YOUR article “Indyref2 ‘will be decided’ by Scottish Labour” (January 18) poses as many questions as provides answers.

Richard Leonard’s optimism that the Scottish Labour Party has this privilege has no real foundation. Already he has been rebuffed by Scottish Labour MSPs when he attempted to get a discussion up and running on whether they should at least address the subject of a second referendum as a result of their catastrophic defeat in the General Election in Scotland. His humiliation was the only outcome.

His speech in Wishaw suggests he is a leader on borrowed time. It is quite clear that at a national level the Scottish Labour dimension plays little part in the “big decisions”. The contenders for the leadership have, in the main, made it quite plain that any talk of Scottish independence is off the table when it comes to their vision of a Labour-run UK. Instead of giving more autonomy to the Labour Party in Scotland I believe they will in fact tighten up control not only in decision-making but on policy. The vision will be a “one nation” left-of-centre socialist party throughout the UK. Their initial target will be to claw back their lost north of England constituencies.

Leonard suggested that the new leader’s priority will be to get their message right for Scotland, as the party will not achieve power without Scottish Labour MPs. Not sure this is the case any more. Both the Labour and Tory parties see their dependence on Scottish seats less and less than in the past.

His suggestion in the speech that Scottish Labour will be autonomous and will have the last word on the independence question has little foundation. His inability to actually commit to a leadership candidate says it all. I am afraid Mr Leonard’s continued tenure will very much depend on who is elected his party’s leader. I do not believe that the SNP has much to fear as the Labour party stands at the moment. The flocking of voters back to Labour is presently a forlorn hope. The attitude of Ian Murray, their sole surviving MP in Scotland, towards the SNP and independence leaves me incredulous. His arrogance and ambivalence as the “last MP standing” towards Labour’s predicament does not help the Scottish leader’s cause.

Richard Leonard must feel incredibly isolated and vulnerable at this time in what is a Labour party looking for its identity and survival as a major party. The Scottish dimension is of little consequence to them at this time.

Dan Wood

I WRITE further to Ian Thomson’s letter in Saturday’s National (January 19).There does appear to be a common misconception south of the Border that the independence movement is driven solely by the SNP and SNP membership.

All Under One Banner is a broad movement including people from all parties and persuasions. I should like to remind George Foulkes that there is a real socialist party in Scotland,wholly independent of Richard Leonard’s branch office, namely the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). We totally support an independent Scottish republic and march with AUOB.

Terry Keegans Beith,
North Ayrshire

RECENTLY it was suggested at a campaign event by then-Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis (a man whose party I very rarely agree with) that a referendum should be held on whether the British royal family’s rule over the public should continue or be scrapped altogether, stating that Britons should be “citizens, not subjects”.

In my opinion, it is about time that this happened. The system of how laws are created and passed by elected officials and then by the unelected gravy train that is the House of Lords, before being finally signed by the royal family (Royal Assent), needs to change to properly reflect the real definition of democracy.

In other countries that are republics, laws are created by the elected representatives in the lower house (congress or parliament), then passed or rejected by the upper house (often called the senate) and then sent over to be passed or vetoed by the elected prime minister or president.

Given the fact that the public pay the royal family £76.1 million (as of December 2017 according to the Sovereign Grant Annual Report) through our taxes, I say it is about time a new referendum on how democracy is properly handled in our political system is declared. It has been long overdue.

Given that our politicians have to pledge their allegiance to protect the royal family according to law as part of S84 of the Scotland Act 1998 and S3 & S4 of the Promissory Oaths Act 1868, surely is it time that our elected officials pledge their true allegiance towards We The People instead of unaccountable elites?

As much as I also do not want our nation (Scotland especially) to have Brussels be given the final say over our laws passed (including our budget), it is clear that we need to move with the times.

Jonathan Rainey Dumbarton,
West Dunbartonshire