THE understandable frustration at the UK Government’s position on indyref2 risks missing the bigger picture. Scotland needs to act now as if we were about to be independent; “shadowing” functions like foreign relations, finance, benefits, trade, defence and so on, developing positions, talking to neighbours, becoming a regular (if somewhat unofficial) presence on the European and world stages. This will infuriate Westminster, but that’s a benefit, not a drawback.

Once folk here and abroad get the idea that Scotland is an informed, collegiate and positive presence, indyref2 can be seen not the first hurdle but rather the confirmation of an understood, agreed and accepted better future.
Dr Mark McKergow

IF the Scottish Government or others want to try the legal route via the courts to indyref2, they better get their skates on because the UK Government is looking at ways to limit the powers

of campaign groups and individuals in the courts.

The PM has said that judicial reviews legal challenges to government decisions were being used to conduct politics by another means.
David Ritchie
North Ayrshire

ANENT the recent pronouncements from the likes of Alistair Jack, Jackson Carlaw et al, regarding their opposition to indyref2 taking place during the next 50 years, Nicola Sturgeon’s lifetime, or before the worst hell of hells in all Helldom freezes over. Here we see the Scottish Conservatives in their

huge-majority (in UK terms) habitat doing what comes most naturally to them – positively flaunting their anti-democratic credentials.

They’re now making it abundantly clear that, far from holding Nicola Sturgeon to some putative “promise” (and we all know what a load of tripe that tired old trope is), it is THEY who don’t want indyref2 in any of our lifetimes, such is their pure feartiness of the outcome. The recent general election result in Scotland has obviously put a right Scottish wind up them!

The National: Alister JackAlister Jack

READ MORE: Alister Jack: indyref2 won't happen in Nicola Sturgeon's lifetime

Someone should remind these CADs (Conservative Anti-Democrats), and perhaps others besides, that the definition of “democracy” is “of the people” and it is the Scottish people who are sovereign. By definition, democracy cannot be suspended for a “generation” following one referendum result, especially not one secured with a litany of lies and false promises – because democracy is not an event in itself, it is the ongoing response of the people to events.

To paraphrase the late Canon Kenyon Wright: we are the people, and we decide.
Mo Maclean

HAVING read an account of Lisa Nandy’s international commission against independence, is this the regurgitations of loony left blethers.

Such condescending, patronising nonsense. Scotland neither needs nor wants this “red bridge” garbage doled out by Labour hegemonists south of the border. We have had rubbish from the likes of Yvette Cooper who used to claim she “understood” Scotland because she was born in Inverness!

Scottish nationalism is not divisive. Scots voted to remain in the EU. It is actually in the red areas in the north (of England) which voted to come out of the EU and then capitulated to the Tories last December where real division in England lies.

Lisa Nandy should actually focus on fixing her own backyard. Labourites used the D-word when they fail and the voters turn to other parties.

Like the latest crop of Labourite leadership hopefuls, Lisa Nandy sounds like a wet-behind-the-ears fresher at uni at her first tutorial.

Labour is surely doomed now!
John Edgar

THE refusal of indyref2 shows the London government is treating the Scots differently from the Northern Irish.

The National:

The 1998 Belfast Agreement between the UK and Irish governments states that the Northern Ireland Secretary “shall” hold a referendum on a united Ireland “if at any time it appears likely (to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) that a majority of those voting would express a wish (for a united Ireland)”.

Note the word “shall”, the relaxed “appears likely” and the condition “at any time”.

Clearly, the SNP should now supply every household with the economic facts and the case for independence and get the Yes vote up to more than 55%. At that stage, the Secretary of State for Scotland should be requested to treat the Scots equally with the Northern Irish and grant a referendum.

The Belfast Agreement also states that a second referendum can be held seven years after the first one – not “once per generation”.
Councillor Tom Johnston (SNP)
North Lanarkshire Council

THERE has occurred, probably since Trump took office, a significant degeneration in tone and behaviour from “leading” politicians. Trump’s foul mouth and flea-sized brain have unleashed his particular unpleasantness and it would appear that this has given the green light to people like his sycophant Johnston.

To hell with democracy, to hell with immigrants and to hell with the law. The behaviour of both these “leaders” has normalised disrespect, sometimes to serious levels. Trump’s inability to condemn the Ku Klux Klan and Johnston’s personal involvement in the Guppy/Collier affair and his loose mouth regarding Muslim women are examples, even if the latter two preceded Johnston’s anointment.

I think I can remember a time when we expected the highest standards of behaviour from leaders (at least outside closed doors), but this has been thrown on the midden, presumably forever.

The National:

READ MORE: Lisa Nandy under fire for Catalonia claim in Andrew Neil interview

Two examples of the insidious creeping of the influence occurred this week. Lisa Nandy, while displaying a typical and tiresome ignorance of Scotland and “nationalism”, here appeared to endorse the sort of state-sponsored thuggery which shamed Spain in order to defeat “divisive” nationalism. She failed to engage brain before mouth. This is frankly appalling coming from one representing the party of Jo Cox.

The other came from the hapless and hopeless Scottish Conservative leadership candidate, Jackson Carlaw. His irresponsible tweet talking about “taking down” Nicola employed vocabulary of basest yobbish thuggery. I would argue that we are still, in spite of it all, entitled to expect the highest standards of behaviour from leaders and aspiring leaders and also that these examples prove that none of those referred to are accordingly fit for office.

I applaud Nicola’s retort to the Carlaw tweet and also the personal philosophy of fairness, dignity and respect she uses as her guiding principle in words and deeds. Others would do very well to try to emulate her rather than bad mouth her, as they frequently do, as their only answer to her.
Jim Finnie

WOULDN’T Scots laugh at Jackson Carlaw’s pedantry if the situation wasn’t so serious and Scotland’s future so important?

Describing what his mission would be if elected leader of his branch party, Carlaw states: “At the absolute heart of everything we have stood for has been an unswerving resolve in support of Scotland’s place at the heart of the United Kingdom.”

Shouldn’t we read these incredulous words that beggar belief once again?

That'll be the same Scotland at the heart of the UK that has been ignored in everything Brexit, no place at the negotiating table and completely excluded despite it being of paramount importance to us, aided and abetted by the very power grab deliberately designed to distance us even further from the UK power base?

The same heart of the UK when we do not vote for the government imposed on us by the very unequal partnership within the UK, helped by the unfair anti-democratic first past the post voting system?

The same heart of the UK when we are denied our democratic right to determine how we’re governed; UK democracy an illusion and a farce?

Or when our elected representatives are mocked in Westminster? Or are we at the heart of the UK when our budgets are strangled, and those budgets are delayed by Westminster, creating fiscal havoc? Or when the UK fails to understand our desperate need for immigration to ensure the strength of our economy we need to fund our future? Or the systematic taking of Scotland’s resources like oil, where profligate Westminster squanders the wealth generated on pet projects – like tax cuts for the rich – and fails to invest in Scotland’s future; ensuring Scotland is the only country to have such mineral wealth and not benefit from it?

Following Cameron, May and Johnson, doesn’t the Tory party seem to have a talent for electing incompetents and buffoons to leadership? And on that basis, isn’t Jackson Carlaw a shoo-in?
Jim Taylor

I’M told Nigel Farage will hold a singsong at Westminster on the night Brexit takes effect.

The National:

READ MORE: Nigel Farage plans £100k 'Brexit Celebration Party'

What will be on the playlist? Probably old favourites referring to white cliffs, never being slaves, meeting again one sunny day, and Europeans only having one testicle.

Surely, as the night drags on, participants will realize the future is uncertain. Long corridors of doors have been closed. Liam Fox and his chums offer no immediate alternatives.

Baby, it’s cold outside.
Nick Aitken

MARK Wilson, CEO of the ILI Group, and oddly enough, a former UK Energy Minister, (and, rather worryingly, an adviser to the UK Government’s Board of Trade), espouses the benefits of hydro storage schemes (PSH) in your recent article (Hydro storage plan inquiry, The National, January 17).

Wilson is critical of wind and solar schemes as they are “intermittent!”.

This CEO of an energy group and one-time minister of state for energy and advisor ought to know that pumped storage schemes are also “intermittent!” and therefore cannot be the answer to the question any more than other “intermittent” sources.

But, and rather more importantly, he should also know that quite unlike the wind turbines and tidal schemes, the PSH he promotes, uses huge amounts of power, pumping the water up to the dam and maintaining levels. Granted, that pumping is done when the grid is lightly loaded, but it remains an intermittent and short-term solution.

One advantage PSH has over wind and tidal is that it can be switched on very quickly. This helps to balance the national load and, as he said, is used widely. It certainly has its place.

Now, undoubtedly the scheme will make him richer, and that must be part of his motivation, but what we really need to see in The National, is why the Highland’s planning committee have knocked it back, twice.
Christopher Bruce