IT is great to see Edinburgh’s role in the slave trade is to be marked by footage of singer Kayus Bankole, from Leith band Young Fathers, being beamed onto the City Chambers.

He will be performing a piece he has written about those in Scotland who profited from this barbaric practice.

There has largely been an airbrushing of Scotland’s role in the slave trade, which saw Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole benefit considerably economically. Events such as this serve to provide a greater understanding of our nation’s involvement in slavery, but we must do more.

Scots played an incredibly important role as plantation owners, merchants and slave ship captains. Even Robert Burns was considering a position as a book-keeper in a plantation before poetry revived his fortunes. In 1796, Scots owned nearly 30% of the estates in Jamaica and by 1817, a staggering 32% of the slaves.

It was the slave trade which played a major part in financing and powering the industrial revolution in Scotland. The economic rise of Glasgow and Edinburgh was, in part, produced off the back of slave labour and the commodities it produced such as tobacco, sugar and cotton.

Its time Scottish pupils were taught of the nation’s role in the slave trade, and that we as a nation come to terms with our involvement through the establishment of a permanent memorial to the millions of black Africans who suffered to make so many in Scotland incredibly wealthy.

Alex Orr

GERRY Hassan’s article in the Sunday National makes interesting reading but I wonder if his conclusions are right (Indy D-Day for Labour, December 22).

Perhaps if the Scottish Governments have been cautious it’s simply because the purse strings are still held by Westminster. Given this constraint, surely we should applaud the actions of the SNP in government. We now enjoy a better and more caring society than do our friends south of the Border. It’s one of the reasons so many of them migrate north on retirement. Yes, things could be better but we need controls that will only come with independence.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour are beginning to accept the idea of independence

I came home in late 1997, having worked in England for 32 years, to find a Labour party with a handful of members locally and little likelihood of winning anything other than a few seats in local government elections. Robert MacLennan held the constituency seat for Labour from 1966 to 1981, when he helped form the SDP, later to become the Liberal Democrats. At this year’s election, Karl Rosie of the SNP narrowly missed winning the seat. Jamie Stone’s majority was slashed from 2044 to 204.

If the Labour party wants to survive in Scotland, it needs to decide what it stands for. In this month’s election much of what Corbyn offered had already been implemented by the Scottish Government and the SNP went further by offering us a nuclear-free country and its record in government.

Perhaps the Labour party’s first decision should be to break away from the UK Labour party and form a Scottish one. The present branch office only muddies the waters. It might then be able to appeal to the rump of the existing party.

Yes, we need a wide spectrum of society if we are to gain independence, and come independence no-one has suggested that we’ll have an SNP dictatorship. Other parties will be there to offer a range of policies. But so far none of the others, except perhaps the Greens, have offered anything that isn’t Westminster-focused.

Catriona Grigg

I AM astonished at the heat generated by two simple issues: postcodes and TV news (Letters, December 19 and 21). At present it makes perfect logistic sense to concentrate west Borders mail at Carlisle to connect with national and international road and rail networks. Any move would just delay the mail. Of course when we are an independent nation we will have to revise arrangements, but it is hardly top of a list of grievances.

READ MORE: Seats in the Borders are all still English ‘add-ons’

Likewise the ITV news. The Border TV evening news programme provides an excellent, impartial, balanced news service for the south of Scotland and Lake District, including our three professional football sides and Borders rugby. For instance, during the election, they featured every candidate in the three Borders constituencies and gave them each exactly the same length of time. I very much doubt that STV would give us a fraction of the time on local issues.

It is true that in exchange for local news we get news about Carlisle, Keswick, Workington etc. This interests me. I want to be independent but I want to live in harmony with my neighbours. I need to know road conditions in Carlisle, for instance. We are entering, I fear, a new phase in our struggle. But I will not be manning any barricades for the sake of a postcode. And when I get my face back I want it to still have a nose.

Ian Richmond