ANENT Kevin McKenna’s article (A step change is needed from the politicians in way they see marchers, May 15). Labour’s first public order legislation in the 1930s was supposed to be aimed at the rise of fascism. Instead, it was used to restrict socialist and Irish rallies against the Labour government. The same with the Orr Commission on Scotland, where a retired polis framed the Public Order Act, designed to restrict protests against a Labour government (and they had plenty to protest about).

The whole act left the door wide open for every petty departmental bureaucrat of local government to vent their own prejudices through their individual interpretations of the Act by trying to use permissive clauses as mandatory fact, leaving inexperienced organisers to the mercy of some of these cooncils.

They put up barriers ranging from roads departments trying to charge for walking on the “Queen’s Highway”; demanding public insurance; demanding qualified medics in attendance; charging for NHS ambulances to be in attendance and more. The list is seemingly endless, with full public order meetings with rally organisers and countless heads of departments all airing their views and restrictions. In order to defeat spontaneity of protest the Act demands at least 28 days’ notice. If any organisation lodges earlier notifications they could be subject to repetitive Groundhog Days of endless meetings and fresh objections and inhibitions.

Kevin complains of the SNP remaining aloof, instead of leading these demonstrations. This goes back to the SNP formally renouncing their annual Bannockburn rally, claiming that rallies are for protest and that they were the party of government. Thousands of SNP members and supporters were extremely disappointed at end of this annual social event, where activists from all over the country and beyond had a chance to meet up socially and cement friendships with those they only saw at conferences and by-elections.

The SNP regularly had 20,000 and more at these rallies and others afore them such as trade unions, Republican Chartists and even Covenanters. I even marched afore the National Trust took over the site, addressing a pile of stones on a field. The NTS Board consists mainly of titled fowk and private landlords, forgetting that they only hold theses historical site in public trust for the people of Scotland and not for their own views or private fiefdoms.

The appointment of Brit Nat Neil Oliver to the presidency of the Trust in Scotland was another insult to all those fighting for our heritage against a massive propaganda machine. Only a few weeks ago he gave a public lecture in Stirling declaring his love of the GB imperial state. This eccentric thinks that Orkney was once the capital of a Great Britain before Team GB, or Pox Britannica, ever existed. His political appointment caused many to unsubscribe from the NTS in droves.

Kevin mentioned the polls showing our young know nothing or next to nothing of their own heritage. Our teachers cannot teach that which they themselves were not taught. The Scottish Republican Socialist Movement stepped in to preserve the continuity of the annual Bannockburn event, inviting all and sundry to attend, amid great hostility from the Trust, some polis and Labour cooncil, now a Tory Labour coalition. Only the liaison police now remain more than helpful amidst a foggy mountain of pointless bureaucracy and restrictive barriers.

The intention now is for only well-funded organisations to have the right of free assembly and access to our fading civil liberties. The organisers can barely afford a Portaloo after the NTS destroyed its public toilets. The Scottish Government gave the site a £33 millio grant in 2014 on the anniversary of the crucial battle. We are only holding the event until the SNP take back the march or become independent. We cannot even raise a penny, and ask for everyone’s support to attend or donate what you can.

Donald Anderson