IT was very encouraging to see a report about proposals to use the old sugar sheds at Watt Dock in Greenock for a museum about Scotland’s connections with slavery.

This would be an excellent venue by the Clyde, where the great sugar and tobacco loads were deposited. It would also be a way of bringing much-needed public and private investment into Inverclyde. The MSP Stuart McMillan’s proposal to seek support from those firms and families who were associated with slavery would be a practical way of making reparations.

READ MORE: It's remarkable the great philosophers did not condemn slavery

The link with Rabbie Burns and his proposed life in plantation administration is another aspect of 18th Century Scottish life that would be worthy of further exploration. Unlike some, I would not be too critical of Burns’s plans to move to Jamaica given the poverty and brutality of Scottish farming life at that time. His beautiful tribute, A Slave’s Lament, shows his empathy for those trapped in the terrible circumstances of slavery. I doubt he would have lasted long in Jamaica.

On frequent trips to Liverpool I have been a visitor to the wonderful Slavery Museum on the Quayside. On every visit there has been a very diverse collection of visitors –schoolchildren, tourists and families of all backgrounds from the north-west of England. The many exhibitions feature commentaries from young people from local schools and visitors. It is very clear from their input that they have taken the museum’s message about the need for tolerance and respect for human rights very seriously.

A Scottish museum about slavery would open up many opportunities for students and researchers to produce original material. There are many stories waiting to be told about those ex-slaves who became part of Scottish 19th-century life and active in radical politics. welcoming ex-slave abolitionist Frederick Douglass on his tours from 1846 onwards.

This would be a very worthwhile project to support the Black Lives Matter Campaign.

Maggie Chetty

IT was no surprise to hear that the UK Government has turned down participation in a cooperative EU scheme to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. For Boris’s buffoons, maintaining Brexit purity will always take priority over public health. They showed that already in April, when they “failed to respond" to an email offering them participation in an EU scheme to access PPE supplies.

READ MORE: UK opts out of EU Covid-19 vaccine programme, sources say

But this is an opportunity for the Scottish Government. Holyrood has decision-making powers over health. The First Minister should contact the EU on behalf of the NHS in Scotland to count Scotland in to the EU vaccine proposal.

That way the best interests of Scotland’s vulnerable people will be looked after and it’ll be one in the eye for Johnson and the Tories.

John Dennis

IT is difficult to understand why, in the light of the pending economic crisis due to a combination of incompetent UK Governments, coronavirus and a pending No-Deal Brexit, the Scottish Government does not see the huge potential of Annual Ground Rent (AGR) to greatly help recovery (We must unlock the economic potential of our land, July 9). That the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery did not even mention AGR as an option is a serious oversight.

READ MORE: We must unlock the economic potential of Scottish land

It seems more than fair to tax large estates established historically – often by force, and by families whose descendants have subsequently benefited for centuries – and to tax estates purchased for tax benefits, many of which are held in offshore tax havens. Initiating AGR while at the same time reducing tax on employment is a way of achieving what the Scottish Government claims to be a major goal of greater equality, by at last taking from the wealthy in a way which is difficult to evade.

Owners of large estates have been benefitting for years. With Scotland facing an economic crisis, it’s time to give back.

Jim Stamper

IN the Sunday National Jacqueline Dobson of Barrhead Travel appears to bemoan the fact that Scotland has different plans to that of the UK Government concerning travel arrangements from foreign parts (Sunny days are here again, July 12). She is quoted as saying “We understand that safety must come first, however we cannot continue to be out of step with the rest of the UK”. That being the case, may I suggest that she petitions Dominic Cummings to instruct his spokes-man to get in step with Scotland, as Spain has a Covid prevalence higher than any country in the UK.

M Ross

READ MORE: Holidays are here: Scotland sees 'steady' rise in tourism demands​

FORMER Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick makes an excellent point online when she states that the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly for a Scottish Parliament in 1997 based on the proposals in a White Paper which set out what powers were reserved, with all others being devolved. If the Tory Government now want to take back those devolved powers then the people of Scotland should be asked for consent. In doing so they could use a referendum to find out the wishes of the people of Scotland and while they’re at it, they could ask if Scotland should regain its independence!

Cllr Kenny MacLaren