THURSDAY’S feature, “SI is the Tartan Pravda: The title that’s been promoting indy for more than 90 years”, by Grant Thoms, editor of the Scots Independent, must have brought back memories to many activists and paper sellers over the years.

My own memories are of selling the Scots Independent round the Woodside Ward of Maryhill pubs, in the mid-late sixties.

The late Michael Grieve, author, TV broadcaster and Daily Record columnist and son of Hugh MacDiarmid, happened to be the editor of the SI at the time. We would start selling around the busy pubs at 12pm and take the sales proceeds into the family department of An Caladh Sona, Irish Gaelic for The Happy Haven, on the corner of Woodside Road and Napiershall Street, Glasgow.

We would have a wee lockdown in the family (off-sales) department, whilst the collecting cans were emptied, counted and small change rounded up in notes, topped up by a donation from the Irish owner, Pat Clancy. His son, Michael, was the Woodside Branch Treasurer. We would then take the proceeds to the Pewter Pot inn at the western end of Woodside Road and hand the proceeds to Michael Grieve and have a quick dram. Pat’s daughter, Rosie Clancy, would bring a couple of her friends to carry the collecting cans, whilst we kept a watchful eye and held the paper bundles to distribute.

None of us were aware, at the time, that it was sexist for the girls to wear fashionable hot pants and tight-fitting T-shirts saying “Vote Donald Anderson”, as the local Municipal candidate, with a chain around the waist and kinky boots. The paper was sixpence in old money and it must be said that some durty auld men would donate two bob, or hauf a croown, saying “Keep the change, hen”. Neither did we know that “hen” was sexist till the wimmen’s bra-burning campaign caught our attention and our political education.

We held a dance in the local “corporation” hall and asked Bill Tennant to judge our “Miss Woodside” beauty competition, which we still had to learn was definitely sexist. Bill lost his glasses and was a wee bit worse for wear and asked whom he should pick. I told him it was up to him and foolishly jokingly mentioned Rosie Clancy’s faither owned a pub. He adorned her with the Miss Woodside sash and declared her the winner.

Veteran SNP member Hamish MacQueen now delivers the SI to Maryhill branch subscribers by post. At 83 I have completed my political education, but learned to steer clear of gender politics.

Donald Anderson


THURSDAY’S feature on the Scots Independent reminded me of a time when I helped to sell it and write for it.

In the late sixties the SI was a weekly newspaper selling well on the streets and in the pubs. The editor then was Michael Grieve, who was doing a great job – up-to-date stories and excellent page make-up. I was then chief sub-editor of the Scottish Daily Mail, then published in Edinburgh (I had nothing to do with the opinion columns). I had joined the SNP in 1967 and was able to supply Michael with a few stories.

In November 1968, after 22 years of publication in Edinburgh, the Daily Mail bosses in London decided to close the Scottish edition down. I was able to supply Michael with the background to this decision, which cost hundreds of printers, and kindred workers and journalists their jobs. Michael Grieve was a great editor and leader in the SNP, and he died too young.

George MacDougall


YET another diatribe on the benefits of free-market capitalism from Michael Fry (Economic growth remains the best way to navigate the new normal, June 23). Does ANYONE really believe that if the minimum wage, for example, was scrapped, there WOULDN’T be people offering jobs at 69p an hour? I’m old enough to remember when people were paid time +1/4, time +1/2, and double time for overtime. Now we have no such thing as “overtime rates” for many people, they are being paid bare time no matter how many hours worked. Free markets produced indentured servants, slaves, workers being paid in tokens which could only be spent in the employers shops. The employer also owned the houses they lived in, so in effect, had “free” labour. Free market results in the boss being able to say “you’re fired” on a whim. He accuses people like Nicola of being naive. I think it’s Michael who’s naive if he thinks his “free market” will benefit anyone other than the greedy and unscrupulous.

Barry Stewart


AMONG all the opinions expressed over a second referendum, the elephant in the room is ignored.

I refer of course to Trident; this is the only thing England is concerned about. Without Faslane the current UK would lose its seat on the United Nations Security Council. Do not suppose they even gave that a thought for Brexit.

This year also saw the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, which was an appeal to Pope John XXll to lift the ban on King Robert the Bruce. Maybe an updated Declaration to the United Nations?

Trident is both illegal and immoral, apart from being ruinously expensive.

Jim Lynch