WHEN you consider that the report into Russian interference in UK politics highlights how assiduously the government avoided any investigation into manipulation of the Brexit referendum, it’s easy to understand why they might want to deflect attention onto the independence referendum. And although the questions around the Brexit referendum are undoubtedly the bigger issue it’s unsurprising that some sections of the Scottish media have majored on the independence referendum.

However, what is more surprising is the way they have placed so much emphasis on a story which revolves around three lines in the report quoting “credible open source commentary”. This appears to be the source of the various quotes which appear at length in various Scottish newspapers. For perspective, open source material is not analysis of information gained by human intelligence surveillance and communication interception by the security services. It is material which is freely available and in the public domain. It could be the views of interested academics or speculation by journalists. In other words commentary and opinion, but not fact.

In the present political climate in Scotland, it’s also not surprising that Labour should seek to capitalise on this report, particularly as the head office has now got shot of its Trot. They, along with the Conservatives, will seek to make much of the Alex Salmond and Russia Today connection, while ignoring the many appearances on it by Jeremy Corbyn before he was leader. However, the Conservatives will seek to draw a veil over the fact that London is the laundromat for Russian money and their party have accepted £3.5 million in donations from Russian oligarchs since 2010. That includes a £20,000 donation to the Scottish Conservatives from Lubov Chernukhin, wife of Vladimir Putin’s one-time deputy finance minister, for the privilege of a lunch with Ruth Davidson.

When it comes to an inquiry, we already suspect that David Cameron appealed to Vladimir Putin (among others) for help during the independence referendum. For that reason alone it’s unlikely one will be granted by Westminster. And there may also be a concern that an inquiry might uncover evidence of malign influences being brought to bear on the referendum from sources closer to home than Russia.

Gill Turner


KEVIN McKenna’s excellent piece on the duplicity of the British establishment, both prior and during World War II, is very timely because whilst many are aware of the history he outlines significantly more are ignorant of the facts (Forget Russia ... the real Enemy Within wears ermine robes not boilers suits, July 22). One of these is that the Scottish aristocracy, even more so than their English counterparts, were profoundly and actively pro-Nazi.

For example, the story of the notorious anti-semite William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw, is the staple of the average pub quiz, yet how many Scots are aware of the treachery of the 19th Lord Semple? He was a Tory peer educated at Eton who was known to have sold classified information to the Japanese as early as 1926, and yet due to his patrician contacts was strangely left alone. A very dangerous move indeed because Semple was left at his leisure to frolic with Japanese militarism. Some academics, like Richard Aldrich, professor of International Security at the University of Warwick, believe that the information and expertise Semple gave to the Japanese enabled it to launch the attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbour in December 1941.

Lord Haw Haw hung by the rope but his equally traitorous compatriot, Lord Semple, died quietly in his bed some twenty years later, and was not only allowed to keep his life and his peerage, but was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun after the war for services to the Japanese government.

Cllr Andy Doig (Independent)

Renfrewshire Council

FURTHER to various articles in last week’s Sunday National, I watch, aghast, at the apparent power of unelected political advisors at Westminster, who seem to have unbridled powers with no responsibility laid out in the public domain. We also hear of a renewed campaign by the incompetent one (Boris) to persuade the Scottish electorate to support him, as advised by the scruffy one (Dominic) and the sleekit one (Gove). Then, as revealed by the Ferret, there is the question of lobbying groups and individuals. I am sure that anti-democratic lobbying is even more prevalent at Westminster than at Holyrood. The wishes of the people are taken no account of whatever by lobbyists and advisers and it seems essential to me to draft a constitution (as a matter of urgency), to be submitted to the Scottish people for approval/amendment. This should be ready for adoption by the independent Scottish Republic, when it is established. No political advisers should be appointed without approval by a committee of MSPs and the rules on lobbying should be tightened.

Andrew McCrae


GERRY Hassan asks “Would a new indy party help or hinder the task of changing minds?” (Sunday National, July 19).

The problem is that this method of obtaining a super majority for independence by getting the SNP to contest only constituencies and stand aside in the regions so that their share of that vote isn’t “wasted” seems like a good idea for those who want a shortcut to independence, but it is an even better idea for those Unionists who want to scatter the regional vote over a multitude of pro-independence parties and candidates who will never agree on who will be and who will not be included in the single list needed to make this work.

The one certainty is that should the SNP agree to the plan, it would have no regional MSPs.

The only logical route is to get on the doorsteps, persuade the voters that independence is their best option and hope to win a large enough share of the vote to gain international acceptance for independence as the will of the people of Scotland.

John Jamieson

South Queensferry

AS motorcycles compete to show how they can accelerate from nought to 60 from the centre of our village to its limits with the loudest posterior blasts possible, and tractors try to indicate their social conscience by not delaying their fellow road users for a split second while towing several tons of root vegetables past my house at 40mph, I pray for the success of the Green party in their support of the 20mph limit.

I agree with almost all Green policies, particularly that of “subsidiarity”. This means independence for Scotland and then sending down as much power as possible to local authorities and community councils so that the common sense ideas such as safe footpaths and traffic control can get the attention they deserve. Try observing social distancing with two prams and a dog on a two-foot-wide pavement while lorries and their tail of cars goes past? There are more risks to life than Covid-19.

This support for the Scottish Greens in the second vote, which was put forward in the Sunday National by several letters, is very important. The Green Party is an international movement with clear principles and hence policies. This gives it a great advantage over the numerous proposed “second vote” parties which are being put forward. They have no policies which are yet known which would differ from the SNP which, despite Nicola Sturgeon’s professional handling of the Covid infection, is not a rich source of post-independence policies. This, as others have have said in your pages, increases the value of the Green presence in the Scottish Parliament.

Iain WD Forde


AS the implications of gaming a shadow SNP list vote have become all too evident, and it slowly withers on the political vine, there still remains the issue of the UK’s refusal to allow Scottish citizens to express their sovereign view on how Scotland should be governed, and what aspirations are appropriate for Scotland.

When there’s the killing of a nation’s citizens by accident/incompetence or by intent, whether by the DWP or other UK overseers, A simple refurbishment of UK-style governance within Scotland is unlikely to be adequate. Scotland requires root-and-branch changes and a massive divergence from the UK’s choice of mis-governance by diktat.

The stating of national aspirations required by the citizens of Scotland might usefully be first screened by referenda, and undertaken together with elections for Holyrood, or similar, thereby ensuring a definable total voter number.

Typically, these would be future big issue aspirations, such as whether Scotland should aspire to become a republic, a full member of the EU, and/or to have nuclear weapons of mass destruction removed from its waters.

The timing for undertaking such aspirations would really be dependent upon the size of the majority, so 65% or more would suggest an immediacy of a Scottish parliamentary declaration, 55% or less would suggest further negotiation/redefinition, re-referral, and accompanying political melee.

Referenda put before the sovereign citizens of Scotland must guide the Scottish Parliament and might well include a referendum on the aspiration of self-governance, contrary to UK diktat. The Scottish Parliament clearly must follow the sovereign will of its citizens, as it sees fit, as is its duty.

In the short term however, in January 2021 rUK is likely to reduce regulation to enable exports to be diverted to Scotland, and elsewhere, that previously would have gone to the EU. The aspiration for Scotland to maintain EU standards would appear therefore to be a key issue for Holyrood to immediately deal with, by referenda or otherwise.

Stephen Tingle

Greater Glasgow

THE serial Tory liar, so styled by many of his own party, has unearthed £240,000,000 to assist us in our Covid recovery, or crudely £43 per Scottish head. The last significant figure was either £0.14 or £0.34 per head in 1707 to buy Scotland, the only person to know the real figure being the then Marquis of Queensberry. Even inflation over 313 years cannot disguise another bargain basement disreputable gesture.

The truth is, we, when independent of the malign (for that is an accurate description) influence of Westminster and the Tory party, will not need any such heavily disguised largesse, the true cost of which will be effectively hidden from view.

Johnson, Cummings and the rest of them cannot be trusted and the “whole of the UK” now knows it.

John Hamilton


NOW we know the real reason why Boris headed north. Not to save the Union with his pieces of silver, but to avoid a confrontation with Barnier in London regarding the floundering Brexit negotiations. What a wimp he is. In total contrast to Nicola, who never avoids awkward meetings or questioning.

Being continually tied to England and a poorly run government has been Scotland’s sad fate for far too long. It has to change! What a mess we are in with no chance of agreement regarding Brexit. Northern Ireland can stay in Europe but we can’t! The sooner we are in charge of our own affairs the better.

Robin MacLean

Fort Augustus

A ROUND trip of more than 1400 miles to a hostile nation, a visit kept quiet from officials and a visit that did not include notifying the First Minister’s office. How to make friends and influence people! But looking at the bigger picture, with only six MPs in Scotland, the PM does not have much to lose!

Catriona C Clark