than a velvet divorce in the style of Czechoslovakia, but the success of our collective futures in our soon-to-be independent Scotland will have to rely on the aspirations and ingenuity of youth. Let’s not saddle them with discredited Old World ideas for seriously New World problems. So come on, Mr Wilson, let’s hear it for the Green New Deal and Modern Monetary Theory so that with your communication skills we can have a wider and deeper appreciation of these critical approaches to our future.
Iain Bruce