THE singing of Auld Lang Syne in the EU Parliament highlights the absurdity of a Tory Brexiteer party abducting Scotland from the family of European nations. This universal farewell anthem is forever associated with Scotland and its national bard Robert Burns, and for it to be sung on an occasion when arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage waved a mini Union Jack in the EU Brussels chamber with a foolish display of dentures, in what I think was supposed to be a smirk of triumph, sums up the whole debacle.

Brexit is a product of English imperialism – out of place in the present time, and on behalf of a few power-seekers whose political relevance is zero. Not only are they careless as to who they taking to the cliff tops of economic ruin, including the followers they have assembled by filling their minds with vacuous phrases about taking back sovereignty and oven-ready plans, but they are sabotaging practical arrangements in health, justice, scientific research, cross-border infrastructural partnerships, not to mention peaceful interactions between peoples of many various countries within what is recognised as the same continent.

Nobody is denying sovereignty to anybody else except the Brexiteers themselves, who are busy telling everybody about how they have won back their sovereignty. And, irony of ironies, while doing so, they are busy rebuffing as best they can the sovereignty of their immediate neighbour nation, Scotland, whose sovereignty happens to pre-date theirs by a century or two – or more – and whose membership of the EU happens also to be approved and supported by the majority of its voting population.

Auld Lang Syne is naturally a popular song in Scotland and will no doubt also be sung when Scotland has its sovereignty back where it belongs.

Ian Johnstone

NICOLA Sturgeon is quite right to play the long game; I, too, would like another independence referendum tomorrow and for the Yes side to win, but we have to be careful because if we lose the next referendum, not only will it be an extremely long time before we have another chance, but I think Westminster will stitch Scotland up in a political straight jacket so tight that even Houdini wouldn’t have been able to escape from it. Is that what any of us wants for our country?

We have to appreciate that independence isn’t just what we as individuals would want for ourselves, but it is, more importantly, what we should be striving to bring about for the benefit of future generations. Rushing to get another referendum as soon as possible risks losing everything, and it would be crass and stupid to risk failure because we were impatient.

Ideally, what we want is to bring about the renaissance of our nation as an independent country where our population takes being independent as the norm, as every other independent nation does, and not some mythical circumstance oft spoken about but only ever experienced as a fleeting, whispering sigh of what might have been. I have no family of my own, but those of you reading this who have children and grandchildren, surely don’t want them to continue to endure rejection and disinterest from Westminster for another 300-odd years. In addition, having been in the current union for that length of time, would being cautious for a few years more really be such a loss?

We have plenty still to do to ensure the next referendum is successful in securing our collective wish and desire of independence; those who oppose such an outcome would take strength from us turning against each other at the slightest opportunity, and we do not want to be providing ammunition to them. For all that it is frustrating, I agree that a Section 30 from Westminster is necessary as it is the only way that independence and recognition of same will be accepted by the international community at one and the same time. A clean break is required; no debris, no fall-out; no wrangling and bickering from/by/with other nations about what our status is and our place in the world.

Scotland will only achieve the prize of independence if sufficient numbers of her sons and daughters are convinced of the case in favour of voting Yes, so I urge you all, friends – irrespective of your current outlook – to be one of those sons or daughters and remain calm and focused on the prize; this is the time our nation desperately needs us to get along and work with each other, or independence is certainly ours to lose.

Paul Higgins
Address supplied

I FOUND the article about the BBC proposed cuts very interesting (BBC News to cut 450 jobs as part of £80 million savings target, January 29), as it made me think that the BBC is suffering from the same blind spot as Scottish Labour – a total inability to face and analyse the real problem they face. Instead, they home in almost automatically on the increased use of digital media, the current go-to excuse for any changes.

For a start, The Nine, and possibly therefore the new channel, was set up to fail, being timetabled to clash with their own main drama offerings. Set against major dramas like Bodyguard and Silent Witness, was audience choice not obvious? Moreover, on most days more than half the programmes are also on BBC 1 or 2. Hardly a “new “ channel designed to attract an audience. Unfortunately, the excellent Debate Night, which far outshone Question Time, seems to have been cast aside.

As for planning to reduce news programmes drastically, that is another blind spot. When so much of the overall output involves endless games shows, with their dose of unrealistic expectations and ritual humiliation, and almost identical soaps with more dysfunctional families in one neighbourhood than could be found in most large cities, the news output is probably the most interesting part to many viewers. It is also the most valuable part for the disabled, elderly and housebound – still frequently without digital means – for whom it is a lifeline, keeping them in touch with the world which they can no longer access directly.

Rather than scrapping these programmes, surely a huge amount could be saved by not having multiple reporters at so many sites where the locus adds nothing to the actual news. What is added to a story about a hospital by seeing a reporter standing in front of a board with the name on it, especially when the newsreader has already given out the main details? And kill two birds with one stone by reducing the totally unjustifiably exorbitant sums paid to some so-called celebrity presenters and introducing equality at the same time. If they hive off in a huff, there will be plenty of young aspirants willing to take their jobs at the lower rate.

Come on, BBC, take a longer, harder look at yourself and get real.

P Davidson

THE impeachment proceedings in the US now seem to be following party political lines, irrespective of the seriousness or the gravitas of the situation. There’s no doubt the leader of the free world will have a big grin on his perma-tan face and his quiff will be blowing in the wind.

The US is now very publicly and without care or embarrassment falling from the moral high ground that it loves to preach to others around the world.

Perhaps the simplest defence of Trump would be to say no quid pro quo ever existed because basically Trump is far too stupid to know the meaning of this particular Latin phrase. Does anyone really believe he knew what it was before the charges were laid against him?

Trump should be in jail. His past and current misdemeanours and cover-ups can only suggest that there’s an awful lot of people who have an awful lot of dirt on him. One day it’ll all come out. However I feel sorry for those who have brought him to task on the current example. No doubt Trump will now unleash the dogs to hound them down.

Unfortunately the next Latin phrase to be associated with Trump and his administration could be a very familiar one to most proud Scots - nemo me impune lacessit – and I for one, reckon that the big playground bully will follow Scotland’s national motto.

Dougie Gray

ANALYSIS of recent polls reveals that young Scots wish to claim their right to decide the future of Scotland, their country and their future. It is the older generations who are holding them back, so wrongly in my opinion. This 75-year-old fart is not one of them however, having sailed the seven seas as an engineer and spent three years in Denmark – that showed me how we could be. The Danes were all centrally heated and double glazed when Scotland had none, this was 1970.

When I came home I joined the SNP, then became constituency chair. I visited Denmark again in the 80s and lived on a farm powered by a wind turbine. The oil price had made those Danes creative again!

We in Scotland mostly need warm housing in sufficient numbers to eliminate a housing list. In all my days there has been a vast housing shortage in Scotland, the result of successive Tory rule. We as a country need to build thousands of new houses and accommodation where young people can live as starter homes.

Most of all we need to generate power as the global warming crisis takes hold. The way to achieve this will be to make use of our geography as many countries will be forced to use pumped storage for times of less wind. Pumped storage, I believe, holds the key to generating unlimited power for new homes, transport needs and thousands of jobs to boost our economy at the same time. To achieve all of the above we need to be free of Westminster, which is holding Scotland back.

JB Clark

THERE is any easy affinity in Ireland with the Scottish people. This is rooted in the fact that we share a common foundation language and culture. It is a pity that this fact is avoided by the reluctance to own your language “Scottish”. To call the Scottish language “Gaidhlig” when speaking English is as ridiculous as calling French “Francais” or German “Deutsch”.

To call the Scottish language “Gaelic” is as ridiculous as calling Danish or Swedish “Nordic”. Gaelic is three languages: Scottish, Irish and Manx. Without the Scottish language, Scotland would never have become a nation. That is the reason that its position in the life of the nation has been marginalised and stigmatised over the centuries by those who would prefer Union with (read “rule by”) England. It strikes me as strange that those who decry our languages embrace Gaelic music and dress.

We all have a role to play in both our sister countries to normalise the learning and use of our sister languages. The National has been a force for good by regular publication of articles in the Scottish language. Irish is emerging from a derogation to become a full official and working language of the European Union as Maltese did before it. To seek anything less for the Scottish language after you re-join the EU would be a scandal and a lost opportunity. Is mise,

Daithi Mac Carthaigh